One of the most frustrating things for an online retailer to see when they look over their checkout activity is an abandoned order – the phrase “close, but no cigar” comes to mind. This actually happens on average a whopping 68%* of the time where customers will fill their virtual basket full of your goods, and for some reason decide to bail before completing their purchase. If you think about the potential amount of money you could be making if these customers were to go ahead with their purchase, it brings into reality the pressing need to reduce the amount of basket abandonments.

Here at Pople we have been working with some of our e-commerce clients to help improve their checkouts to encourage customers to complete their purchases so that they can tap into the lucrative market of the 68% that are basket abandoners! Check out our top tips to help you improve your own checkout.

Streamline – Making your checkout simple and easy to use is key to reducing basket abandonment, so streamline out anything that isn’t necessary. We suggest enclosing the checkout and make it a single page process as a best practise for improving the purchasing experience.

  • Enclose your checkout – this involves taking away all distractions from the user to focus their attention on completing their purchase rather than looking elsewhere. The best way to enclose a checkout is to remove all options which don’t relate to the purchase – leave only a “back” button and the key features of your site eg: logo, security tags etc.
  • Make the entire checkout appear on a single page – this helps to reduce customers frustration which can arise from having to complete multiple pages of form filling before being able to actually buy the product. If you present everything to them on one page, it gives the impression that your checkout is simpler to use and the purchase process will appear to be quicker.
  • Accept the bare essentials from your customers – this is a great way to streamline and make the checkout process really easy to complete. Consider allowing customers to checkout as guest, rather than requiring them to register as a member and ask them for essential information only – this encourages purchases by offering variety to the customer, making them feel as if they have more control to make the process quicker if they want to. Remember: people shop online because it’s convenient, so keep it that way!

Inform – Keeping the customer informed about what they are purchasing, how much for and how far into the checkout process they are is key for reducing basket abandonment. Transparency is essential in stopping customers becoming frustrated, so we suggest that you uses stage indicators in your checkout and let them know the final price for their purchase early on.

  • Use a process/stage indicator – this is an excellent way of creating a transparent checkout; if you let the customer know that they have x many stages before they will have completed their purchase, then they are less likely to get frustrated than when this kind of information is hidden from them. So, make it clear to them that the end is in sight.
  • Make sure that the price and product are updated. – there’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a checkout process to then discover that VAT wasn’t included in the original price, or that delivery is £5 extra. Keep the customer up to date with the final price they will be paying at the beginning of the process so that they are always in the know and don’t receive any shocks which can frustrate them and make them abandon ship!
  • Use in-line validity to make it obvious to the customer if they have not entered their information correctly, whilst they’re doing it. This will save the customer from completing a page and submitting it to then realise they need to re-do a section or two. Try using green or red, ticks or crosses to indicate to the customer that they have filled in the required form properly and they’ll be a happy shopper.
  • Lastly, put security tags everywhere! The whole point of creating a transparent checkout is to instil trust and reduce frustration and scepticism, and there is no better way to do this than to place recognisable security tags and symbols in as many places as possible. This is a simple, yet extremely effective technique to reassure the customer that their purchase is safe – after all, the internet can be a risky place for purchasing products, so take that element out of the equation and your customers will keep coming back.

If you take into account some or all of these checkout tips, you are sure to make the purchase experience a lot more positive and easy for your customers, which will ultimately reduce the symptoms of checkout frustration and basket abandonment – it’s a win win scenario!