Last updated on 8 December 2022
For ecommerce stores, the checkout page is the end goal.
It’s the point where each customer will either convert or abandon ship.
And as such, it’s a critical part of your conversion funnel that needs to be perfected.
But a perfect checkout page isn’t just one that looks nice, the best ecommerce stores use clever tactics to create checkout pages that not only convert customers, but increase average order values too.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the top 7 tips for optimizing your checkout page to get maximum revenue with a minimal amount of effort.
Why It’s Crucial to Create a Smooth Checkout Process
Before we get into the tips, let’s talk a bit about just why the checkout page is so important in the first place.
A) The Checkout Page Either Builds or Breaks Customers’ Trust
Visiting a product page and adding to the cart is easy, but when it comes time to enter the payment details?
To earn those details, you have to build trust with each customer first.
Consumers are becoming more informed by the day, so a shoddy or unpolished checkout page will turn away even the least cautious of online customers.
In fact, as many as 17% of customers abandon carts happen because the checkout process doesn’t build enough trust with them.
B) Every Converting Customer Has to Use Your Checkout
There’s no other page on your website that every converting customer has to use besides the checkout page.
If someone purchases, they’ll have to go through your checkout.
Which means that with a 100% open rate for converting customers, your checkout page is both the best billboard and a critical touchpoint for each of your customers.
Simply put, a non-optimized checkout page is a great way to lose out on free money.
7 Low-Effort Tactics to Build a High-Converting Checkout Process
With all of that being said, here’s exactly how you can optimize your checkout page to avoid losing out.
1: Remove as Many Roadblocks as Possible
The best checkout process is one that makes it easy for customers to make the purchase.
While we’ll get into more specific details in the coming steps, the simplest advice for creating a high-converting checkout is to remove every roadblock possible between customers and their purchases.
Think of each step along your checkout process as a “filter” of sorts.
No matter how well optimized those steps are, each one is going to result in some amount of lost customers.
The more filters along the path to the purchase, the fewer customers will make it through to convert.
2: Allow Customers to Use a Guest Checkout Option
Getting customers to sign up as members of your store is one of the best ways to earn repeat business, but you shouldn’t make it a requirement.
Not allowing customers to checkout as guests can even have the opposite effect and lose you a significant amount of sales. Urban Outfitters is a great example of this:
A simple guest checkout option makes it easy for customers who don’t want to sign up.
Guests checkouts are just one of the ways you can remove a roadblock that sits between your customers and their purchase.
Offer Member Incentives to Boost Your Sign Up Rate
While you should avoid being pushy about your member program, it doesn’t hurt to offer rewards for customers who do sign up.
You could offer a 5% discount or free shipping for first-time purchasers that sign up, for instance.
👉 Bonus Tip: One great way to handle guest checkouts is by creating an email campaign that encourages guests to sign up for full membership. Oftentimes, customers don’t sign up because they want to get through the checkout quickly, but that doesn’t mean they won’t sign up at a later date.
3: Keep the Checkout Process Short & Simple
A confused customer is the opposite of a buying customer.
And that’s true for customers who’ve lost their patience too.
To avoid frustrating customers right before the purchase, keep your checkout as quick, clean, and simple as possible.
Take a look at Bellroy’s checkout page:
Right from the start customers can see that there are only three short steps before they’re done.
It’s a great example of setting expectations and keeping things simple.
In your own store, avoid clutter and let customers know how far they are along the checkout process.
4: Enable Customers to Use Alternate Payment Methods
Not every customer will want to enter their payment details in your store, and many of them have their own preferred payment gate to go through.
The most common ones out there are PayPal, Shopify Pay, and Stripe, but they’re far from the only ones.
One excellent way to increase conversions is to reduce the barrier to entry. You can do this by offsetting initial costs into monthly payments through an app like Klarna or Afterpay.
5: Offer Fast Shipping Options
In the age where Amazon is the king of ecommerce, fast shipping options are non-negotiable for any store that wants to scale.
If you’re a traditional ecommerce retailer, make sure your order fulfillment system is quick and runs like a well-oiled machine before you scale.
The larger the hang-ups, the more problems you’ll have as your business grows.
For dropshippers, that means directly reaching out to suppliers to find the ones that can ship products out quickly and efficiently for every order.
A) Customers Expect Free Shipping
About 66% of online customers expect some sort of free shipping option when purchasing from online stores.
If you don’t currently provide a free shipping option, consider slightly raising your product prices and removing the charge for shipping, or offering priority shipping as a small upsell.
B) Avoid Using “Free+ Shipping” Pricing Tactics
Gone are the days when “Free+ Shipping” pricing tactics worked well.
(For anyone unfamiliar, free+ shipping is a pricing strategy where you offer products for “free,” but then offset the full cost plus markup to the shipping price.)
Customers don’t like price increase surprises, so if you advertise a product as free- It needs to be free. Plus, a free product with $30 shipping doesn’t speak highly to the quality of that product.
Otherwise, you’re much better off charging full price and offering free shipping instead.
6: Create an Amazon-style Thank You Page for Easy Extra Conversions
One of the best strategies for optimizing your own store is to emulate the best practices of the giants like Amazon.
After all, they’ve spent millions on testing which tactics convert best and perfected their conversion rates.
And one of the biggest conversion boosters in Amazon’s arsenal is the thank you page.
Amazon’s thank you page doesn’t just thank the customer, it includes a link to an order tracking page and more importantly, a related upsell section.
Upselling in your post-purchase page is an excellent way to increase order value for a few reasons.
First, since a customer has already made their purchase by the time they’re on the thank you page, upselling products won’t affect their decision on the initial purchase.
And second, upselling allows you to add complimentary items to increase your profit from every order, it’s the tactic that McDonald’s uses to generate 15-40% more revenue, after all.
If you’re using Shopify, you can use an app like ReConvert to easily add Amazon-style thank you pages right to your checkout process.
7: Capture Free Revenue By Deploying Abandoned Cart & Winback Campaigns
The vast majority of your potential customers will abandon their cart before making the purchase, that’s true for even the most successful of brands.
The difference between huge companies like Amazon and the ones that fail?
Successful companies don’t let abandoned carts and churned customers fall through the cracks.
Abandon cart emails and customer win-back campaigns are some of the most reliable ways to generate more conversions with minimal investment.
Without following up on lost customers, you’re effectively throwing free money down the drain.
For your own store, deploy email campaigns for customers who’ve abandoned their carts or not returned to the store in a while.
Offering discounts or deals is an excellent tactic to make coming back even more enticing.
Wrapping Up: How a Single Page can Make or Break Your eCommerce Store
Designing a high-performance checkout page comes down to one rule:
Remove all barriers in your checkout to make purchasing easy for customers.
Whether that’s down to integrating guest checkouts, offering free shipping, or even moving upsells to the post-purchase to avoid changing customer minds, it’s all about creating a simple process that avoids distractions.
If you found this guide helpful, make sure to read some of the other Shopify guides on the blog!