5 Steps to a Painless Checkout Process

Checking out is the heart and soul of the e-commerce experience. When it goes well, you’ve got happy customers who are likely to return. When it doesn’t, your business can suffer.

“Checkout is not only key to driving revenue — it’s key to user satisfaction, order size and retention,” said Zephrin Lasker, head of ecommerce at Viber.

“A good process can allow for optimal conversion, data collection and speed,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

It’s a good idea, therefore, to pay particular attention to your checkout process, regularly evaluating it and updating it as needed. If you’re not sure what to do, here are five possible improvements to consider.

1. Make It Simple

Customers want the checkout process to be easy, and anything too complicated or elaborate is going to turn them away.

“Making the checkout process as simple and fast for customers as possible is one of the most important elements of your website,” said Eric Marotta, director of product marketing for CloudCraze.

“If your checkout process is too long or cumbersome, you will lose buyers and revenue,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Remember that your checkout process is about just that — checking out. Don’t offer more than customers really want.

“Too often a checkout becomes a showcase of all that a user might ever need to do,” remarked Nicolas Avila, vice president of technology at Globant.

“A well-defined checkout experience should be about providing users with just the right tools to get what they have already shown intent to buy,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Customers are there to buy a product, after all, not for the checkout experience.

The No. 1 checkout complaint “is that the process is too arduous, particularly for customers shopping on a mobile device,” said Stephen Meserve, senior product marketing manager at BigCommerce.

“Multiple form fields, unclear payment instructions, and non-responsive pages are just a few of the factors that slow down checkout and ultimately drive customers to leave a site,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

2. Make It Mobile

Many of your customers will be checking out via mobile devices, so it’s vital that your checkout process is mobile-friendly.

“Because so much traffic is mobile, building a mobile-native — not just mobile-optimized — checkout process is the biggest bang for your buck,” advised Viber’s Lasker.

“This might mean using a native app,” he suggested.

For Web, it could mean “rebuilding your checkout process to be sequential — multiple small steps versus one big form with lots of fields,” Lasker said. “As mobile becomes the standard, having an easy mobile checkout is the key to success.”

3. Make It Secure

If they’re going to trust your site, your customers have to trust its safety and security.

“To ensure quality and security, e-commerce businesses require effective quality assurance and software testing for the entire purchasing structure,” observed Mike Hershkovitz, vice president of the U.S. division at QualiTest.

“This includes crowd testing, load testing and usability testing to ensure the checkout process is glitch-free and user-friendly,” he told the E-Commerce Times, as well as “offering customers a positive experience through an easily navigable and simple process, speed, and a sense of security and trust.”

4. Make It Fast

Fast checkout is key to happy customers. They’re in a hurry, and the less you hinder their journey, the better.

“The most common problem with e-commerce checkout processes is slowness,” noted Hershkovitz. “A recent QualiTest survey found that the most commonly reported technical difficulty was a frozen checkout page, with almost 60 percent of respondents reporting the issue.”

5. Make It Modern

Modernizing your checkout process means offering the latest payment options and other processes that appeal to your customers.

“E-commerce retailers need to get ahead of the curve and think about what will disrupt their industry to appeal to younger demographics with new options and processes during checkout,” maintained Joseph Daly, COO for North America payment processing at Paysafe.

“Today, alternative digital payment methods are becoming increasingly popular. Consumers are more often abandoning analog payment methods — hard currency, notes and coins — in favor of digital payments methods like e-wallets, e-vouchers, prepaid cards and mobile payments,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Modernizing your checkout process also means avoiding hidden fees.

“Paysafe’s ‘Lost in Transaction Report’ found that the most significant reason American consumers abandon online shopping carts is hidden transaction fees and delivery charges,” said Daly, “according to 37 percent of consumers.”

Vivian Wagner

Vivian Wagner has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. Her main areas of focus are technology, business, CRM, e-commerce, privacy, security, arts, culture and diversity. She has extensive experience reporting on business and technology for a varietyof outlets, including The Atlantic, The Establishment and O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in modern American literature and culture. She received a first-place feature reporting award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.Email Vivian.

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