Posted on Jul 11, 2018

How to Create a Seamless Checkout Experience

Three words strike fear in every ecommerce store operator: shopping cart abandonment. Ecommerce shoppers expect an easy user experience from your online store. If they don’t get it—for any reason—they’ll close your site and go elsewhere. 

Checkout is arguably the most important part of an ecommerce shopper’s experience. If it contains too many steps or asks your shoppers for too much information, your shoppers won’t complete the purchase. Therefore, it’s critical for you to make the checkout process simple, fast, and absolutely seamless. Here’s how. 

Get a Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Version of Your Desktop Website

Many ecommerce brands build what are essentially two completely different sites, a desktop version and a mobile version, instead of building a desktop version that’s responsive to mobile devices. 

The result? Your shoppers, who may have researched your store on their desktop, open the mobile version of your store and can’t recognize it. 

Your website’s appearance and interface must be consistent throughout all devices. Otherwise, you risk losing customers before they even begin the checkout process. 

Don’t Require an Account Setup: Create a Simple Guest Checkout

It’s a hard truth most ecommerce brands have to swallow: your shoppers don’t want to spend the time to create an account with your store. Registration represents a commitment that especially first-time shoppers don’t want to make. It also takes up too much time, particularly for mobile users who just want to buy something in a few minutes and then move on to the next task. 

Skip the account setup requirement and let your shoppers buy through guest checkout. You will unfortunately lose the ability to harvest user data for future marketing purposes, but you will boost your revenue and decrease abandonment. 

You can offer account sign-up incentives, such as free shipping and discounts, to help cultivate user data. This approach empowers budget-conscious customers set up an account without souring their now slightly longer checkout experience. It’s a win-win. 

Use Auto Populate Tools and Reduce the Overall Number of Form Fields

It’s laborious to type in your name, address, and payment information on a mobile device. Since the majority of ecommerce shoppers will be buying on mobile devices, make the experience simpler. Enable auto populate tools on your site, allowing customers to add auto-filled personal information to their checkout. 

Add tools that streamline other parts of the form field process. For example, zip code search bars eliminate the need to type in your customer’s town and state of residence. Reduce the overall number of form fields—only require what is exactly required (full name, shipping and billing addresses, and payment information). 

Most importantly, let repeat customers save their personal and payment information on your site, enabling quick and easy checkouts on future purchases. 

Remove Navigation Options from the Checkout Page

On the checkout page, the biggest problem you’re trying to address is decision fatigue. Your customers already waded through a wide array of products and then carefully selected what they want. Do not ask them to make more navigational decisions once their shopping cart is full. Your checkout page’s design should indicate that your customer has one thing to do—pay for what they want.

To effectively communicate this message, remove any superfluous navigation options from the checkout page. What does that mean exactly? Your checkout page should only contain a button to complete your customer’s purchase. The only other button or link on the checkout page should return the customer to your home page. 

Ads Are a Big No-No

Never, ever put any kind of advertisement on your checkout page. Ads are distracting. You’ve just gotten your customer to add items to their shopping cart and all they have to do pay. You don’t want to add anything, least of all an advertisement, that will break your customer’s attention right as they are about to make a purchase. That’s a one-way ticket to shopping cart abandonment. 

It’s also a quick way to spoil the good experience you offered your customer. Why? Many customers see ads as intrusive. The negative perspective an ad creates can threaten your customer’s new-found loyalty for your ecommerce brand and, ultimately, threaten your return business.

Maintain Compliance with PCI Security Standards

Nothing destroys an ecommerce business like fraud. Without appropriate verification standards, cyber thieves can use stolen credit cards to purchase items through your site. This not only puts an innocent person’s financial security at risk. It puts your business’ reputation at risk as well. 

The best way to protect your customers and your business is to be compliant with PCI Security Standards. For example, require your customers to type in three-digit card verification value (CVV) code that’s on the back of their credit card. Though this additional requirement will add a few seconds to your customer’s checkout experience, it also will greatly reduce the chance of fraudulent credit card purchases. 

Use an Address Verification System (AVS) in the billing form fields. AVS tools automatically check to see if the credit card numbers your customer entered match up with their billing address. Like the CVV code, it rejects purchases only when these numbers don’t match up or cannot be verified. 

Both CVV and AVS are PCI Security Standards, which governs how digital payments are processed by merchants worldwide. 


Choose an Easy-to-Use Shopping Cart Software from iPage’s Web Hosting Plans

If you have questions about a specific shopping cart for your ecommerce store, please reach out to our web design experts through our 24/7 live chat and phone support. We can explain the benefits of each kind of shopping cart software. We also provide you with professional web design guidance, helping you to create a great checkout experience for your ecommerce customers.

Don’t give your ecommerce shoppers a reason to close their shopping cart. Follow these best practices as you build your ecommerce store.