How to improve your ecommerce checkout experience

Is there anything worse for a retailer than having a customer go all the way through the sales process, from browsing to picking their items, to getting all the way to the checkout, only to walk away from the sale at the last minute?

You were so close to making the sale. The finish line was in sight. The light was there at the end of the tunnel.

Then suddenly the sale is gone.

And it’s a serious problem.

UK retailers lose out on as much as £18bn a year from ecommerce customers walking away from a purchase, according to research by Barclaycard.

There’s lots of reasons this happens, especially in ecommerce when it’s easier for a customer to walk away from a purchase with the click of a button.

But one of the most common stages a customer abandons their purchase online is during the checkout process – 41% of customers say they’ve abandoned a purchase because of a poor checkout experience, according to Barclaycard’s research.

That’s compared to 24% who have walked away at the same stage when buying something in store.

Identifying the problems with online checkouts

On the face of it, an online checkout should be the simplest part of any ecommerce transaction.

The customer has done the hard part of finding and choosing what they want.

Now all they have to do is enter their payment details and pay.

Simple, right?

But some businesses forget that the checkout is such an important part of the ecommerce sales process and don’t invest in creating a user friendly service.

This makes it complicated and hard for customers to use.

And no customer is going to suffer through a difficult checkout experience when there are thousands of other websites where they could buy the exact same items you’re selling.

How to improve the ecommerce checkout experience

While it might sound complicated, it’s actually easy to improve the checkout experience of your ecommerce business, if you focus on a few key things and invest in the right online payment services.


1. Make the process as simple as possible

If a customer is trying to give you money, make it as easy as possible for them to do it.

Make the page as clutter free as you can and even go so far as to give instructions as to exactly what the customer has to do to get through the checkout process.

Also, don’t add too many steps.

Yes, you need to have the security stages in place but don’t use your checkout as a final page to push an extra sale or collect more details from your customer than you need to to get them over the line.


2. Include as many payment options as you can

There are so many ways to pay for goods now.

In shops the majority of customers prefer to use contactless cards, and businesses which don’t accept them are at a massive disadvantage.

In ecommerce you have a great opportunity to accept all kinds of card and electronic payments, so why limit yourself by only accepting a couple?

Accepting all major debit and credit cards is a given.

But you can also accept premium cards like AMEX (although this will cost you more in fees).

And you should definitely now be setting up to accept payments through digital wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

If you’re accepting these payment methods, display them all on your checkout page so customers know the options they have.

A customer who is confused about whether you accept their preferred payment method is far more likely to abandon their cart than just enter their payment details and hope for the best.


3. Provide and publicise a secure checkout

If you’re asking customers to enter sensitive card details into your website then you should be using a secure payment gateway to protect those details.

Your security should include an SSL certificate and using a https website, which demonstrates to customers that you take your security seriously.

Your https will display a padlock next to the URL and is widely accepted as a sign that a website is secure.

For your online payments, you should use 3D Secure authentication, which adds a two -factor authentication layer on top of your website security to further protect customers from online card fraud.

3D Secure requires customers to get a One Time Passcode (OTP) from the bank or card issuer to confirm they are the ones completing the purchase.

Create a mobile optimised checkout page

About a third of all online shopping purchases were made using a mobile device in 2019.

By 2024 it’s expected that ecommerce sales will reach over £100bn for the first time, according to Statista.

Online businesses spend a lot of money optimising their website for mobile shoppers to give them a good experience.

But too many forget that this mobile experience should go all the way through to the checkout.

If a customer lands on a checkout page that isn’t set up for mobile and they find it hard to navigate they aren’t going to spend 20 minutes trying to figure it out.

There’s lots of other online businesses selling what they’re looking for, and if those businesses make paying for items easier than you, you’re going to lose a lot of business to them.

Creating an easy checkout experience is essential for ecommerce success

If your business is investing in an ecommerce website to generate sales or supplement your physical store, then you want to make sure it’s taking customers right through to the purchase.

Spending thousands of pounds on a flash website is a wasted investment if your checkout process is complicated and causes customers to walk away.

The ecommerce checkout process can be easily overlooked, but it’s arguably one of the most important parts of your website.

From choosing the right online payment gateway, to securing your checkout to accepting as many payment methods as possible, you need to invest in your checkout to get the most of your ecommerce business.

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