Ecommerce checkout best practices


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  1. Introduktion
  2. Creating a frictionless checkout experience
  3. Tips for checkout optimization
    1. Follow website UX and UI best practices
    2. Accept a wide range of payment methods
    3. Allow guest checkout
    4. Prioritize mobile checkout
    5. Offer one-click checkout

Most consumer businesses derive some portion of their revenue from ecommerce. With 80% of consumers making at least one online purchase per month, there are fewer consumer brands that exist solely in the brick-and-mortar realm. Ecommerce overall is a global market that was valued at around $13 trillion in 2021 and is projected to exceed $55 trillion by 2027. With so much opportunity on the line, individual businesses must find their own way to make the most of their ecommerce efforts and optimize sales.

One major problem facing ecommerce companies is customer “bounce,” the failure to convert a cart of merchandise into a sale. In the first half of 2022, the average rate of cart abandonment was 70%. It’s not difficult to decipher the major reasons why customers abandon their carts: They may have been asked to create an account before proceeding with the purchase, or they struggled with an overly complicated checkout, or they encountered surprise fees that only became visible far into the checkout process. By implementing ecommerce checkout best practices, retailers can streamline checkout processes to increase cart conversions and improve the customer experience. By reframing your thinking about payments as a strategic tool for optimization—rather than solely a means to an end—you can grow your business and improve the bottom line.

What’s in this article?

  • Creating a frictionless checkout experience:
    • Offer one-click checkout
    • Provide progress indicators in checkout flow
    • Show taxes and fees as early as possible
    • Allow smart form filling
  • Tips for checkout optimization:
    • Follow website UX and UI best practices
    • Accept a wide range of payment methods
    • Allow guest checkout
    • Prioritize mobile checkout
    • Offer one-click checkout

Creating a frictionless checkout experience

The checkout experience may be the most important part of the conversion funnel for ecommerce businesses. While a certain number of carts will be abandoned despite your best efforts, improving cart conversion is a key objective—and there is a lot you can do to move the needle. So what does that look like?

Creating a conversion-friendly checkout experience means removing any sources of friction. If your checkout involves too many steps without a clear indication of where a customer is located in the process, that can negatively impact their experience with your business. A customer wants to make a secure purchase and move on with their day; any obstacle within that process could lead to an abandoned cart. Here are a few tips that can help make checkout as easy as possible for your customers:

  • Offer one-click checkout
    One-click checkout is exactly what it sounds like: a way for customers to complete a transaction quickly and easily using a checkout module that displays all the key information about the purchase—payment, shipping details, contact information—on one screen. Stripe Link is a checkout solution that autofills customers’ payment and shipping details at checkout.

  • Provide progress indicators in checkout flow
    If you opt for a multi-page checkout, adding a progress indicator somewhere on the page—such as an action flow that shows the next page will display shipping options and the page after that will confirm the purchase—can help make it clear to the customer where they are in the process. With accurate information, customers can predict how much longer they’ll need to spend on the checkout process.

  • Show taxes and fees as early as possible
    Display any “hidden” costs, such as taxes, service fees, and shipping fees, as early as possible in the checkout process (or in the cart itself). This will help prevent customers from dropping off after spotting an unexpectedly high total later in the process. Overwhelmingly, customers care about transparency from the businesses they frequent. No one likes to be surprised by unexpected fees. Offering early visibility into the total cost of a transaction will not only lower your abandoned cart rate, but it will also prove an investment in the trust—and lifetime value—of your customers.

  • Allow smart form filling
    Offering your customers the choice to use smart form filling, such as Google Autofill, is another way to minimize checkout friction. This option enables customers to identify and quickly correct any errors they spot in the form. Similarly, allowing customers to check a box that will autofill their billing address (if it matches the shipping address) eliminates another potential obstacle.

Tips for checkout optimization

In addition to creating a smooth checkout experience for your customers, you want to optimize the checkout process on other fronts. This includes implementing UX best practices, considering your available payment methods, allowing for guest checkout, factoring in both mobile and one-click checkout, and accommodating local payment methods.

Here’s what you need to know about cultivating a checkout strategy that’s designed to deliver the best results for your business.

Follow website UX and UI best practices

According to one study, 88% of customers are less likely to return to a site after they’ve had a bad experience there. Slow website load times alone cost businesses $2 billion in lost sales every year. A few things to think about in the effort to keep your website working for you, not against you:

  • Keep site interfaces simple and designs clean. When it comes to ecommerce web design, more is not better.
  • Your website’s navigation should support a truly intuitive user experience. What menu options make sense based on who is visiting your site? What are they looking for? What use cases bring them to your digital door? Your site’s navigation should reflect this understanding.

A streamlined checkout page benefits both merchants and customers. As your customers go through the checkout process, avoid losing them by eliminating distractions, such as the website header and footer, or suggestions for additional items to buy. Keep customers on track to conversion. This means making strategic trade-offs between upselling and cross-selling and keeping customers on a focused path to completing a purchase with the items they’ve already chosen.

It’s worth noting that if your checkout page no longer bears the same brand identifiers customers have become familiar with from other areas of your website, you risk raising concerns about security and losing their trust. To support a streamlined experience, Stripe Checkout offers a prebuilt, hosted payment page that allows customers to complete purchases quickly and securely. You can also customize your website’s payments experience to perfectly match your brand—down to the font and colors—with Stripe Elements, our UI toolkit.

Accept a wide range of payment methods

Identifying which payment methods your business should support is a critical way to improve cart conversions. In fact, according to one study, up to 9% of shoppers abandoned their carts when their preferred payment method was unavailable. If you want to compete in the global ecommerce market, identifying which local payment methods to accept is key for growth. The Stripe suite of ecommerce solutions comes with built-in global payment support to create localized payment experiences without paperwork, helping you surface potential new customers.

For instance, North America and the UK have traditionally enjoyed high card penetration, but in recent years both have seen a major rise in the use of buy now, pay later (BNPL) options from companies like Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay. BNPL gives consumers the option to pay over time, after the provider fronts the cost of the purchase to the merchant. A recent study found that nearly 60% of Americans have made a purchase with BNPL services, a 50% increase from the previous year. Businesses that use Stripe and offer BNPL methods have seen a 27% increase in sales.

Allow guest checkout

Allowing customers to check out without creating an account with your company is an excellent way to reduce barriers and boost conversions. There are a number of reasons to allow for guest checkout: Customers might be one-time buyers who know they won’t return for another purchase, they might assume that handing over their email means subscribing to marketing emails or other communications, or they might prefer to avoid the process of setting up a new username and password.

Offering guest checkout can eliminate these problems. By using language such as “returning customer” and “guest checkout” on your site, you avoid making the customer feel pressured to register while leaving the door open for them to register in the future. This language also signals that customers trust your brand and like your products enough to come back.

Prioritize mobile checkout

Some statistics put the market share of mobile commerce as high as 73%.

But mobile shoppers are fickle: They’re more likely to abandon their carts over issues like load times, mobile checkout usability, and checkout pages that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. This means prioritizing a responsive checkout design that shows only the necessary information and assures customers that their transaction is secure by implementing measures like an Extended Validation SSL Certificate or simply avoiding external checkout links.

Stripe Payments offers a responsive checkout that’s optimized across mobile, desktop, and tablet; includes built-in fraud protection; and supports Apple Pay and Google Pay, allowing your customers to check out three times faster.

Offer one-click checkout

Even after you’ve optimized your online checkout, there can be many fields for customers to fill in on their way to making a purchase: name, address, credit card information, etc. One-click checkout treats every customer like a returning customer. With one-click checkout tools like Stripe Link, customers only need to enter their information once. Link saves that payment information for the next transaction, which it will autofill for any ecommerce merchant that uses Stripe. This allows customers to complete a purchase by clicking just one button—the definition of a frictionless transaction.

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