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How to Continuously Innovate your eCommerce Checkout Process

Posted: August 25, 2021 | Updated: June 26, 2023

More and more businesses have pivoted from brick-and-mortar operations to an online presence. The prohibitive costs of physical outlets in urban centers coupled with the growing success of online platforms such as Shopify, Facebook, and Instagram, among many more, have fueled the shift. The technology and payment platforms have also facilitated businesses to transact efficiently, making eCommerce and mobile commerce the commerce of choice among consumers.

As a result of these changes, major eCommerce businesses have invested in augmented reality and other technologies to recreate virtual rooms to “try on” their products to gauge fit and appearance. However, imagine ten people walking into a retail outlet and filling up their carts with items throughout the store, and then eight just decide to leave without making a purchase. They abandon their carts right there and walk out. That is the current state of the eCommerce business.

Businesses can continue to innovate in the current environment by focusing on areas of friction, such as the eCommerce checkout. There may be many drivers for the current predicament, but the checkout process is one worth examining. Below, we look at some reasons to continuously innovate the eCommerce checkout process to help nudge consumers past the finish line.

What is the checkout page?

The checkout page on an eCommerce site is the last step of a consumer’s online journey map. Consumers land on this page after selecting one or more items they’d like to purchase after navigating the eCommerce site. At the checkout page, the visitor would submit their order, enter the billing and shipping information, along with their payment method and details.

The state of the current eCommerce checkout process

According to market research by Baymard Institute, nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. These are for consumers shopping on their desktops. The abandonment rate is over 80% on mobile devices. These rates are a testament to the fact that the eCommerce checkout process requires continuous innovation.

There are several reasons that consumers abandon a purchase at the checkout stage. Some of these include:

Unforeseen charges – additional fees are a significant reason consumers abandon a purchase as they can start to question the value of the item being purchased in light of higher cost. When the likes of Amazon offers 2-day shipping, even same-day shipping in specific markets, consumers may be dissuaded by a particular site still charging for it.

Burdensome process – maybe the eCommerce site requires you to set up a new account or log in to an existing one. Perhaps the overall checkout process has too many details required adding to the friction of completing a purchase. Maybe the site is just too slow. These points create a strain for the consumer and work against the business, leading to lost customers and sales.

Payment options – More and more consumers are shifting spending from cash to non cash methods such as debit and credit cards or even mobile wallets. Is your business equipment able to process payments for all the major non-cash payment options currently preferred by consumers?

Why do you need to innovate continuously?

Businesses need to tweak the user interface and experience for optimal results continuously. They also need to understand the exact drivers behind consumer behavior on their site to leverage that to convert a more significant number of visitors into paying customers.

A/B testing is an excellent way to learn where the friction is the greatest. Maybe customers don’t mind setting up a user account as much as they pay for shipping costs. Businesses may be offering too much incentive to nudge clients to set up an account; 10% may have sufficed instead of 15%.

All are a great way and reason to continuously test and innovate scenarios to learn from them and utilize the results to grow the business optimally.

Some areas to continuously innovate your checkout process.

Don’t require users to log in – yes, your business would have a treasure trove of data on visitors if they set up an account. However, getting them to make a purchase is the goal. Once you have contact, shipping, and payment details after completed purchase, you can continue to monitor visitors, build a profile of them, and offer incentives to create an account.

Don’t charge for shipping – This is difficult to stomach for small businesses, especially with shipping logistics stressed, and prices increase for transportation of goods. However, many prominent companies have spoiled consumer expectations in offering specific shipping for free. You may want to default to next-day shipping at a cost, which the customer can change to 2-days for the free version or vice versa. Offering alternatives still offers the free-of-cost option and the control to pay more to get the product faster.

Accept the right payment types: Payments and Fintech is a fast-growing and thriving industry. Currently, the most valuable venture-backed company is Fintech. There’s a tremendous amount of innovation in Fintech, with mobile wallets and a host of other payment options quickly experiencing mass-market adoption. If customers prefer to transact via specific payment methods, ensure that your business can accept it.

There have been many iterations in the ways consumers shop to the benefit of online eCommerce businesses. However, there are challenges for eCommerce businesses in monetizing consumer interest, and web traffic as nearly three-quarters of online shopping carts are abandoned. There is a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on this friction and continuously innovate the e-commerce checkout to improve the customer journey and convert more visitors into customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the checkout process for e-commerce?

    The checkout process for e-commerce refers to the series of steps a customer goes through to complete a purchase online. It typically involves selecting items, adding them to the cart, providing shipping and billing information, selecting a payment method, reviewing the order details, and confirming the purchase. The checkout process may also include additional steps such as creating an account, applying discount codes, or selecting shipping options. A well-designed checkout process aims to make this journey seamless, intuitive, and secure for the customer.

  2. How can I improve my e-commerce checkout?

    To improve your e-commerce checkout, you can start by simplifying the process and minimizing the number of steps required. Streamline the form fields, offer guest checkout options, and enable auto-fill for a smoother experience. Incorporate progress indicators to show customers how far they are in the process. Optimize for mobile devices to accommodate the growing number of mobile shoppers. Additionally, consider implementing trusted payment options, offering multiple payment methods, and providing clear and transparent pricing information.

  3. How do I optimize my checkout process?

    To optimize your checkout process, focus on reducing friction and eliminating barriers to completion. Use A/B testing to experiment with different layouts, button placements, and messaging to find the most effective combination. Implement a simplified and intuitive design that guides customers through each step. Utilize address validation and auto-detection of card types to minimize errors. Offer real-time shipping quotes and communicate shipping and return policies. Lastly, integrate social proof elements, such as customer reviews and trust badges, to enhance credibility.

  4. How can I improve my checkout experience?

    To enhance the checkout experience, prioritize speed and efficiency. Implement an instant or one-click checkout option for returning customers. Offer saved payment information and address options for convenience. Provide clear and concise instructions and error messages to assist users. Optimize page load times to prevent frustration. Incorporate a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and devices. Test the checkout process regularly, gather feedback from customers, and make data-driven improvements to continually enhance the overall experience.

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