How to Optimize Your Checkout Page to Reduce Cart Abandonment

6 Min. Read

By the time a visitor is on your checkout page, then they are for the most part, already in the right emotional mindset to buy, – to some degree or another, – they want your product. In those following moments the sale is yours to lose.  

Now consider, just for one moment, that 70% of customers abandon their cart. Ergo most Shopify stores are avoidably losing most potential sales and customers.

Are you doing enough to keep yours?

While there are many underlying reason for why customers abandon their cart, they all have one thing in common.  For customers, making that final decision to click the purchase button is largely based on emotion, because the purchase feels right.  

Therefore in order to increase sales on your Shopify store you need to elicit these “right” emotions via the customer experience, especially while they are on your checkout page. 

Don’t give potential customers a reason to not trust their powerful feelings, or in other words, don’t provide them reasons to doubt their feelings about you and your Shopify store.  You need to reassure your prospective customers throughout the customer journey, but especially on your checkout page, but without distracting them from their emotional goal – getting what they want

So how do you do that?  

One big thing you can do is optimize your checkout page.

What is a Checkout page?

In basic terms, the checkout page is the page you get to after the shopping cart.  This is the place where you add your details for shipping and payment prior to paying.  Understandably, here you might wonder how this can be optimized to be better, because often access to it is limited by many eCommerce platforms. 

The configurability value of this page is often understated.  It certainly provides a wealth of opportunities to engender trust with the customer. Below are some suggestions.

  1. Minimize customer risk (trust seals, links to clear terms and conditions, returns + shipping info etc)
  2. Give buyers every reason to trust you, eg. payment trust seals.
  3. Remove psychological roadblocks to purchase.
  4. KYC! Understand your customer and tackle doubt + uncertainty.
  5. Create a sense of urgency, why now – scarcity, count down timer?  
  6. Provide social proof that others are choosing to buy from you.
  7. Testimonials go further than just social proof to advocacy.
  8. Live chat button on your checkout page (careful!! – never interrupt the buyer)
  9. Discounts offers – first time customer, repeat customer, order value amounts etc, supply discount codes for entry on the checkout page.

Measuring Checkout Page Improvement

Your cart abandonment rate is the main metric to monitor, measuring before and after each improvement so you can gauge the value of each improvement.  To avoid dirtying the water do not implement more than one change at a time, phasing in updates over time.

You can measure conversion for each change individually, for example when incentivizing purchase through offers, measure the engagement/conversion of each offer.  Any page that leads to the Checkout page as part of a conversion funnel should be considered.

Consider that different campaigns will work on different audiences so you need to take a multi-offer approach to targeting.

Understanding your customers is at the heart of your efforts, – utilize your analytics data for your customer analysis.  Conversific can help greatly here as you will see below.

Multi Step vs Single Page Checkout

Depending on your product or service, you might opt for either a multi step or single click checkout. Both have pros and cons.  However before looking at both options, it must be said that not even Shopify Plus has true single page checkout. This is because both the calculation of shipping and tax and payment options rely on multiple steps. 

There are apps that emulate the effect of a single page checkout, – if these options are used the user would not know the difference.

Why Use Single Page Checkout?

When considering points 3 and 4 above, the idea of a single page checkout seems to have merit, who can argue the point that by reducing the number of steps and making it clear in advance what is required of the customer (all the fields visible) to complete the purchase, that it’s possible to speed up the entire process?  It makes a lot of sense when you consider that transparency on payment builds trust.

Logic dictates that additional steps provide opportunity for doubt and uncertainty to creep in, this is especially true for the first time buyer.  That being said, there is little clear data, – publicly available without bias, – confirming that this is the case.

It is perhaps for this reason, and for the sake of security, that Shopify does not typically publish single page checkout apps in the Shopify app store.  One such example is very affordable and made by well known budget eCommerce app developer Magebird.

In the Shopify app store there is a single example of an app that supplies a single page checkout experience, this is the  “Once-Click Checkout”.  It provides Paypal type buy buttons, skipping the cart, thus taking the customer directly to the checkout, which can be a single page checkout, however they don’t really sell the product on this fact very well.  Perhaps if they did so, Shopify would remove it?  

Listed in the product description at the time of writing is this:-

One-page checkout booster. Try the best practice used by the eCommerce gurus like Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress. Offer your visitors an option to check out immediately as they have clicked the “Add to Cart” button.”

Surely, these bohemiths have the data, and have opted for the single page checkout option, so why hasn’t Shopify?

Why use a Multi Step Checkout

Shopify has a multi-step checkout by default and for good reason, it is just simpler to manage in terms of the calculation of tax and shipping.  The user has to complete each stage no matter what, whether on an emulated single page checkout or a multi step checkout page.  So why overload the customer with a busy form with lots of boxes, potentially overwhelming the customer and scaring them away?

So the argument is that multi step keeps it simple, just asking a little bit of data at each stage, accumulating the necessary data over the steps. Here the question arises, when you start a journey, as you progress through it are you more likely to quit it or stay the course?

Are you more likely to give more data at the second stage because you have already given some at the first step?

If you consider the first step as a micro conversion then the evidence suggests that they are more likely to continue, at each and every step, providing a snowball effect.

Conclusion

The answer to the question – “which is the best checkout page design”, varies depending on your business and product category.  Therefore like everything in eCommerce, it needs to be tested, and here we come back to the point of our Conversific app, it’s only through clear and precise customer analysis and data interpretation that you can determine what needs to be done to improve sales.

The suggestions for checkout page improvement are rather general, things that would improve sales for most stores, however to what extent each will work varies. Just as using the results of using a single page checkout vs multi-stage.

We would love to hear about your experiences trying to customize your checkout pages, have you successfully implemented a single-page checkout with Shopify, did it result in an improved conversion rate?

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