How to provide the best checkout experience to your customers

For one out of five shoppers, complicated checkouts are the main reason to abandon a virtual cart. So, let us show you what you can do about it!

João Paulo Notini
February 17, 2022
8 min read

One of the worst nightmares of any digital commerce is having their customers adding an item to a shopping cart and exiting their websites without completing the purchase. Unfortunately, the global online shopping cart abandonment rate has been slightly increasing since 2014, with some studies pointing out that by the end of 2020 it was as high as 85.2%.

So, what are the reasons behind this cheerless statistic? In the end, a bad checkout experience is among the top causes why shoppers abandon a virtual shopping cart. So, let’s have a look at what you must do to provide the best checkout experience to your customers and get a healthier abandonment rate.

Checkout issues: the worst enemy of conversion rates

Since 2014 the shopping cart abandonment rate has been slightly increasing. According to a Statista study, by the end of 2020, it was 69.8%, which is 2.54% higher than 2014. Another study, however, which is also from Statista, pointed out that the global cart abandonment rate was much worse, with 85.2% in the same period. 

The truth is that this is something every digital commerce needs to care about and there are some key causes behind it which are directly related to issues on a checkout experience. So, let’s have a look at these reasons based on a 2021 survey from Baymard Institute:

Reasons for Abandonments During Cart & Checkout (2021 data):

  • 49% Extra costs too high (shipping, tax, fees)
  • 24% The site wanted me to create an account
  • 19% Delivery was too slow
  • 18% Too long / complicated checkout process
  • 17% I didn’t trust the site with my credit card information
  • 17% I couldn’t see / calculate total order cost up-front
  • 12% Website had errors / crashed
  • 11% Returns policy wasn’t satisfactory
  • 7% There weren’t enough payment methods
  • 4% The credit card was declined

Of course these reasons may vary depending on the industry, audience and from shopper to shopper. However, some of them, such as a “too long or complicated checkout”, is something that was reported by 1 out of 5 respondents and can be applied to any digital commerce.

The pathway to a great checkout experience

The Baymard Institute revealed that if we consider only the usability issues that are solvable in a checkout design, the average large-sized e-commerce sites that were subjects of their studies can get a 35.26% increase in their conversion rate

We can definitely say, however, that these issues happen in different checkouts and business models. From international checkout processes to local ones, or from a one-time payment to a subscription business model. It is up to you to decide whether to improve your checkout or not. Yet, here are the best practices that will definitely help you:

Have a one-page checkout and require only necessary infos

In order to improve your checkout process speed while decreasing complexity and frictions, one-page checkouts are a must. Having a one-page checkout means that your checkout process is completed using a single form on one page. It prevents redirections and reduces loading time. 

Furthermore, as reported by Baymards Institute, it is recommended for a checkout flow to be as short as 12-14 elements (7-8 if only counting the form fields). Thus, the bottom line is: don’t ask for unnecessary information and keep it simple. 

Allow guest checkouts and social sign-ins

Guest checkouts are a great way to retain your shopper. The truth is that many shoppers hate going to the end of the checkout process just to figure out that they need to make an account before finishing their purchase. More so, if you already have adopted guest checkouts at your website, remember to display it in a way that is clear to your customer to find it. 

The Baymard Institute reports that 65% of e-commerces don’t have a guest checkout as their most prominent option. A great practice, therefore, is to display this option in the upper-left side of the screen and, especially on smartphone interfaces, avoid placing it in a drop-down menu.

Finally, offering a social sign-in option (Facebook, Apple, Google, etc.) is an excellent way to let your customers connect with a pre-existing account, so you can collect their personal details to verify their identity. The most important thing, however, is that it saves your shopper’s time when registering for an account. 

Show all costs clearly and beforehand

As we have seen previously from Baymard’s study, almost a half of all shoppers abandon their purchases during the checkout process because they found extra costs when paying. So, never hide costs from your shopper! Show them before your customer is ready to confirm the purchase. Being transparent and displaying all details with antecedence, including how much will be charged for shipping, or which extra fees will be applied to a product/service, is mandatory. 

Enable multiple payment methods

You don’t want to lose any sale because your customer didn’t have how to pay or because their preferred payment methods weren’t available, right? Especially if you want to expand your business to other regions, this is the reason why you must enable multiple payment methods in multiple currencies and gateways

Traditional payment options such as cards aren’t sufficient. So, focus on alternative payment methods, including instant payments, digital wallets, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and localized options. 

Support multiple languages

The world is connected and globalization is here to stay. Hence, just as important as providing a localized support in multiple currencies and payment methods, language support is key for a localized experience. 

Language barriers are a great reason for your customers to abandon their cart and you must do your best to give them an appropriate experience. Oh! And remember that this doesn’t mean only translating the text in your checkout page, but also adapting date formats and addresses according to your shoppers’ country format. 

Have a clean and cohesive layout

You don’t want your customers distracted when completing a purchase right? So, avoid placing headers, footers, menu buttons or anything that is unnecessary during your checkout steps since it will compromise your conversion rate. Moreover, make your checkout page’s design look like other pages from your website, otherwise your shoppers may feel insecure or think that they are in another place. 

Invest on user interface

According to Statista, 72.9% of worldwide retail e-commerce sales came from mobile in 2021. So, first of all, you must invest on an optimized and mobile friendly checkout page. Yet, your focus on user interface needs to go beyond that. 

Did you know, for example, that 57% of sites don’t support a “Back” button to access previous checkout steps that the shopper may have completed? This is a concern that users reported to Baymard Institute. More so, displaying real time validation and error messages when a shopper inputs any wrong information in the checkout is a great practice. 

Make your checkout persuasive

You need to make your checkout as appealing and persuasive as you can. First of all, your customers want to feel that your checkout is safe. You can, therefore, add trust badges (eg: McAfee Secure, Visa Secure, Norton Secured, etc.) in your pages. Having https in the URL bar will also make your shoppers feel safer. 

Besides safety, the feeling of progress during the checkout process is very important. Thus, you must display a progress bar or any sort of indicator that shows how many steps your customers have already completed and how many are still on their way to complete the purchase. 

At last but not least, always remind your customers what they have added to their cart. You can add a summary section on your checkout page that lists all items that were added to the cart along with their respective prices. This will definitely make your shoppers more motivated to move forward and reduce abandonment rate. 

Implement high-standard safety methods 

You can, instead of building your own checkout, implement a checkout solution that retrieves device IDs and generates Card Tokens. Tokenization protect your customer’s’ sensitive data by replacing it with algorithmically generated numbers and letters. In addition, if you are not processing the card-holder data and, consequently, are outsourcing it to a third party, remember checking if the solution is PCI SAQ-A compliant.

Key Takeaway

If you are willing to improve your checkout process and reduce abandonment rate, let’s recap that several usability issues are solvable. We have shown you what must be done to keep moving towards the best checkout experience and it is less complicated than it appears. All you need to do is to listen to your shoppers,  follow up e-commerce trends and provide a localized experience. In the long run, what your customer wants is a simple, clear, trustworthy and safe checkout process.

A checkout solution tailored for Latin America

Are you considering starting operations in Latin America for the first time or want to expand your business to new markets in the region? Well, you must be aware that Latin America is the region with the second highest shopping cart abandonment rate in the world (86,5%), according to Statista

However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t explore all the great opportunities that the region has to offer. Latin America is expected to double its e-commerce size until 2025 at a 31% growth rate per year, as reported in our Beyond Borders Study. Hence, to ensure that your conversion rate will boom and avoid abandoned carts, you must trust on who really knows the region and is able to provide the best checkout experience to your customers. 

From an easy checkout integration to full customization. EBANX has a safe, complete white-label checkout solution that delivers the experience your Latin American shopper wants.

Get to know more about it!

João Paulo Notini
João Paulo Notini
Senior Content Marketing | Cross-Border operations at EBANX

Our annual study is out! Beyond Borders 2021-2022

Beyond Borders 2021-2022: How digital payments and e‑commerce are gaining traction in Latin America

EBANX Retail & Marketplace Solution

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