Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha Bhargava

A Guide To Optimizing Your Checkout Flows To Watch Your eCommerce Conversion Rate Soar

A Guide to Optimizing Your Checkout Flows to Watch Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate Soar

You’ve set up a flashy eCommerce site (& mobile app) that features a stunning catalog of endless products and spent heavily on marketing it right to drive relevant shoppers to your online store. However, your conversion rate does not look that promising. If that sounds relatable to you, you’re not alone. Checkout flow completion is a challenge for most!

If there’s one colossal challenge that every eCommerce store inevitably has to deal with, it is that of cart abandonment. In fact, the average online shopping cart abandonment rate as per Baymard institute stands at a whopping 69.57%. Shocking, right?

Being the leading cause of low conversion rates among online stores, cart abandonment demands to be dealt with strategically. Therefore, blindly implementing every tip and tactic you find on the internet is not going to move the needle in this case. What you need to do is understand why shoppers are abandoning their carts, methodically optimize your checkout funnel so as to minimize reasons for abandonment and offer frictionless shopping experiences.

In this post, we shall deep dive into some statistically proven approaches to perfecting your checkout flows, to drastically improve your eCommerce conversion rates. But first, let’s take a step back to understand cart abandonment in detail.

The Problem Of Cart Abandonment And Why It Should Worry You

Cart abandonment is simply a term used to describe a scenario wherein visitors add items to their online shopping cart but leave before completing the checkout process, thereby negatively impacting your conversion rate. Not only does cart abandonment cost you the lost sale, but also steadily depreciates your ROAS (Revenue on Advertising Spend) as the thousands of dollars spent on ads to drive footfall to your store are rendered futile if shoppers do not convert.

There are a plethora of reasons why shoppers usually abandon their carts. They could have lost interest in the product, found a better deal elsewhere, got distracted by another product, found the checkout process to be too cumbersome, or found the shipping charges to be shockingly high.

While some of these factors you cannot control (for instance shoppers losing interest in the product), there are others that are simply a function of the quality of your checkout flow.

So, What Is A Checkout Flow?

Put simply, checkout flow represents the steps or process shoppers have to navigate through on your online store to complete a purchase. Your checkout flow could have a single step or multiple of them. These are supercritical as delightful and convenient checkout flows can increase your checkout rate while that causing friction in user experiences tend to drive users away.

Here’s an example of Amazon’s checkout flow:

amazon checkout flow

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How Can You Analyze Your Checkout Funnel?

You can track and measure your checkout and cart abandonment metrics in Google Analytics by configuring the same in GA’s admin interface. You will need to assign universally understandable labels to your checkout steps. For instance, these could be: Contact Information, Shipping Information, Payment Method, and Thank You Page for any checkout flow. Setting this up is fairly straightforward.

From your Google Analytics dashboard, go to Admin> Ecommerce Settings> Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting. You can now create your funnel steps using customizable labels.

ecommerce checkout funnel on google analytics

Once you start tracking the critical metrics for each step of your online store’s checkout funnel, here’s how you can analyze it in GA’s Checkout Behavior report:

google checkout funnel 2

You can find out the number of visitors entering each stage of your checkout flow as well as those dropping off so you can accordingly direct your optimization efforts.

That said, it sometimes gets a tad overwhelming and time-consuming to constantly keep a tab of your enhanced eCommerce analytics report, especially if you use multiple tools to track your site data as tallying another report can be quite tedious.

This often leads to the random implementation of checkout optimization strategies from the endless repository available at your disposal. That brings us to the next important question.

How Do You Make Your Checkout Funnel Report Actionable?

You can do so by using a Shopify analytics app such as RevTap that creates an analytics dashboard for your store by consolidating data from all your marketing automation and analytics tools (including GA).

All you need to do is connect your Shopify store and marketing and analytics tools to RevTap in a single click and voila! All your data gets unified and easily accessible to you over a single dashboard so you can churn out actionable insights on your customers’ behaviour throughout your checkout funnel and work towards optimizing it to drive more conversions.

Here’s what your online store’s conversion funnel would like once integrated with RevTap:

revtap ecommerce conversion checkout funnel

The above chart gives you a comprehensive picture of how shoppers move through your site’s conversion funnel. Right from the number of visits your store receives to product views, add to carts, checkouts, and finally orders, it gives you the exact figures along with the percentage of dropouts at each stage.

Taking the above conversion funnel as an example, if 644 shoppers added products to their cart over the selected time period, only 249 of them initiated checkout, and finally, 95 of those placed their orders successfully.

And that’s not all. RevTap enables you to deep dive into what made shoppers move from one stage of the conversion funnel to another. Here are some of those factors that RevTap allows you to tap into:

1. Top coupons used: This is useful to give you an understanding of which coupons actually nudge shoppers to make their purchases and which ones don’t really have an impact so you can zero in on ones you need to go ahead with.

Here’s how your RevTap dashboard would track and display AOV and revenue associated with each coupon you use on your store.

top coupons checkout funnel

2. Top Shipping Methods Used: This report tells you which shipping methods are most preferred by your shoppers by tracking the total and average order value and order count associated with each of them. Once you know which ones top that list, you can always double down on promoting them and drive more buyers who favour these.

shipping methods revtap checkout flow

3. Top Payment Methods Used: It’s become almost customary for you to offer a plethora of payment options to suit each and every buyer who browses through your catalog. However, wouldn’t it be great if you could pinpoint which ones are actually most preferred by your customers? This RevTap report allows you to analyze exactly that. Again, by figuring out which payment options are most-favoured, you can always market them better and even offer deals or discounts upon using them to improve your AOV.

payment methods checkout funnel ecommerce

Once you have integrated your Shopify store and Google Analytics with RevTap, you can easily slice and dice your checkout funnel data to drill down even granular insights on your shoppers’ preferences, dislikes, friction areas in your site experience. Post that, you can strategically implement conversion funnel optimization strategies depending on the improvement areas you have narrowed down. Here are some to get started!

Finally, Here’s How You Can Optimize Your Checkout Funnel For Higher Conversions

1. Identify Your High Drop-off Pages (From The Reports Above)

Have you ever tried using a leaky bucket? The entire ordeal can be unpleasant, to say the least. Now consider your checkout flow and the drop-offs that happen as the leaks in your bucket. No matter what you do, you’re always going to leave money on the table, unless of course, you fix the bucket. Hence, the very first, obvious step in your efforts to optimize your checkout flow is to identify pages with the highest drop-off and go after fixing the low hanging fruits on these pages.

2. Avoid Any Surprise Costs On Your Cart Or Checkout Page

One thing no shopper likes is to be misled into paying more than what they thought they would. Which is why you need to be upfront about any potential added costs which might be applicable on an order – be it shipping, additional taxes, gift-wrapping, safety (yeah, thanks to COVID – 19), or anything else, right on your product page itself to reduce your cart abandonment rate due to unpleasant shocks.

Here’s an example of how Indian fashion retailer Myntra makes sure to highlight it on the product page itself:

checkout flow ecommerce conversion rate - transparent cots

3. Leverage Exit Intent To Display Pop-ups

One of the most effective ways that eCommerce stores can optimize to reduce drop-off from key pages in their checkout flow is to use exit-intent pop-ups. This piece of technology identifies when visitors are about to bounce off your website, and displays a modal with targeted messaging at the right time (which is just a nanosecond before they’re about to leave).

By offering coupons to your abandoners at this step, you’re making it easy for them to reconsider their decision and make a purchase instead. Surely, not the most ideal for you to offer discounts to low intent shoppers, but at any given point, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, right?

exit intent - reduce cart abandonment rate

4. Offer Multiple Options For Payment

More than 8% of shoppers abandon a purchase because they can’t find a payment method they desire to use, which shouldn’t be all that surprising. But something which you can not afford to let happen on your online store. That’s like, a customer is offering you money, and you’re getting picky about how you wanna receive it. Not done.

Offering multiple payment options – including cards, wallets, vouchers, and more – ensures your shopper doesn’t leave for a reason you could have avoided for sure. Moreover, you must also give your shoppers an option to save their payment details for faster checkout on their next visit.

5. Use Psychological Tactics Of Urgency And FOMO

Two psychological tactics that are guaranteed to get you results are urgency and the fear of missing out (colloquially abbreviated to FOMO). Consumers are not okay to stand the thought of missing out on a great deal, and if there’s the added anxiety of them running out of time to grab it, there’s an even higher impulse to get it as soon as possible.

We mentioned offering coupons to your abandoners in an earlier step, but you can make them even more effective by limiting the time your shoppers get to act on it. Another good way to create fear of missing out is to show stock levels on your cart page. Make sure you use colors like red to highlight the same, for they are the best to inspire a feeling of urgency.

6. Remove Any Clutter Or Distractions

This might seem like a lesson out of UX 101, but is often overlooked even by major eCommerce stores. In the process of wanting to make their website more informative or useful to the shopper, designers end up stuffing it with clutter and unwanted distractions which don’t really add value to the shopping experience.

Make sure your entire eCommerce store, and not just the checkout flow, is clean, concise and clear in your offering, brand values, and promise. For anything you might wanna answer in detail, there’s always an option to add an FAQs section to your website.

7. Reinforce Security And Trust Seals

Naturally, shoppers are concerned about the security of their personal and payment details. So, the onus is on you to address their concerns related to the same and have them shop from you worry-free. Around 19% of shoppers drop off because of this issue, however, here are some things you can do to mitigate the same:

  • Use SSL seals to show that your online store’s website is secure (the Norton seal is the most trusted one)
  • Include trust seals to show your brand is trustworthy
  • Use symbols that inspire confidence and security in your shoppers’ experience
  • Highlight your return, exchange, or any other policies they should know of

8. Make Payment The Last Step In Your Checkout Flow

Would you feel comfortable handing over your credit card or any other payment information to a stranger? No, right? So if you would like your shoppers to have trust in your brand, make sure you don’t ask for any payment information unless it’s the last step in their purchase journey.

Ease into it by getting less sensitive information like their name, email, address etc. first, and move onto shipping info, phone number, and so before you go ahead and ask for card details.

9. Use Live Chat On Your Store So Shoppers Can Instantly Reach Out To You

Live chat has become one of the most efficient ways to provide support to customers. And when done right, it instils a high level of trust into your shoppers, helping you improve sales considerably.

If your shoppers know they can reach out to your queries right when they’re about to make a purchase, they will rest assured each and every time. Hence, adding live chat to your website, and especially on all the pages of your checkout flow helps you optimize it for better conversions.

live chat to optimize checkout flow

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10. Experiment With A Single Page Checkout

From our previous point, optimizing your checkout flow is a function of how quick and seamless you make the entire process to be. If your shopper is having to spend more time than they’d like to, they’re sure to bounce off to your competitor. To avoid the same, it becomes imperative for you to provide a checkout without hassles.

For the same, you could experiment with having just a single page for your entire checkout flow. Why? It would make your checkout flow consisting of only one step, and influence more of your shoppers to fill it in its entirety.

In one A/B test run by Elasticpath, they found that a single page checkout performed 21.8% better than a multi-page checkout. So, the proof is in the numbers. However, if you’re unsure, it would be a good idea to run an A/B test of your own.

11. Add An Option To Checkout As A Guest

According to the Baymard Institute, 37% of shoppers abandon carts because they have to create an account to complete their purchase. Isn’t that a huge chunk of business to lose?

The solution to this is, however, pretty straightforward: adding a guest checkout option to your online store, so shoppers can complete a purchase without having to create an account.

Of course, it’s better for your brand to have them sign up so that you can market to them as your customers and entice them for repeat purchases. So, you can think of ways you can incentivize them to do the same. You can also track your guest checkout conversion rate to figure out the percentage of shoppers opting for this and accordingly think of promotions to get them to sign up.

optimize ecommerce checkout

12. Reduce Form Fields To Increase Submissions

Another way to easily optimize your checkout page is to reduce the number of form fields, so shoppers don’t have to spend more time than they’d like to. One of the drawbacks of online shopping, or where it lacks as compared to brick and mortar is the ability to checkout in a jiffy. Hence, it becomes a good idea to drop off any unnecessary fields from your checkout flow to reduce frustration among shoppers and allow them to make their purchase swiftly.

13. Make Your Buttons More Prominent

There’s a reason call to action (CTA) is called so. It should act as a call to your shoppers to take action and proceed to the next step. However, if your site UX isn’t optimized, they might have a hard time trying to go ahead, especially at the checkout stage.

To overcome this issue, consider having big, prominent buttons for all primary actions in your checkout flow (Buy Now, Next, Pay Now etc.) so shoppers can access it with ease.

14. Offer Save For Later And Wishlisting Options

Sometimes shoppers are just not prepared to buy, even if they are in the middle of completing a purchase. One great way to save those lost dollars is to offer people an option to save their cart to come back and complete a purchase later, or simply move the product to their wishlist.

optimize checkout funnel

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15. Have An Omnipresent Progress Bar On Your Checkout Flow

Having a prominent progress bar in your checkout flow makes it easier for your shoppers to see what all they have left to do in order to complete their purchase. Apart from reducing frustration (since the process can seem tedious, and you know how people are always in a hurry), it also makes it easy for them to switch back and forth in case they added any details incorrectly. Here’s how J Crew does it well:

checkout optimization - progress bar

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16. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

With 35% of shoppers in the US only using their mobile phone to make a purchase, it becomes essential for your online store to be mobile-friendly. Given that investing in a mobile app might be too much for you (and also not recommended unless you have that kind of sales), having a mobile-friendly website is a great alternative to the same.

However, you’d want to optimize the checkout flow for conversions, so make sure you follow the other tips provided in this article to achieve the same. They’re especially important for mobile checkout.

17. Add Customer Reviews And Other Social Proof

Fact: social proof works. In fact, 88% of shoppers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. And not just positive ones, because if you only have positive reviews on your store, chances are people would feel they’re fake as they come across as too good to be true.

So, genuine ones, which truly share both the pros and cons, are the ones that work the best. What’s more? Highlight the overall rating of the product, as it can reassure your shopper at the cart page, and beyond.

product reviews checkout optimization

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Also read: Why It Is Important and How to Use it to Increase Shopify Sales

Conclusion – It’s important to optimize your checkout flow!

The bottom line is that your online store’s sales are only as good as the shopping experience you provide to your audience. When people browse your store, they should find the trust and value that you promise to provide to be tangible, or else they’re going over to your nearest competition.

By optimizing your checkout flow for these aspects, you can ensure that you are capturing your shoppers’ intent in the best way possible. While the tips and tactics shared here are a great place to start, be sure to play around with ideas you feel would work the best for your own store!

Here are a few other must-reads we’d like to recommend before you leave:

Ready to optimize your checkout flows? Get your report on RevTap.

Turn your Shopify store data into more revenue with RevTap. Sign up today to get started for FREE and avail pre-launch discounts.
Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha Bhargava
Vanhishikha is the Head of Content and Partnerships at RevTap. You'll usually find her hunting for strategies and tools to enable eCommerce businesses to sell more. At other times, you'll find her testing them and writing about them with a cup of coffee.

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