Retail e-commerce has been on the rise over the past few years, but this year, that trend accelerated thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, U.S. e-commerce sales saw a 32.4% increase compared to 2019. While the growth rate likely won’t last, we do believe that retail e-commerce is here to stay.
While it is important to optimize the full end-to-end user experience on your website, the checkout funnel is particularly important for e-commerce sites. According to the Baymard Institute, 21% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order solely due to a long/complicated checkout process.
The good news? We’ve got some pointers for where to start when it comes to optimizing your checkout funnel. The even better news? These enhancement ideas hold true no matter what platform your site is built on — Shopify, Big Commerce, or homegrown.
1. Offer guest checkout
This simplifies the process. Guest checkout allows users to bypass the gateway of having to register for an account. Creating an area of unnecessary friction only gives users a reason not to complete a sale. Users’ names and email addresses will already be provided as they complete the purchase. Benefit Cosmetics makes it really easy for customers to use guest checkout.
2. Consider a one-page checkout
If possible, adjust your checkout experience to occur on one-page. This streamlines the experience and creates the path of least resistance for users. It makes it easier for the user and presents a clearer navigation. For example, Amazon makes it really easy to see each step of the order process.
3. Form validation
Form validation helps to ensure trust with your users and their information. There are two types of form validation — inline and after submit. Inline validation gives the user error messages and indications they have entered information incorrectly as they are filling out the form. After submit validation, a user receives error messages for all the fields they have entered incorrectly after clicking next / submit. Inline validation is a much better user experience for form validation, as it feels more conversational to the user. There are multiple things that Ulta Beauty is doing right in their checkout process, but one thing, in particular, is the way they leverage inline form validation.
4. Offer multiple ways to pay (including Afterpay)
Not all users have the same options for payment. A 2019 survey shows that 66% of online shoppers use services such as PayPal, and up to 41 percent of users employ prepaid cards or gift cards to make online purchases. There are over a million organizations using services such as Afterpay to give users the ability to buy now and pay later. This also allows the personalization of payment options for repeat customers. We love the way Biossance not only gives users other options for payment, but allows them express checkout using other options.
5. Display progress bar
If you don’t go the one-page checkout route, consider a progress bar to help orient users throughout the checkout process. This can help to lower your cart abandonment rate as it gives users an indication of just how close they are to purchasing their items. Breadcrumbs are another way to do it. Goldwin takes a subtle approach, with a text-only progress bar at the top of the page.
Not sure if these changes will resonate with your users? Test them! We are firm believers that data should be used to inform all website decisions. Make sure to test, test, and test again. Whether it’s through A/B testing, qualitative testing, or a mix of both, active user testing will allow your site to continue to evolve with the market and your target audience group.
Contact us to learn more about how to set up an A/B testing plan.
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