November 1st, 2022 | 6 MIN READ

5 Ways to Improve Checkout Process

Written by author_profile_images Emily Kathi

Emily Kathi is a Senior Content Marketing Writer at Elastic Path. She writes about product, trends, and all things related to digital commerce.

checkout-process-best-practices

This is an update to a previous blog published on October 13, 2022.

As we approach the busiest shopping season of the year, it’s critical to review all aspects of the shopping experience. Your goal is to make the experience as seamless, quick, and convenient for your customer every step of the way.

One of the key areas of the shopping experience is checkout. We joined with payment provider and Elastic Path Payments partner Stripe, for a webinar based on recent findings from a Stripe and Edgar, Dunn and Company study regarding best checkout practices in North America.

The webinar asks the critical question, “Is Your Cart Black Friday Ready?”

We were joined by Kevin Flynn, Retail Industry Lead at Stripe for his insight into how best to create checkout experiences to meet customer demand and expectation.

From a pool of the top 200 eCommerce businesses across the U.S. and Canada, the study found 96% of the companies surveyed had at least FIVE basic checkout errors. They include deficits in the following areas:

  1. Checkout Form Design
  2. Localization
  3. Mobile Optimization
  4. Buyer Trust
  5. Security

Let’s dive into the challenges and the solutions presented in the webinar surrounding each key area…

Checkout Form Design

Here we see an alarming insight into the shopper experience. As many as 1 in 5 eCommerce shoppers would abandon a transaction if it took more than one minute. Challenges within the experience from the study tell us that as much as 56% of checkouts took longer than three minutes to complete. In addition to timing issues, another point of friction comes from unspecified error messages causing the shopper to abandon the transaction altogether.

So how do you address this customer pain point that dramatically affects conversion rates? With easy design solutions:

  • Support Auto Complete. As the shopper types in address or region information, allow for an auto-fill function to shave off a few seconds on the clock.
     
  • Format credit card blocks. Make it as easy as possible to enter numbers, expiration date, and the CVC security code.
     
  • Offer to save the card details. As easy as a check box, it will save time and convenience for the next visit your shopper makes to your site.
     
  • Specify the roadblock. Is it an expired card? Have they left off a number from the security code? Be upfront and clear with messaging so the shopper knows exactly what to fix to complete the transaction.

Localization

Payments are not created equal in the shopper’s mind. How we pay is dramatically influenced by where we are in the world.

“Just as cultures differ around the world, so does the way we pay. There will be some kind of different aspects that will be reflected in payment method.”

Kevin Flynn, Retail Industry Lead, Stripe

From credit cards, to bank transfers, to digital or mobile wallets, the preferred payment method varies depending on geography. For instance, 40% of shoppers surveyed outside the U.S. and Canada prefer to pay with a method other than a credit card. As many as 15% of shoppers in European markets abandoned a transaction because their preferred method of payment was not available. Localization of payments is fundamental to completing the purchase. Your customers expect it.

The great news is that country specific payment options boost conversion rates. Instances where customers offered optimal localized methods saw a 40% boost in incremental sales.

Kevin points to methods with an uptick in popularity beyond the traditional credit card, such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). The alternative, installment-based payment method is largely popular in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, and is gaining traction across North America.

 

Shopping Cart & Checkout Solutions

Ensure your Customer Feel Connected Up Until the End of Checkout

Go to Checkout Solutions

Mobile Optimization

The world has clearly gone mobile. The study tells us that 56% of eCommerce traffic occurs on a mobile device. Maybe not surprising to today’s brands and retailers, but let’s look at just how mobile optimization and payment is tied to conversion rate from the shopper’s view.

An overwhelming 62% of surveyed shoppers said it’s either “very” or “extremely” important that sites be mobile friendly. Front end developers need to be aware of this statistic as they format sites and the fact that abandonment rates on mobile are twice that of a desktop. The shopper's expectation is to complete the experience through checkout entirely on a mobile device.

Surveyed results give us more context about the rising star of payments: Mobile Wallets. Branded options such as Google, Apple, or Samsung Pay are widely preferred across Asian and European markets, with the payment option picking up steam across North America.

What are the critical points behind mobile optimization to improve conversion?

  • Offer mobile payment or digital wallet options.
  • Auto resize the screen specifically for a mobile device.
  • Enable a one-click, mobile-first intuitive experience.

Buyer Trust & Security

The final two areas covered in the webinar are around shopper trust and security. As Kevin points out, buyer trust and payment security is a delicate balance. While customers want a rapid checkout experience, they want personal information safeguarded in the process.

One of the easiest ways to alleviate shopper stress around personal security is to allow the customer to check out as a guest. Card information and personal details are not stored in the guest checkout experience as they would from a password-protected account.

Additionally, Kevin shares a social media checkout option. With this alternative, shoppers trust a social media platform where their personal details are stored in a profile, and in many cases, this type of checkout expedites the process down to a single click, once the account is connected to the cart.

Survey data tells us that brands are not supporting this option:

  • Ninety percent of eCommerce brands in North America did not allow social media checkout options; those numbers were slightly lower globally with 77% in the Asia-Pacific region, and 85% in Europe not providing the experience.
     
  • In the North American region, 18% of brands did not allow guest checkout, while Asia-Pacific regions came in at 32%, while Europe came in at a slightly higher 41% not providing a guest checkout experience.

Related to buyer trust, there is a learning moment for brands. If there are issues within an order such as incorrect quantities or a forgotten discount code, shoppers want to rectify the situation from a single screen or an order summary, without the hassle of scrolling back through multiple screens.

According to survey results, as many as 22% of North American eCommerce sites did not offer an order summary option, with Asia-Pacific coming in at 15%, and Europe rounding out the findings at just 8%.

The message is clear from consumers: make it easy, fast, and convenient or expect cart abandonment.

Meet Your Customers Where They Are

There are many critical findings to consider as you prep your eCommerce business for Black Friday and the holiday season. Interested in seeing the webinar in its entirety? Or check out the Black Friday Checklist we’ve compiled to meet customer demand and drive revenue during the largest shopping weekend of the year. 

Checkout Experience Infographic

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