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Optimizing Your Checkout Process from Check In to Check Out

checkout

Your ecommerce site could be optimized from here to Tuesday, but if you haven't analyzed the performance of your checkout process you could be missing out on tons of potential revenue.

One important part of optimizing an ecommerce site is making sure you are losing as few people as possible during the checkout process. If you have a high abandonment rate, it's in your best interest to check out the areas of your checkout process that could do with an overhaul. Even if you think your abandonment rate is pretty good, there may be some easily implemented chances to give your conversions an added boost.

Before you think about moving forward with changes to your checkout process however, make sure you have adequate funnel tracking enabled within your analytics software. You'll want to be able to glean a clear "before and after" picture of performance.

1. Don't require an account.

Requiring users to sign up for an account just to buy a product on your site is a great way to ensure you'll lose a lot of customers before they even see a subtotal for their cart.

We live in an age where we have account logins for everything from social networks to doctor's offices. As a online retailer it's important to realize that some people simply don't want to remember another account login. Provide users a "Continue as a Guest" option to avoid losing them before the process has begun in earnest.

Account Sign in

2. Be transparent.

Let users know exactly where they are in the checkout process by showing a progress bar on every page. Doing this helps eliminate ambiguity and doesn't allow a customer to feel "lost" in the checkout process. Clearly call out the last step of the checkout with button text.

3. Kill site navigation.

Amazon kills all site navigation during the checkout process. This might be a bit drastic for your own site, but if you have any side navigation you should definitely eliminate them on checkout pages.However, you may choose to experiment with keeping top and super navs present throughout the process.

Amazon navigation

4. Show subtotals.

Let users know early on what their estimated totals are. People want to know exactly how much money they are about to spend. Don't let that number be a surprise at the last step!

shopping subtotals

5. Make edits simple.

Allow customers to edit their orders without having to backtrack to the cart.

remove from shopping cart

6. Make yourself available.

Prominently display your contact information on every page of your checkout process. If customers need a question answered before they complete the purchase process, they will definitely abandon if they can't find a way to contact customer service.

contact information

7. Answer questions.

Aim to answer a customer's questions before he or she needs to ask them. Kate Spade's checkout page answers a lot of potential questions from the very first step of the checkout process:

  • How much is shipping? Oh, I see, it's free!
  • Can I call someone? Oh, I see, they have a customer service number!
  • What's my total going to be? Oh, I see, it's estimated on the bottom right!
  • How much info do I have to give? Oh, I see, required fields are marked with a pink asterisk!

Kate Spade form

8. Always follow up.

Don't hang the customer out to dry as soon as she's entered her payment information. Send an email outlining all order details and send another email when the customer's order has shipped. Doing so reinforces your credibility as a retailer and keeps your customer happy, and hopefully loyal.

Zappos follow up

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