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How to Increase Checkout Conversion Rate

Imagine that your online store has 5,000 visitors each week, but only 50 of these make a purchase. How can you entice more of your visitors to follow through with a sale? There are numerous strategies that can improve a business’s ecommerce conversion rate. Here’s how to get started.

What is a checkout conversion rate?

Checkout conversion rate is a key metric for any ecommerce business to follow. This shows you the percentage of site visitors that place items in a shopping cart and go on to complete the checkout stage of a sale. Even a small boost to your checkout conversion rate can translate into a significant revenue increase. Ecommerce conversion rates are closely tied to the concept of shopping cart abandonment. This shows you the percentage of customers that put items in their shopping cart, yet never complete the sale.

Why do customers abandon a shopping cart?

Shopping cart abandonment is more common than you might think, hovering at an average of 69.80% according to figures from the Baymard Institute. This means that nearly seven out of ten customers place items in a cart yet don’t follow through with the purchase. Why?

Common reasons for shopping cart abandonment include:

  • Website errors

  • High shipping costs

  • Unexpected fees

  • Complicated checkout process

  • Want to save the items for later

  • Don’t want to register to make a purchase

  • Lack of preferred payment option

  • Lack of trust in website security

Top ways to increase online conversions

Now that we’ve covered some of the primary reasons why shoppers abandon their carts mid-sale, how can you address the issue? Here are a few tried-and-tested ways to improve your ecommerce conversion rates.

1. Use a single checkout page

Customers generally prefer the checkout process to be as quick and smooth as possible. A single checkout page reduces the chance of website errors occurring between one checkout page to the next. Psychologically, they seem shorter and easier to fill out with all fields on a single page. It also requires fewer clicks from the customer. You can further boost conversion rates by making sure your ecommerce store is decluttered. Use smart forms to pull in address details and enable Google autofill for an easier checkout.

2. Offer free shipping

One of the main reasons cited by customers for abandoning shopping carts is the shipping fee. They might fill a cart only to find out they don’t qualify for free shipping, or the costs are higher than intended. Although it involves a small cost for the online store, offering free shipping significantly boosts ecommerce conversion rates. All you need to do is look at the success of Amazon Prime to see this concept in action.

3. Ditch the mandatory sign-in

Online shoppers don’t want to register with every single website, so don’t make this a requirement for checkout. You can make registration an option after the purchase is completed, with the benefit of stored details ensuring a smoother future transaction. For first-time buyers, offer the guest checkout option.

4. Reel them back in with recovery emails

Are buyers a lost cause once they’ve already abandoned the shopping cart? Not necessarily. An effective technique to try is sending out personalised emails enticing the customer back with the promise of a special deal or promotion. Free shipping, coupons, or overnight delivery might be the final push they need to come back and complete the sale. Strike while the lead is still warm to improve online conversions. Of course, you should also make sure the items they’re interested in are still in stock. You might want to reserve the items in your ecommerce store for 24 hours.

5. Try a retargeting campaign

Along these same lines, you can retarget past customers with personalised advertising. Place retargeted PPC adverts on platforms like Facebook and Google Ads. These target individuals who are already aware of your business and may have visited your website in the past. They’re more likely to convert to a sale than a completely cold lead.

The bottom line

With a streamlined checkout process and subtle marketing nudges, you can convert site visitors into repeat customers. Single-page checkouts, multiple payment options, and free shipping all offer a good place to start. As a main takeaway, remember that the easier you can make the payment process, the more likely you are to boost conversion rates accordingly.

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GoCardless is used by over 60,000 businesses around the world. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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