Your checkout page is where you close the deal. Your potential customer has already indicated they want to buy your product, now you have to focus on not losing them. The web is full of distractions, so it's key to keep their attention on the task at hand — buying your product!
There are several things you can do to offer a buyer confidence, affirmation, and a distraction free environment.
Get rid of unnecessary navigation elements
One of the simplest and most popular ways to reduce distractions in your checkout is to remove any link unrelated to the checkout experience itself. Most often, this is to remove the primary navigation links, and often footer links or sidebars as well.
A clean checkout, only providing the options for the user to click or interact with that are relevant to checkout, will help keep them on the page, and to close the sale.
A way to offer affirmation and trust is to include testimonials in your checkout flow. Optin Monster does this well, right next to where they ask if you have an account or not.
Show your return policy
Do you have a customer friendly return policy? If you don't, you should consider it! If you do, you should show it off!
Many companies offer full refunds with no questions asked. That's a badge of honor that should be portrayed on your checkout.
Let them know if you offer free shipping
Do you offer free shipping? You should tell your customer as clearly as you can! One of the big advantages of Amazon and other big stores is they usually offer free shipping. If you do as well, you should show it off!
Customers are getting more and more expectant of quick ship times, for no charge. If we can offer it, we definitely need to tell our shoppers that.
Get their email address early, and use an abandoned cart service
Email is the best way to market to your customer base. Also, if they do not complete the checkout, their email is a primary way to try and get them to come back and finish it.
Offer email as the first field in the checkout process, so that you can target them with cart recovery emails if they fail to complete checkout. The further down the checkout you ask for email, the less likely you'll receive it.
Not sure what email service to use for cart recovery? We like Jilt, for cart recovery, and much more.
Coupon codes? Strike a balance
Coupon or promo code inputs can be useful, but they can also cause a customer to feel left out! Coupon code inputs should not be a primary attraction on the page, but instead a clear to find secondary input.
The last thing you want is a customer without a coupon to abandon the process because they suddenly feel like they deserve one.
Tip: Have a default coupon a customer can always apply. For instance, a free shipping coupon or, even better, something like a buy 3 get 1 free coupon. If they have purchased one item, it could encourage them to add more to their cart. That way, everyone gets the option of something, and nobody feels left out.
Guest check-out or offer the ability to create accounts
Guests sometimes do not like creating user accounts. It's important to give them a choice to create an account, or check out as a guests. When they create an account, it's useful for both them and you, to be able to easily reference past purchases with future ones. But it's also important to keep them top of mind, and if they don't want to create an account for a purchase, don't make them.
Multiple payment methods
Throughout these screenshots, you'll notice merchants offering several ways to pay. Why? Well, because convenience is key. There are good reasons for checkout out with several services.
- Credit cards: most shoppers keep track of their credit card statements and it's an easy default.
- PayPal: some folks miss this one, but it's a great option. Some shoppers simply trust PayPal checkout more than on-site credit card checkouts. But another reason is for shoppers who maintain a PayPal balance; it can feel like “fun” money to them, and they may be more willing to spend money if the money is coming from their PayPal account, and not credit or debit.
- Apple Pay or Google checkout: many shoppers keep their payment credentials right on their devices, and enabling these services can make the checkout process quicker to checkout, and more likely to finish the process.
Ensure you have https enabled
It may seem obvious, but I've shopped at a lot of smaller stores that still do not have https enabled on their websites. All websites should enable https through TLS/SSL certificates. Hosts like our parters at GoDaddy make this very simple. And it's important!
Encrypting the sending of private checkout information is pivotal to the checkout experience, and many browsers will outright block checkouts without https enabled, as they should. Make sure you have https enabled, and check it regularly!
Consider if trust badges are appropriate for your site
Trust badges may be less important than they once were; people generally feel safer buying online than they used to. But it is still a good idea to offer any verification you may have to ensure that you offer a trusted checkout experience. If this even increases your checkout rates by one or two percent, it's well worth it.