It’s the climactic moment when every bit of persuading, every design tweak, every meticulously crafted marketing message has done its job. The customer has arrived at your online checkout with a credit card in hand, ready to become a paying customer.
But then something goes wrong.
Maybe the site slows to a crawl. Maybe their preferred payment type isn’t accepted. Or maybe the friction of setting up an account overwhelms the urge to complete the purchase, and the customer bails at the last second.
The average cart abandonment rate sits at a staggering 69.99% across all online stores. For over two-thirds of shoppers to abandon at this final, critical step signifies massive revenue left on the table.
The post-purchase customer experience will always remain supremely important. But none of that loyalty or word-of-mouth starts if customers first don’t make it to that confirmed purchase page. So how can digital merchants transform that checkout process from a frustrating afterthought to a frictionless conversion machine? Let’s explore five quick ideas.
Choose the Right Payment Gateway
The selection of your payment gateway plays a huge role in whether customers complete transactions or bail out of the process—yet its importance often gets overlooked.
So, what is a payment gateway, anyway? Think of it as the bridge between shoppers and banks that authorizes credit card payments on your site. When a customer gets to the checkout, the gateway takes their payment details and communicates securely with banks and credit card companies to complete (or reject) transactions.
Choosing the right payment gateway for seamless integrations across devices, optimal bank connectivity in your markets, transparent fees, and intuitive checkout flows removes that extra friction that causes purchases to get abandoned prematurely. Pick poorly, and you torpedo conversion rates despite an otherwise flawless customer journey. Some key considerations include:
- Integration – How easily does the gateway incorporate with your e-commerce platform, CRM, and analytics tools?
- Global reach – Does the gateway allow you to accept payments from all target markets?
- Payment types – Does the gateway handle all the preferred payment methods of your customer base?
- Security – What is the gateway’s track record and infrastructure for fraud detection and data protection?
- Analytics – Can the gateway provide customer and transaction data to inform checkout optimization?
Offer Guest Checkout
Offering guest checkout is another simple yet highly effective checkout optimization that removes the extra friction of requiring new account creation before purchasing. We all know the head-in-the-sand temptation to bail when websites confront us with more forms to fill out and passwords to create just to hand them our money.
Allowing express checkout for one-time purchases while still permitting account creation for repeat customers cuts straight through that resistance. It also captures valuable transaction data you can use to retarget warmer leads who didn’t convert the first time.
The mantra of brilliant UX design applies perfectly to optimizing online checkouts: Make it fast, easy, and pleasant for customers to pay you, and they will. Removing guest checkout hurdles checks all three boxes.
Improve Page Speed
Let’s not pretend: clunky, crawling web performance tests the patience of even the most resolute customers. And when those lagging load times hit right as shoppers attempt to complete their purchases? Get ready for mass abandonment.
It’s common sense, really. You’ve guided them through product research all the way down the funnel to checkout. Right at the climactic moment where they whip out their credit card, the site hangs indefinitely…what customer would endure a frozen screen when Amazon is just a click away?
By ruthlessly optimizing checkout page speed, you not only rescue revenue being lost to lagging load times. Fast performance conveys professionalism and respect for customers’ time as you usher them smoothly through to order confirmation.
Treat checkout speed optimization as both a revenue strategy and an essential act of digital courtesy to retain customers in our age of dwindling attention spans. The milliseconds you shave off through image compression, caching, and code minimization directly translate into dollars and loyalty.
Prioritize Mobile Experience
Mobile devices account for roughly 58% of website traffic. Yet most sites still functionally prioritize desktops, saddling mobile users with clumsy checkouts clearly designed first for bigger screens.
Failing to optimize for smaller touch screens sets you up for vastly higher abandonment rates and flushed revenue potential. Customers tolerate little friction assessing products on the go; and tiny text, clumsy navigation, overloaded layouts, or clunky form inputs are surefire deterrents.
So show some empathy for your mobile audience and customize with their journey in mind: simplify fields, enlarge targets, employ responsive design, and optimize typing and scrolling areas. Guide one-handed users smoothly through mobile checkouts as capably as sit-down desktop patrons, and they’ll reward you by completing those all-important conversions.
Provide Multiple Payment Options
For all your checkout optimizations to date, restricting customers to just credit cards while your competition accepts alternate payment methods is leaving money on the table.
PayPal. Amazon Pay. Cryptocurrency. Buy Now Pay Later. The range of payment types continues expanding across borders and demographics. Every payment option you add has the potential to lift conversion rates by removing whatever friction made previous customers abandon their carts.
So don’t arbitrarily limit payment types without examining analytics on existing failed checkouts. Removing those purchasing roadblocks lets you turn payment objections into customer satisfaction and loyalty. Supporting the right local payment favorites in your markets conveys cultural understanding too.
We’ve covered the bases: picking intuitive payment gateways, enabling guest checkouts, accelerating site speed, optimizing for mobile, and expanding payment options. Cross those five tasks off the conversion rate optimization checklist and watch your checkout funnel transform from leaky to airtight.
While the post-purchase experience rightly gets attention, remember it’s preceded by this checkout step so critical for cementing sales. Guide customers smoothly across that conversion finish line and you’re well on your way to an army of delighted customers.