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E-Commerce Marketing: 9 Ways to Optimize Online Checkout for Conversion

Wilson Lau

Sr. SEO Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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‘Tis the season for online shopping. This year, Adobe is forecasting record e-commerce sales, with online transactions up 33% to $189 billion as consumers seek ways to complete their holiday shopping while minimizing contact. 

But with increased online shopping comes even more potential for checkout abandonment, which occurs after a shopper moves into the payment phase and elects not to proceed. There are many reasons consumers abandon their carts, but the key to solving the problem lies in identifying every possible point of friction and alleviating the burden.

For more information on reducing abandoned shopping carts:

By making online checkout truly seamless, you can guide your customers to a mutually beneficial outcome. These nine tips will help: 

Offer Fast, Easy Checkout

The first step is to not only make the process easy but clear.

 Think about how simple it is to buy virtually anything from Amazon with just a few clicks. That’s why you should make sure your checkout button is easy to find no matter where a potential customer is on a given page. It’s smart to minimize on-page distractions like headers, footers, and menu buttons once customers arrive at the payment phase.

You can also minimize consumer hesitancy by showing them how much further they have to go via a checkout progress bar. If the process is truly simple and easy, they shouldn’t have much time to wonder — but a progress bar offers even more transparency into the process, which further enhances the experience. 

Cater to Mobile Shoppers

Research shows 167.8 million American consumers made purchases on their mobile devices in 2020, and this figure is expected to rise in coming years. So if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to prepare your brand for the rise in mobile commerce by adding mobile-friendly features like responsive design. A bonus: This simultaneously removes any obstacles that stand in the way of mobile consumers converting as the practice expands. 

Provide Helpful Details

It’s also wise to display product visuals during checkout to ensure order clarity. Where applicable, you should add details like size and color so shoppers can quickly confirm order accuracy and move to the next stage. We also recommend giving customers one final opportunity to review their orders before submission to make sure everything is perfect. 

Accommodate Last-Minute Changes

 To prevent consumers from leaving during checkout, brands should allow shoppers to make adjustments from the cart itself, such as changing a size or updating quantity. This also keeps them moving forward — and toward conversion — rather than back and away from order submission. 

Eliminate Fees

Another layer to simplifying checkout is offering free shipping — or free shipping on orders that reach a certain threshold. This benefit has been shown to encourage consumers to finalize transactions. Make sure to communicate any other fees early on, so consumers aren’t surprised by the total order amount and feel compelled to leave at a later stage.

Accept Different Payment Types

Offering an array of payment options helps accommodate consumers’ financial needs and eliminates one more excuse not to complete a purchase. When determining what options to offer, keep in mind digital-only payment services like PayPal, as well as buy now pay later options, which are increasingly popular with younger consumers

For more information on the rise of BNPL:

Offer Guest Checkout

Forcing shoppers to create an account to complete checkout is another point of friction that contributes to abandonment. Instead, give consumers the ability to check out as guests — and make this functionality clearly visible.

For customers who want to create accounts, offer form field validation to ensure whatever they type in is accurate and they don’t get error messages later on. You can further streamline the process by allowing them to connect social accounts. This will easily verify identity and pull relevant information, making the step that much easier to complete.

Streamline Information Requests

Consumers are understandably wary of sharing personal information online. Brands can therefore reduce any lingering anxiety by not asking for more information than they need — and by making it clear why they ask for certain details. In other words, if you want a customer phone number in case of questions about shipping, say so. Being transparent helps prevent consumers from wondering what the brand is going to do with their phone numbers — and questioning why they’re placing the order in the first place. 

If a certain detail isn’t pertinent to checkout, don’t ask for it. It only elongates the process and isn’t worth losing a potential sale. You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to build on this relationship later.

For more information on building customer loyalty:

Show Consumers Their Transactions Are Safe

Show consumers your site is trustworthy by displaying SSL certificates, trust seals, and credit card logos. This is another clear sign to shoppers their financial information is in safe hands, and their transactions are secure and will help eliminate any final concerns. 

Confirm the Order

While no brand will win every sale 100% of the time, eliminating these friction points will go a long way to increasing your conversion rate. If nothing else, think about how you feel as a consumer and what you like to see in your own online experiences. Otherwise, reach out to AdRoll to learn more about our abandonment solutions with email and digital advertising assistance. 

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