How to Streamline the Checkout Process for Your eCommerce Business

You’ve got an excellent product that fills a niche: check. Your company has invested resources into developing a flawless eCommerce site: check. You’ve got a great team ready to handle questions and returns: check. What about the checkout process, that last critical step in your customer journey?

Some businesses approach their eCommerce checkout process as an afterthought. But that approach could end up turning customers off and harming your business.

Not all eCommerce checkouts are built the same. A streamlined, well-thought-out checkout process is key and could improve customer relationships and prevent cart abandonment.

Cart Abandonment: What is it and why does it happen?

Cart abandonment is a pretty self-explanatory concept. It happens when a customer finds a product they love and adds it to the cart. Then, for one reason or another, doesn’t follow through with the purchase process.

Some of the causes may be beyond your control. Maybe young Tommy had to ask his dad to help with a homework problem. Maybe dinner caught fire in the oven. Or maybe someone just rang the doorbell. Or maybe the customer was just “window shopping” on your site.

But there are other reasons your customer might not complete their checkout process. Sometimes those reasons have everything to do with how you built your checkout.

Digging Deeper Into the Data

Research by Baymard shows that 69.82% of users abandon online shopping carts online. They acknowledge that a lot of those abandonments are because the customer wasn’t interested in actually buying yet. However, they took a closer look at the other reasons shoppers walk away from eCommerce checkouts.

In addition to the top reason: high additional costs or fees, 24% of shoppers gave “the site wanted me to create an account,” 18% “didn’t trust the site with…credit card information,” and 17% said the checkout process was “too long/complicated.”

Some of the other reasons included access issues, website errors, not being able to see the total upfront, and not enough payment options. You can help prevent a staggering number of cart abandonments by having a friendly and well-oiled checkout process.

So how do you develop a user-friendly, streamlined checkout process for your eCommerce business? Depending on your team and company needs, you might want to outsource some of this work. For example, Okta, an independent identity provider, supports customer identity strategies for organizations that enhance the customer experience (CX) as well as site/checkout usability.

There are a few things you can do to make your checkout process more user friendly, today. Here are three tips to get you started.

1. Ditch those long account registration forms.

Imagine shopping for your next great pair of running shoes. You find an innovative brand made by a company you trust, and you spend several minutes finding a style and size that suits you. You add the shoes to your cart.

Then, you click the “checkout” button, and are immediately asked to fill out a lengthy form asking for detailed personal information. Or, you get a popup requiring you to create an account on the site, which you don’t plan to visit often.

Do you continue with your purchase? You might not.

You might have other things to do and no time to fill out a lengthy form. Or you might be shopping on your phone, which can make scrolling through a lengthy form a big hassle.

So how do you make sure your checkout process isn’t tripping up potential buyers with overwhelming asks? There are a few strategies you can use to make it easier for your customer to get from the “Add to cart” to the “submit payment” buttons.

Consider adding a guest checkout option. Let your customer go straight from the cart to giving you the bare minimum of payment and shipping information. This will save them time, which they’ll appreciate, and you can still collect account information after their order — or send a follow-up and invite them to create an account later.

2. Think outside the box when it comes to payment options.

You probably don’t want your customer to get all the way to the payment methods and then discover they can’t pay using the options available on your site.

In some ways, eCommerce businesses reflect traditional brick-and-mortar shopping. But the fact that you have an online storefront opens up a lot of room for innovation and options for your customers.

To make your checkout process less of a hassle, consider adding an option for users to “buy now/pay later,” which can smooth out the process for all kinds of consumers. Someone who might not be in a position to run and find their credit card in that moment can still click through and commit to the purchase. They pay at their own pace, you make the sale, and everyone is happy.

Another option is to allow users to pay with mobile wallets, a buying option that is growing exponentially among younger consumers, especially — some of whom may never own a physical credit or debit card. Mobile wallets are increasingly useful in person and online, and can save a buyer the hassle of carrying (or even having, to begin with) a wallet full of plastic cards. This is better for convenience, and you can feel good about making a little contribution to the environment, too.

It may mean extra planning and work on your end, but simplifying your checkout process and offering a variety of payment options can save you a significant number of sales.

3. Be upfront about fees, other costs, and security.

When you’re shopping online, it’s reasonable to want to know not only what you’re agreeing to financially before you check out, but also that any information you give to a business is going to be kept secure.

It’s smart to audit your site to ensure that it is secure and transparent. There are several ways you might improve these aspects of customer experience.

Let customers know at every step of their buying journey what they’ll end up paying in total, including fees, taxes, and shipping costs. Let them see the final dollar amount before they click through to purchase. This will help you build trust with shoppers. They won’t feel like they’re being hit with unfair fees or surprise costs right at the end of the process.

Make sure your site, and especially your checkout pages, are secure. Be sure to back them up with a security certificate. Post your privacy policy clearly. Try not to ask for too much information from your customers, and clearly state how you will use their information.

And, connected to the last two points, consider allowing users to make guest purchases and use digital wallets, so they can get through the process providing minimal personal and financial information.

The safer your customer feels, the more likely they are to shop with you — and to complete that purchase.