Do you regularly lose customers on your payment page? Basket abandonment is a big problem for e-commerce sellers as the average basket abandonment rate comes to around 70%. In other words, the majority of internet users who put an item in their basket don’t buy it. This is money you can’t afford to lose…

You need to start optimising your sales funnel by putting practical actions in place. This article will help you with that. We will set out some easy-to-implement advice to optimise your site’s sales funnel. Make your visitors want to complete the sale.

What is the checkout?

Checkout takes place when users finish filling their basket and they are ready to order their products. For all those who are new to the basket concept, try to follow the best e-commerce platforms for ideas on the way checkout processes work. For info, the checkout steps:

  • Shopping cart validation
  • Create/identify customer account
  • Choice of delivery method
  • Choice of payment method
  • (Payment validation: 3D Secure)
  • Order confirmation

A sales funnel therefore refers to all the website pages displayed to a customer during the purchasing process (and after the items have been placed in the basket). There are two types of payment pages: one-page or multi-page checkout.

One-page checkout

  • Quicker: even if the number of fields to fill in is about the same, it always takes less time to complete a one-page checkout.
  • Psychological advantage: the fact that buyers can see the number of steps to complete the purchase acts as a psychological reminder and motivates them to finish what they have started.
  • No navigation between pages: customers don’t need to navigate between different pages if they want to change the information they have entered.

Multi-page checkout

  • Easier to collect data: by splitting your payment process into several steps, you have a better chance to capture customer data, even if they abandon the basket at a later stage. For example, if you ask for the customer’s email address at the start and they end up abandoning the payment after going to the next step, you still have their address, and you can follow up with an abandoned basket email.
  • Easier to design: when you split the forms over several pages it is much easier to create a clean and minimalist layout design, which also makes the payment process seem quick and easy.   

Your sales funnel steps: Do’s & Don’ts

Hold your customer’s hand and guide them through the checkout. A dual objective: to get to the end of payment without ever going backwards!

  • Step 1: the payment process begins when the customer clicks on ‘Order’ in the basket.
    • If you do not allow anonymous purchases, a user who is not logged in is redirected to the specified login page.
  • Step 2: the ‘Delivery address’ fields appear.
    • If the user is a former customer, the delivery address is pre-filled with the latest information specified by the user.
    • If the billing address differs from the delivery address, the user must untick the “billing address identical to delivery address” box.

Tip #1

Consider offering delivery to pick-up points, it’s a vital delivery method (and free for your customers).

  • Step 3: clicking on ‘Continue’ takes the user to the next step of choosing the method of payment for the items.

Tip #2

Give your customers the choice and offer them split payment if the average shopping cart amount is high.

  • Step 4: clicking on ‘Continue’ takes the user to the next step of previewing the order details, shipping and payment methods.
    • Your customer must be asked to confirm their shopping cart themselves. If they don’t see the delivery date of their order, they will start to have doubts!
  • Step 5: the user must confirm by clicking on the ‘Place this order’ button.
    • If the merchant secures purchases with 3D Secure, the customer enters the number sent by their bank on their smartphone.
    • The order is confirmed, the confirmation page is displayed to the user and an email is sent to the customer from the store.

Tip #3

Don’t let your customer go, suggest they subscribe to your newsletter for example.

5 tips to optimise checkout

  1. Ignore mandatory registration: more and more users expect to have the option to pay as a guest when accessing the payment page. You can also offer the chance to connect via social media, Google etc. or ask them to subscribe on the thank you page if you are trying to collect more data. Be sure to remove the registration barrier in order to increase conversions.
  2. Offer several payment options: it’s a good idea to display payment options on the product page to avoid causing frustration later on in the process. The wider the choice of different payment gateways, the more likely your customers are to complete their purchase. 
  3. Help buyers feel more secure: minimising the risks associated with buying online will help your customers to continue with their purchase. You can do this by adding security icons and payment logos, as well as offering a money-back guarantee.
  4. Add a ‘save shopping cart’ option: allow your buyers to resume their shopping quickly and easily by offering the option to save the whole shopping cart or an individual product for later. This action will markedly increase the chances that they will return to complete the order.   
  5. Offer free or cheap delivery: with Amazon Prime on the rise, buyers are starting to take free delivery for granted. High shipping costs are one of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment, therefore it is best to be transparent about these upfront or, if possible, to remove additional charges altogether.

In conclusion: Measure and test

Building trust requires a lot of work but losing it is very easy. Commitment to provide excellent customer service helps to build trust with your customers. An optimised checkout can increase your online store profits and improve abandoned shopping cart rates. Adopt these tips and measure the effectiveness of your actions.