Unlike the product page, the category page, and the shopping cart page, in the case of the checkout page one cannot talk only about a specific page, but about the entire checkout process. In addition, the attention, capture, and decision-making criteria do not apply to identify the key elements for the page. Once they are in the checkout page, your customers will have successfully gone through these stages, and you must focus on conversion, completing the sale. You should bear in mind that in most cases the customer has already decided to buy. There is no need to sell: the only thing you can do is ruin everything.
The perfect checkout page
In a similar way as in the shopping cart page, where conversion also plays a significant role, one of the key points to complete the sale consists in generating sufficient trust in users, or, put otherwise, designing a page or process that prevents uncertainty or mistrust, as far as possible.
So, before listing the various elements in the checkout page, you should identify the potential reasons which might lead your new customers to fail to compete a purchase. As always, these reasons will be hugely dependent on the specific characteristics of each business. However, these are the main ones:
– Uncertainty as regards payment
– Uncertainty as regards delivery
– Unwillingness to pay the delivery charges
– The form to be completed overlong
– Technical page problems in the payment process
Taking this analysis into account, you should focus your checkout page strategy following these criteria:
One of the most frequent reasons for abandonment in the checkout process is the fact that there was no real intention to complete the purchase. When information on the transaction is not available in previous pages, users start the purchase process to obtain it. Usually, the information sought is related to delivery charges and the delivery date and method. This information should be available to users at all times, and, if it depends on the products in which they are interested, the shopping cart page is a good place to give this information.
Feeling of security
Even if you integrate standard, secure solutions in your store, you should not assume that all users will be familiar with them. It’s a good idea to highlight, next to the payment method, the fact that it is a secure process. Graphic elements can be used, such as the image of a lock, as well as a textual description. If you have a confidence banner, it should be placed in the checkout process pages.
Some users feel comfortable entering their credit card data in the payment gateway, others prefer to use a PayPal account, yet others prefer to pay on delivery… Choosing the payment methods to offer users is a delicate process, which should be carefully considered, as you must identify the payment methods preferred by users, but also the sales commissions and additional services offered, such as mediation in case of problems, or protection against fraud.
Although we already mentioned that information on the various delivery methods should be included in the processes prior to checkout, the delivery method may be chosen during checkout. As with payment methods, many users demand specific delivery methods, such as delivery outside business hours, or through collection points. As always, you should analyse your business in depth and identify your customers’ needs, in order to be able to provide the delivery methods which best suit them.
Request for information
Another key point which may determine the success of your checkout page is the number of customer data required, and the way in which you ask for them. We can talk about one-stop checkout or regular checkout, depending, respectively, on whether you request all the data in one single step or do it gradually, through several forms.
As always whenever information is requested of users, you must find a compromise between asking only for the minimum data to carry out the payment process and requesting additional information that can be valuable for you. For example, even though it is not strictly necessary to make the first sale, you can ask new users for information in order to create an account in your system. In this way, you can simplify the process in future purchases, using the data already entered, such as the delivery address. Requesting the user’s authorisation to send commercial information, such as newsletters, together with the user’s email can also be useful. A good solution to this compromise is offering both options.
Generally speaking, you should aim to reduce the number of data to be provided by users to a minimum, providing certain options, such as choice of payment method or delivery method, in the checkout page.
Dynamic forms are a good alternative to traditional forms. These forms are displayed (with no need to reload the page) on the basis of the decisions taken by users. For example, if credit card payment is chosen, all the fields to enter the card data will be automatically displayed.
However many efforts we make, it is very unlikely for conversion to reach 100%. It is very important to identify which users have abandoned the payment process, and the reasons for that abandonment, as these are users who, by having made such advance into the purchase process, have displayed a high degree of interest in your products. There are strategies, such as the recovery of abandoned purchases, which have a high conversion rate, and which can help you to recover these sales. In addition, if particularly high levels of shopping cart abandonment are detected, it’s always useful to contact your customers to find out the reasons for abandonment in order to continue to improve your store.
If any errors arise during the process, you should find the way to turn the problem into an opportunity. If you solve the problem effectively, you can achieve customer loyalty. In a secondary location in the purchase process pages, you should explain or place a link to your returns and troubleshooting policies. Given that this is a confidence element, my general advice would be to include it in all pages, in a secondary location, such as the footer. It’s import