The volume of sales you’ll process through your ecommerce website depends on the effectiveness of your checkout. Research shows almost 70% of shoppers who’ve added an item to their online cart abandon the checkout process without completing their order.
As part of conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy, you want to make the ecommerce checkout process as smooth and friction-free as possible, while still collecting the information you need to process an order.
From adding multiple payment methods to using trust badges on the checkout page to enabling chat support, there are a number of ways to improve the online shopping experience for your customers. Use these ecommerce checkout optimization tips to recoup lost revenue and improve your store’s conversion rate.
11 ecommerce checkout best practices
- Showcase trust signals on the checkout page
- Make the checkout process mobile friendly
- Show a checkout process bar
- Allow multiple payment methods
- Autofill shipping and billing address
- Use upsells or cross-sells
- Allow guest checkout
- Enable chat support in the ecommerce checkout process
- Offer 1-click checkout
- Hide the discount code field
- Remove additional costs
1. Showcase trust signals on the checkout page
Online shoppers purchase from brands they trust. But your mission to build trust doesn’t end once they’ve added an item to their online shopping cart. Continue proving to potential customers that your ecommerce website can be trusted with sensitive payment information via trust signals.
Trust signals do what they say on the tin: reassure customers your business can be trusted with sensitive information (most importantly, their credit card details). Examples of trust signals you can use throughout an online checkout include:
2. Make the checkout process mobile friendly
In 2021, nearly one-third of US internet users used their mobile device to make a purchase each week. A mobile-friendly checkout encourages these shoppers to complete the transaction.
Pipcorn uses Shopify Checkout to provide a mobile-friendly experience. The checkout pages automatically resize for a small screen, and shoppers see large finger-friendly checkout buttons and fonts that encourage them to complete a purchase through their smartphone.
3. Show a checkout progress bar
Best practice is to remove all unnecessary form fields at checkout. Studies have shown the fewer fields an ecommerce checkout process has, the more likely a customer is to complete the form. A fast checkout flow convinces 27% of people who would have otherwise abandoned their online cart to continue their purchase.
Alex Birkett of Omniscient Digital suggests, “If you have a free shipping threshold, create a dynamic banner that shows how close they are to unlocking free shipping. I’ve tested this and it’s usually either null or positive on conversions, but tends to increase AOV and revenue.”
That said, there’s a lot of information you need to process orders—especially if you offer customized or personalized products. In that case, show a progress indicator so people know how long they’ve got before their order is complete, like this example from Taylor Stitch.
Taylor Stitch has a progress bar on its checkout page to show an online shopper how many steps are left before completing their order.
4. Allow multiple payment methods
Customers have a selection of payment options to choose from when purchasing online. Some 70% of them will abandon the checkout process if the site doesn’t let them use their preferred method of payment.
Improve checkout conversion by allowing customers to pay using their preferred payment option. That includes:
- Shopping apps like Shop Pay
- Credit or debit cards
- Buy now, pay later options like Shop Pay Installments
- Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay
Helm Boots allows shoppers to complete their purchase using Shop Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Amazon Pay.
5. Autofill shipping and billing address
The more time someone spends in the checkout flow, the longer they have to rethink their decision.
Speed things up with Google Autocomplete. It prefills a customer’s billing and shipping address when they start typing it, which is proven to save time by 20% and reduce mobile errors.
6. Use upsells or cross-sells
Help people get more value from their order with upsells and cross-sells.
An upsell recommends a higher priced product similar to the one already in their shopping cart. Cross-selling recommends products that complement the items they’re buying. If someone has a $19.99 three-piece bowl set in their cart, for example, recommend a $24.99 one that contains five items, or a $3.99 mug that matches the bowl set.
The added bonus: both upsells and cross-sells increase average order value, so you squeeze more revenue out of each customer. Kettle and Fire recommends complementary products to soon-to-be customers through its checkout design.
7. Allow a guest checkout
A quarter of people abandon their shopping carts because a site wants them to create an account. Ditch forced account creation and keep online shoppers engaged by offering one (or both) of the following options:
- Guest checkout. Allow shoppers to complete their purchase with an email address. A few weeks after their order has been placed, send a follow-up email that encourages them to create an account.
- Social media account login. Allow customers to log in using their social media accounts, such as Facebook or Instagram, to complete their purchase. There’s no extra work involved in creating their account, but you still benefit from accessing customer data.
Ban.do uses Shopify Checkout and doesn’t force customers to create an account before checking out.
8. Enable chat support in the ecommerce checkout process
Not everyone who’s added an item to their online cart is ready to hit Purchase. Ease online shoppers through any last-minute concerns with in-checkout live chat support. On Consonant’s ecommerce store, customers can access a live chat icon on every page leading up to checkout.
With Shopify Inbox, you can communicate with customers and answer questions they have during the checkout process. Give real-time automated answers to things like returns policies, shipping delays, and product-related questions to reassure customers they’re making the right choice. Shopify Inbox’s live chat feature gives customers real-time answers to FAQs.
Turn chats into sales with Shopify Inbox
Shopify Inbox is a free app that lets you chat with shoppers in real-time, see what’s in their cart, share discount codes, create automated messages, and understand how chats influence sales right from your Shopify admin.
9. Offer 1-click checkout
1-click checkout (or one tap checkout) is the fastest way to speed up your customer’s ecommerce checkout process. Features like Shop Pay allow customers to complete their order in one click, using a secure digital wallet that stores their billing information and payment details.
Sustainable brand Thesus, for example, uses 1-click checkout. Shoppers can press Buy with Shop Pay to purchase the item in record time. There’s just one button to click on the checkout page before their order is confirmed—an ecommerce checkout hack shown to increase conversions by 35.62%.
10. Hide the discount code field
Nine in 10 shoppers use discount codes when buying online. But if they’re initiating a purchase and showing a discount field, they might exit the checkout flow to find one.
Consider hiding the discount code field behind a dropdown (like Shopify does on mobile). That way, it’s still there for customers who have a promo code to redeem, but not off-putting to potential customers purchasing without a coupon.
11. Remove additional costs
Did you know 55% of shoppers abandon their online cart because extra costs are too high? Shoppers want to know the price they see on product pages is the exact amount that will come out of their bank account. Momofuku reminds customers before they hit checkout that increasing order value will qualify them for free shipping.
Sometimes, there’s no way around additional costs like shipping, customs, or tax. But by presenting this information on the product page or offering free shipping to orders over a certain threshold, the additional costs don’t come as a surprise—one that deters them from making a purchase.
Why ecommerce checkout is important
Your checkout page and your checkout process are important because they are the last parts of your website that customers will engage with before they make a purchase. While optimizing every aspect of your online store is important—from the first impression on your homepage to the helpful information on your product pages—the checkout is often where customers abandon a purchase.
Focusing on customer experience throughout the checkout process means:
- Offering customers multiple payment options including their preferred payment method
- Paying attention to checkout design. Is it clean and easy to navigate, on brand, and without clutter?
- Upselling compatible items that customers may have forgotten
- Reminding customers of shipping savings based on cart value
- Providing a smooth experience without added friction (such as unnecessary form fields)
- Offering a smooth mobile checkout experience
- Clear order confirmation details, with the option to track or change an order
- Including shipping details for every option you offer
The importance of checkout is the reason Shopify has invested so much in this area. Shop Pay offers 50% better conversion over guest checkout and converts better than other accelerated checkout by up to 10%.
Improve conversions with an optimized checkout flow
The checkout process is the stage that’s the hardest to optimize for maximum revenue. But if you focus on eliminating the worst conversion killers, you’ll see a bigger revenue lift than from small tweaks like button colors or product headlines.
Your ecommerce checkout page is often your last chance to make a great impression on a new customer. Put as much care into the design and journey as you would any other part of your website. This consistent experience in your online store will keep customers coming back.
Ecommerce checkout FAQ
What is an ecommerce checkout?
Ecommerce checkout is the stage of an online store’s website where customers will complete a purchase during the shopping journey. Checking out on a checkout page involves the customer entering shipping or delivery information like their address and phone number, choosing a shipping rate and method, and entering payment information. During the checkout experience, customers may also edit their cart, add a promo code, or even add additional products recommended to them via an upsell.
What makes a good checkout experience?
A good ecommerce checkout experience is fast and easy. This might mean using guest or social media login, limited form fields to only type the information required to process an order, or 1-click checkout. A good checkout experience is also trustworthy. This may be achieved with security badges or using familiar payment options that users already trust.
How do you upsell at checkout?
Why do customers abandon their carts?
Studies show that almost 70% of people abandon their carts when online shopping. But why do they do it? The top reasons for cart abandonment include:
- High or unexpected extra fees (like shipping or duties)
- The payment option they prefer is not available
- A checkout experience that’s too cumbersome, slow, or confusing
- No purchase intent (window shopping or comparison shopping)
How do you reduce ecommerce checkout abandonment?
Customers abandon a cart for a number of reasons. On the ecommerce checkout page, you can help reduce this through a number of means:
- Enable mobile checkout
- Keep checkout forms short
- Use single-page checkout
- Remove extra shipping costs
- Allow alternative payment options
- Hide the promo codes field
- Allow guest checkout