Checkout Page Optimization Tips

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How Important is the Checkout Page?

Cart abandonment. These two words keep online store owners up at night. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s when a visitor leaves a website with items still in their shopping cart.

Research shows the average cart abandonment rate is just under 70%, causing ecommerce brands to lose $18 billion in revenue each year. In other words, it’s lost sales. To reduce these abandonment issues, you must optimize your checkout page. 

With years of experience in web design, development, and UX (user experience), we’re not only experts in the ecommerce space, but we know exactly how to optimize a checkout page design in order to maximise sales.

This article will show you 13 actionable tips on best practices for your checkout page optimization, which have been divided into three categories: layout and design, product details, payment, and shipping. 

How to optimize your payment page

  1. Minimize headers and footers
  2. Reduce the number of form fields
  3. Add multiple checkout buttons to your product pages
  4. Differentiate checkout and continue shopping buttons
  5. Include product summary at the checkout
  6. Make it easy to update product quantity and remove items
  7. Recommend related products before the checkout
  8. Confirm product availability
  9. Allow multiple payment methods
  10. Display how much the user has saved
  11. Offer discount codes
  12. Provide free shipping
  13. Include approximate shipping dates

Let’s check ‘em out in more detail, shall we?

Layout and Design Tips

Nailing the layout of your payment page will pay dividends. Users really don’t like busy websites, particularly on mobile. That’s why minimalist design on mobile is one of our hottest web design tips for this year.

Your checkout must be free from clutter, helping the customer find their way easily to the crucial ‘pay now’ button. Here are our top design tips.

  1. Minimize headers and footers to remove distractions

The only thing your visitors should be looking at on your checkout page is the online checkout. Remove the navigation header and footer menus, or swap them with shipping and payment processor information, or trust signals like your TrustPilot rating.

asos checkout page
UK retailer ASOS has a minimalist checkout header with a trust signal to reassure customers
  1. Reduce the number of form fields

Research shows that the fewer fields that customers need to fill in, the higher the UX performance rate of the checkout, i.e. the more likely it is the customer can finalize the purchase quickly and easily.

The same study showed the average number of checkout steps among the top 60 US and EU online retailers is just 5.1. Two of the best ways to act on this tip is to allow visitors to tick a box if their billing and delivery addresses match, and to offer a guest checkout option.

guest checkout
Offering a guest checkout allows users to skip frustrating, form-filling tasks
  1. Add multiple checkout buttons to your product pages

This is basic CRO (conversion rate optimization). By reducing the time customers spend looking for those buttons, or ‘conversion points’, the more likely it is they’ll take action.

  1. Differentiate colors for ‘checkout’ and ‘continue shopping’ options

Firstly, you should always offer users the chance to continue shopping while they’re on your checkout page. With that in mind, you should make the two options visually separate to create a seamless shopping experience.

continue shopping button
Providing a ‘continue shopping’ option makes it easy for the user to switch back to the storefront to update their cart

Product Details Tips

Once your checkout page design is clean, clear, and concise, you need to ensure the user doesn’t make any last minute mistakes that result in a refund request, or worse, an abandoned cart.

  1. Include a product summary

Using codes to categorize items might work in your database, but not for the user. Instead, you should provide a short summary of the product/s at the online checkout, reminding the customer on the product’s size, color, or variant.

  1. Make it easy to update quantity and remove products 

You must reduce the probability of the user leaving your checkout page for any reason. Providing simple tick boxes to enable users to update the quantity or to remove an item entirely should keep the user from reverting to the storefront.

update quantities in payment page
It should be super simple for the user to review the order and update the quantity if they change their mind last minute
  1. Recommend related products before the checkout page

By ensuring the user has everything they need before reaching the checkout – e.g. a set of batteries or an adapter – you’re making the user’s life a whole lot easier by removing the need to start shopping all over again. A happy customer is happy profit margins!

  1. Confirm product availability from the beginning

Let’s say you’ve placed an item in your cart, gone to the checkout and entered your information, only to then discover the item’s out of stock. You’d abandon the cart, right?

That’s why, when you’re designing your product pages, make sure your storefront always indicates the availability of a product, giving visitors the chance to actually pick and buy an item that’s in stock in the first place.

Payment Tips

This is where the majority of carts are abandoned. If you’re wondering how to accept payments online and keep your customers happy, then you must be flexible on your payment offerings.

  1. Allow for multiple payment methods

With the diverse nature of online payments these days, you’ll need to accommodate for more than just credit cards on your checkout page.

Nowadays, consumers might want to use digital wallets such as PayPal Checkout, Apple Pay, or AliPay (if they’re based in China), so you should always give them the option.

payment options for checkout page
Accepting multiple payment methods improves your chances of making a sale
  1. Show the user how much they’ve saved

This will reassure the shopper and make them feel more comfortable about finalising that purchase. Just think, if the user is happy with their level of spending, they’re unlikely to abandon the cart.

discounts on store checkout
When the user knows they’ve got a great deal they’re unlikely to abandon the cart
  1. Offer discount codes

55% of shoppers have abandoned their cart because the cost was too high, while 32% have abandoned because they found a discount with another retailer. The message here? Don’t discount the value of rewards and coupons – they could be the difference between turning a user into a customer or cart-abandoner.

Shipping Tips

Research has shown the number one cause for cart abandonment is surprise costs in the checkout page. It should come as no surprise, then, that our main tip is: no surprises! Always be upfront about shipping costs and tax from the beginning of the buying journey.

  1. Offer free shipping

79% of US consumers said that free shipping would make them more likely to shop online. If your profit margin allows, you should offer free shipping to ensure the customer has little reason to abandon the cart at the last minute. At the very least, you should offer free shipping when the user spends a certain amount.

By offering free shipping, you’re likely to attract more customers that you would without, which would boost your bottom line in the long run anyway.

free shipping on payment page
Unexpected shipping costs are one of the most common causes for cart abandonment
  1. Include approximate delivery date

It’s that word again: transparency. You’ve asked the user for their zip code and cell phone number, so the least you can do is provide an estimate for when their order will arrive. This may seem small, but it all counts towards building invaluable brand trust.

Checkout Page Design Tips: Summary

You’re now ready to create a user-friendly checkout page. Your payment page must be quick and easy to navigate, without any cost-related surprises that are likely to scare users away. Let’s recap our top tips…

The best ways to improve your checkout page

  1. Minimize headers and footers
  2. Reduce the number of form fields
  3. Add multiple checkout buttons to your product pages
  4. Differentiate checkout and continue shopping buttons
  5. Include product summary at the checkout
  6. Make it easy to update product quantity and remove items
  7. Recommend related products before the checkout
  8. Confirm product availability
  9. Allow multiple payment methods
  10. Display how much the user has saved
  11. Offer discount codes
  12. Provide free shipping
  13. Include approximate shipping dates

For many online stores, the checkout page is a burial ground where finalized transactions perish. But if you follow our 13 store checkout tips, then your business should enjoy healthy sales margins.

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About Dan Barraclough

Dan Barraclough

I used to think website design was just for professionals. Because maybe like you, I have no coding or design experience. But, with the help of our expert researchers (and after testing every website builder myself), I can confidently guide you through on how to get the most out of each one.

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