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Understanding Checkout Page Optimisation

Customers abandoning goods at checkout rarely happens in the real world. It can, however, be a major issue for online retailers. The way to minimise cart abandonment is to pay close attention to the customer experience. In particular, online retailers need to implement checkout page best practices.

Why customers abandon goods

There are numerous reasons why customers abandon goods. Most of them, however, fall into one of three broad categories. Firstly, the customer has second thoughts about the purchase. Secondly, the customer has issues navigating the checkout system. Thirdly, the customer has issues with the payment options.

Customers rethinking their purchase

There are two basic reasons why customers might end up rethinking their purchase. Firstly, the retailer might not have done a good enough job of convincing them they needed to make the purchase. Secondly, the checkout process might highlight issues the customer hadn’t considered when they added the items to their basket.

To address the former, have a good look at your product/service pages and make sure that they are as persuasive as they can be. Then consider supplementing them with targeted prompts if the customer seems to be slow to complete the checkout process. These prompts should promote a sense of urgency and hence encourage the customer to act.

To address the second, make sure that you provide all relevant information on the product/service page. This includes costs, especially shipping costs. If you need to calculate these at checkout, then at least give the customer a reasonable estimate of what they will be.

It’s also a good idea to highlight your security credentials. You may also need to provide a short explanation of what these are, why they matter and how customers can verify them.  Remember that modern customers are increasingly likely to have some awareness of online fraud. They may not, however, be familiar with specific protection measures like PCI/DSS.

Customers struggling with the checkout system

Applying straightforward checkout page best practices can go a long way towards preventing customers from just giving up on a purchase they would otherwise have made. Checkout page optimisation basically just means thinking about what your customer wants to do and guiding them through the process of doing it.

The first, and possibly most important, point to keep in mind is that it’s increasingly likely that your customer will be accessing your site on a mobile device. This means that they’ll have a relatively small screen. It’s also possible that they’ll only have one free hand. They’re highly unlikely to have a keyboard.

As a result, it’s even more important to minimise the amount of data they need to input.  Consider allowing autofill on all fields except the ones specifically for payment data (or other secure data). This is often the most effective balance of convenience and security. Also, having multiple fields pre-filled can encourage the customer just to go ahead and complete the process.

Ideally, have an easy way for the customer to reach out for help at any point during the checkout process. If you’re using VoIP, you can implement a click-to-call button. A live-chat feature is also an excellent option. What’s more, it can be programmed to provide out-of-hours assistance.

Customers having issues with the payment options

Payment options have become a bit of a challenge for modern retailers. On the one hand, in principle, choice is good. On the other hand, too much choice can become overwhelming and end up with customers just not being able to make a decision.

In general, the best approach is to stick with the core options. These would typically be payment cards and/or direct debit. You might also want to offer an e-wallet option such as PayPal.

With that said, the GoCardless Instant Bank Payment service provides similar functionality. Using it instead could, therefore, help to streamline your payment options while still providing a reasonable amount of choice.

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about checkout page optimisation, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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