5 Tips for a Seamless Online Checkout Process
by Sorin Despot
An easy and seamless checkout process translates into increased conversions and superior customer retention. That is precisely why the quality of your checkout page is essential to digital success. Your customers need to feel completely safe to provide their payment details here, and they should find the experience seamless, if not truly pleasant, returning soon for another ride.
This is where it all gets real, and your value proposition turns into money. Visitors become customers on the checkout page.
If you think that your conversion and retention rates at the checkout level are just fine as they are, or that a generic solution (rhymes with PlayPal) is good enough for you, then stop reading and continue basking in the glory of your online success.
However, if you believe that you could use the improvement on your stats at the checkout-page level, even by a tiny margin, here are five tips that will help you do just that:
#1 Stop Frustrating Your Customers
First, requiring users to sign up is a major conversion killer, especially for first-time buyers. Consider asking for contact details after the sale is completed.
Here's how it usually plays out: the user drops a few items in her cart and proceeds to checkout where she finds out that only registered users are granted the privilege to shop on your website.
There goes a full-on frustration-driven rant and, quite possibly, there goes your sale.
There are other ways to prevent or avoid user frustration. For example, whenever the customer screws up on her card details, by missing or mistyping a number, offer her the possibility to edit the existing details. If you ask her to start over, guess what:
There goes a full-on frustration-driven rant and, quite possibly, yet again, no sale.
All in all, go through the checkout process a hundred times, if needed, and smooth out every single detail that can potentially frustrate your user. Also, ask for and factor in all customer feedback.
#2 A/B Test It
Not many payment service providers (PSP) offer A/B testing functionalities, but Twispay does, and it has proven to be a substantial advantage for our clients, most of them being able to improve their conversions well into the double-digit percentiles.
If you're not sure about it, or think A/B testing is way too complicated, here is an HBR article that tackles A/B testing and the benefits of an experimentation culture. The point is, the most successful online businesses are data-driven and don’t just passively store and analyse data, they generate actionable data actively by running experiments. Again and again.
#3 Security & Privacy Are Paramount
The smallest concern about payment security will instantly cause any sane user to bounce. Here is what you need to consider ASAP:
- A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This provides a secure connection and encrypts all information supplied by the users, including their credit card details.
- PCI-DSS compliance. It is enforced by the credit card companies, aiming to manage the security standards for every operator that shares, stores and processes cardholder data.
Unsurprisingly, my dearest reader, Twispay is fully PCI-DSS compliant, so there you go: one less thing to worry about.
Nonetheless, SSL certification and PCI-DSS compliance can only get you so far, which brings me to my next major tip.
#4 Put Forth a Clean, Seamless Design
You cannot just slap in a payment link and call it a day. Well, you can, but that's just sloppy and sketchy and will lose you clients and money. Your checkout must be fully tailored to the whole look and feel of your brand.
Your logo, your fonts, your brand colours, your unique user experience (UX)! Every detail on your checkout page must be as consistent as possible with the rest of your website.
A tidy solution is to deliver the checkout page within an iFrame overlayed on top of the shopping cart, or any other website page, for that matter. Think about it.
#5 Remove All Distractions
Only convey critically useful information, and NO ads, OK? Your marketing efforts have brought this client to the counter and your only focus is to get that cash.
Remove the navigation bar at the top, and offer no links in the footer. All that needs to shine through is that card-details form and the monumentally satisfying call-to-action: Complete Your Purchase.
Customers abandon their shopping carts for all sorts of reasons, but it all boils down to friction.
They might run into an unforeseen step or cost that annoys them, causing them to bounce instantly. This is most common with mobile checkouts. If you have been paying any attention to eCommerce trends, you know that you must go mobile or go home.
So, there you go, tip #6, as a bonus: go mobile, optimise for mobile, prepare for a fully mobile future and future-proof every aspect of your online business, including your checkout page.