Optimised Checkout Pages Reduce Cart Abandonment

An empty, abandoned shopping cart in a parking garage

While ecommerce brands measure a number of key performance indicators (KPIs), perhaps none is more important than checkout completions. Every customer journey is designed to achieve maximum purchase conversion rate. Despite a brand’s best efforts, many of those journeys end in cart abandonment. But what if brands could prevent or reduce cart abandonment? 

The Hard-Hitting Impacts of Cart Abandonment 

Cart abandonment is a major problem all online businesses share. Today, the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is nearly 69.99%. That means almost seven in 10 shoppers leave an ecommerce website without completing a purchase. At 85%, mobile cart abandonment rates are even higher than desktop rates.  

Abandonment has a substantial negative impact on customer conversion and retention rates. Cart abandonment can also indicate problems with website sales funnel efficiency and checkout page optimisation. Worse, it hits companies with DTC ecommerce channels where it hurts the most: the bottom line. All this affects the entire sales process and leads to loss of revenue. 

In fact, $4.6 trillion in potential sales are lost to shopping cart abandonment each year. Ecommerce brands alone lose $18 billion in sales. With such significant numbers, brands must make it a priority to reduce cart abandonment. 

Reasons For Cart Abandonment

There are many reasons for cart abandonment including consumer behaviour that brands have no control over. For example, website visitors might add items to a cart to compare prices, explore product options or save items for later.  

But there are elements of the checkout journey that brands can control and optimise to reduce cart abandonment and improve conversion rates. Brands should evaluate friction points in the checkout flow including:  

  • Time-consuming or complicated checkout process 
  • High extra costs like shipping and taxes 
  • Security concerns 
  • Not enough payment options 
  • No guest checkout 
  • Slow website/technical functionality 

The good news is that each of these flaws can be dealt with through smart and efficient checkout page optimisation. And by implementing best practises, brands can proactively reduce cart abandonment. 

Design Matters for Checkout Page Optimisation 

When it comes to checkout page design, the goal is to reduce friction. Ecommerce friction – or purchase friction – is anything that keeps the customer from reaching the end of the sales funnel. The more friction a customer encounters, the less likely they are to complete the purchase. For this reason, the checkout process needs to be fast, safe, efficient and user-friendly.

One of the best ways to improve a checkout page is to design a straightforward purchase process and user experience flow. Many tried-and-true design elements must also be considered when designing an optimised checkout experience. Efficient checkout page optimisation can increase conversions by 35%, so the payoff can be significant.  

8 Design Hacks for Better Checkout Page Optimisation 

two people designing the wireframes for ecommerce checkout pages

Brands with DTC ecommerce channels need not fall victim to cart abandonment. Here are eight checkout page best practises that can significantly increase the chance of customers clicking on “Submit Order.” 

Use a clean design and remove distractions 

A checkout page should be simple and free of unnecessary distractions. Elements like text-heavy headers and footers, menu buttons and upsell offerings can distract customers from completing their purchases. Annoying and time-consuming form fields should be kept to a minimum. Eliminating distractions keeps customers focused on the task at hand.  

Keep customers continually aware of final pricing  

Sticker shock brought on by unexpected extra costs, like shipping charges, is a main cause of cart abandonment. To avoid pricing surprises, shoppers should know their final (or estimated) cost throughout the entire checkout process. Extra costs cause 49% of customers to abandon their carts, so brands need to be transparent about shipping, taxes and other fees.  

Price transparency is particularly important for brands selling DTC internationally. The applicable taxes, duties and fees in one country are likely different in another. Customers expect to see localised pricing. Displaying the final, localised cost for an order builds trust and loyalty and helps reduce cart abandonment. 

Allow for guest checkout  

Forcing customers to create an account is the second leading cause of abandoned carts. In fact, 24% of shoppers will abandon a cart if they must make an account to complete the process. To that end, guest checkout should be available to all customers so that anyone can easily buy.  

Brands can still capture customer data through guest checkout. Collecting emails allows a brand to communicate with customers about their orders, but, with customer permission as required by region or country regulations, brands can segment and target guest checkout shoppers with future marketing communications. 

Offer multiple payment options 

A convoluted payment process can be all it takes to turn customers off. Brands need to keep their payments simple, hassle-free and flexible. Offering as many payment options as possible, including buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) and options that support global transactions, can reduce cart abandonment. Letting shoppers save credit card information so they can complete a purchase without typing in card numbers is also recommended – as allowed by privacy requirements. 

Make security a top priority  

Reducing online shopping security risks shows customers that a brand takes security seriously. This includes prominently displaying trust badges, security seals and payment logos and complying with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Offering a money-back guarantee or free refund options will further boost consumer confidence and brand trust. 

Do not ask for unnecessary customer information  

Brands need to adopt a “less is more” approach when collecting customer information. Sticking to the bare necessities eliminates extra steps and needless questions that can confuse and annoy customers. Collect only the most essential info such as name, email, shipping address and payment details. Brands should not ask for a phone number if they do not plan on calling or texting it. 

Indicate progress  

Showing customers how many steps they have left until their purchase is complete can significantly reduce cart abandonment. This can be as simple as having a numbered progress bar that shows the steps already taken and what comes next. Letting customers know exactly where they are in the checkout journey will encourage them to stay until the end. 

Enable smart form filling

Forms are an unavoidable source of friction, so the form filling process should be as intuitive as possible. Smart checkout form filling techniques include shipping address predictor tools and autofill options. Offering form field validation and notifications that show errors as the customer progresses can also help. A radio button or check-box for the billing address will let users select the same address as the shipping address. 

How to Save an Abandoned Sale 

When customers do abandon their carts, brands still have options to entice customers to revisit their site and complete the sale.  

Send automated reminder emails  

Reminder emails offer brands a chance to keep customers in the loop and capture a lost sale. Repeat persuading might be needed, so sending three reminders is a good practise. Emails should be sent a few hours after cart abandonment, again in 24 hours and a third a few days later. 

Include a ‘save the cart’ option  

This allows customers to quickly and easily pick up where they left off should they abruptly leave an online shop. Letting them save the entire cart or individual products for later increases the odds they’ll return to complete the order. 

The Takeaway 

Cart abandonment may be an inevitability for ecommerce brands, but they do not have to be held hostage by it. Employing best practises and monitoring site usage through analytics helps brands prevent cart abandonment and realise more revenue, better customer lifetime value and stronger loyalty. 

Optimising the checkout experience is a long and ongoing process. But for brands with DTC ecommerce channels looking to boost conversion rates and revenue income, the effort will be well worth it. 

Global brands and retailers can prevent and reduce cart abandonment with solutions from ESW. Our cart-and-checkout solutions are localised, customisable and designed to enable sales all while you own your customer data. Contact an ecommerce expert today to find out how your brand can launch strong in new markets.