6 Ways to Utilize UX Design and Optimize Your Site’s Checkout Process

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

Home | Blog | 6 Ways to Utilize UX Design and Optimize Your Site’s Checkout Process

Share this article

The checkout process is one of a retail site’s single most important destinations. This is the final stage before a visitor completes their order and officially becomes a customer (or a returning customer).

For this reason, the level of checkout process UX optimization is critical for maximizing eCommerce revenue.

Unfortunately, as it stands, scores of sellers feature lengthy, clunky, unoptimized checkout processes that hinder sales. This assertion is backed up by a checkout process UX study by the Baymard Institute which details that:

“Our benchmark reveals that the average checkout flow contains 23.48 form elements and 14.88 form fields (when purchasing as a new non-account customer). Yet a fully optimized checkout flow can be as short as 7 form fields, with a total of just 12 form elements.”

While this conclusion relates specifically to form fields, it is safe to say that this is not the only checkout flow element that merchants are leaving unoptimized.

Therefore, as a means of helping merchants to increase their conversion rates, today, we will cover six checkout process UX optimization essentials for minimizing abandoned carts and boosting sales. 

Ditch Forced Registration for Checkout Process UX Optimization

An abundance of eCommerce websites requires potential buyers to register an account before they can proceed with the checkout process. The theory behind forced registration is that if a shopper has an account, they will feel more loyal to that brand and come back for additional purchases.

Not only is this idea not true, but it’s hurting your business, plain and simple. The bottom line is this; never force customers to create an account to buy from your online store.

According to research conducted by Baymard Institute, 28 percent of consumers will abandon their cart if the site makes them create an account.

To illustrate exactly how detrimental such a technique is, usability expert Jared Spool shared this story about a client’s forced registration checkout process:

“[The login] form was preventing customers from purchasing products from a major eCommerce site to the tune of $300,000,000 a year.

“We conducted usability tests with people who needed to buy products from the site. We asked them to bring their shopping lists and we gave them the money to make the purchases. All they needed to do was complete the purchase…First-time shoppers resented having to register when they encountered the [form]. As one shopper told us, ‘I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something.’”

You have already overcome the hurdles of driving a user to your site, getting them to add items to their cart, and moving them to begin the checkout process. Don’t forgo a sale in favor of collecting data.

Plainly put, most customers will prefer guest checkout. Display this option prominently and make it easy for shoppers to buy from your store.

Place this option at the top of your checkout page so it is always above the fold, even on mobile devices. This is very important because mobile shoppers are typically even more averse to account creation procedures.

In addition to offering a guest checkout option, here are some effective strategies:

  • Eliminate the word “register” from your pre-checkout screen. Use phrases like “New Customer,” “Proceed as Guest,” or something similar.
  • Once the customer has completed their purchase and reached the “Thank You” page, then you can ask if they would like to create an account. Since you already have their name and email as part of the checkout, you can offer a simple registration process. This is the perfect time to ask for a password or give the option to auto-generate one, securing permission to create the account.

Just like that, you have potentially increased your store’s revenue dramatically.

Shorten the Checkout Process for an Enhance UX Flow

No matter if you are serving a returning customer or a new visitor using guest checkout, you want the purchase process to be as frictionless as possible.

Leadership expert Michael Hyatt defines friction as any force that makes the buying process more challenging for customers. As he explains:

“Customers will always follow the path of least resistance…If you want to generate more sales, you have to identify the friction points in your selling system and eliminate them.”

This seems like an obvious notion; however, an ocean of four-page checkouts are still implemented by hoards of online merchants.

The simple fact is that the shorter your checkout process is, the more likely a visitor is to place an order. Fewer clicks equal more revenue. This is massively important as mobile eCommerce transactions continue to grow year-over-year.  

To effectively streamline your store’s checkout, go through the process to identify any unnecessary steps or information to obtain the fewest number of required actions for making a purchase.

A prime method of achieving this is through the deployment of Magento 2. This platform enables store owners to provide customers with ultra-fast checkouts, while still supporting the relationship-building process and enabling new users to be tracked for valuable data.

Magento 2 touts email recognition and post-purchase account creation features to capture customer data without hindering the checkout process.

Moreover, Magento 2 creates the conditions for eCommerce retailers to employ a greatly simplified checkout process. This is enabled by establishing guest checkout as the default option. Again, the option for guest checkouts is incredibly effective.

Through the functionality provided by Magento 2, Visiture was able to help Spanx redesign its website, reducing the checkout process from a deterring five steps down to just one, effectively increasing the company’s average order value by 28 percent.

Reduce the friction in your buying process by compressing the number of form fields that customers need to fill out and removing any fields that are unnecessary or redundant. The only information you should request is what is needed for successful payment and shipment.

However, you can take things a step further. After minimizing your forms, make filling them out even easier with autofill APIs. This technology speeds up the process by automatically filling in fields, using small bits of information provided by the customer.

For instance, having your shipping form ask for the customer’s zip code first will enable autofill to populate the city, state, and country based on that info.

You can integrate this type of feature by using apps like Fillr and cut down on the amount of friction in your checkout process.

Add a Persistent Cart Feature to Optimize the Checkout Process UX

The fact of the matter is that most shoppers will not buy on their first visit to a website. This is the reality of the eCommerce industry.

However, there is a fair chance that they will add something to their cart while browsing. Based on their previous shopping experiences, visitors might assume that a store has a persistent shopping cart. If the site does not feature this checkout process UX feature, most will likely be too frustrated to relocate the items on a subsequent return and forego the purchase altogether.

For those that are unaware, a persistent shopping cart is a checkout process UX feature that saves a visitor’s cart contents across sessions. For instance, if a consumer adds an item to their cart on Monday, but comes back on Sunday to buy the product, it will still be in the cart.

Knowing this, retailers can enhance the checkout flow’s UX in one of two ways:

  • By implementing a persistent cart
  • Through a “save for later” feature

The “save for later” feature (which is utilized by the likes of Amazon and other major retailers), serves a similar function as it enables shoppers to save items that they are interested in purchasing to a list that is typically located below the shopping cart.

Either of these options will greatly enhance a merchant’s checkout process UX optimization and serve to substantially increase conversions.

Prominently Display Security Badges to Improve the Checkout Process UX

Trust is a major issue in the online world. After an endless string of corporate security breaches and cyberattacks, a barrage of fake news and the perpetual existence of some relatively shady online activity, users need assurance that their financial information is in good hands.

During a 2017 holiday survey, management consulting firm Accenture found that consumers were increasingly concerned about online shopping safety. As the company’s Senior Managing Director of Global Retail Jill Standish stated:

“Consumers are clearly aware of cyber threats…In this year’s holiday shopping survey, 62% of shoppers said they are concerned about the security of their personal information when making online purchases.”

One of the most effective ways of mitigating consumer fears is by displaying trust badges and security icons. Including well-known symbols – such as those provided by the Better Business Bureau, Norton Security, and Verisign – help supply shoppers with a sense of ease and comfort in their decision to buy, effectively helping to optimize your checkout process.

Even the largest of eCommerce organizations could benefit from including these visual cues in their shopping cart pages. In addition to the aforementioned icons, it is also wise to display:

  • SSL security logos
  • A written statement reading, “Secure credit card payment. We use a secure 128-bit SSL encrypted payment.”

Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to remind customers of your company’s satisfaction guarantee, free shipping or returns or any other valuable services you might offer.

Eliminate Checkout Process Clutter

When it comes to eCommerce UX trends, a long-standing one is streamlining websites and utilizing the white space on a page.

This same concept should be leveraged when designing a retail site’s checkout flow.

The fact is that many eCommerce websites tend to incorporate relevant product suggestions in the shopping cart. While many view this as a good tactic for upselling and cross-selling products, in practice, it can actually damage the checkout process UX and cause sellers to lose customers.

The reason for this is that the more distractions that are present at the time of checkout, the more likely it is that shoppers will wander off and fail to complete their purchase.

Therefore, when employing product suggestions, it is best to confine these to places like:

  • Product pages
  • Order confirmation pages
  • Email campaigns

When it comes to checkout process UX optimization, retailers will want to keep shopping carts and the pages that follow streamlined and distraction-free, thereby effectively guiding buyers to the final “Place Order” button without allowing something to interfere before the order is finalized.

Provide Various Payment Options for the Optimal User Experience at Checkout

No matter if you operate online as a miniature merchant or a behemoth eCommerce business, no seller can afford to neglect the global economy that has emerged from digital connectivity.

As purchasing goods from around the globe can be completed in just a few clicks, increasing numbers of consumers are buying specialty products that can’t be bought in their home countries, and eCommerce is busily permeating the globe at increasing numbers.

A recent eCommerce research report from PPRO shows that the top eCommerce growth markets by percentage are Indonesia (78 percent), Mexico (59 percent), and the Philippines (59 percent), while Europe continually grows by roughly 16 percent, year-over-year.

However, not all countries are utilizing the same payment methods as American consumers. In the Philippines, a mere 5 percent of transactions are card-based. Even within the U.S., divergent forms of payment are becoming increasingly popular – particularly with younger demographics – as many millennial and Gen Z consumers are opting to not possess credit cards at all.

Because of this, digital retailers need to embrace a variety of payment forms to open their user experience to suit a broader audience. If your aim is to reduce friction, there are few higher barrier points than an inability to pay for desired items.

Remove this barrier by accepting an array of payment options beyond debit/credit cards such as PayPal and Stripe, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and other popular online payment methods around the world.

Also, be sure to give account holders the option to save their card information. After all, generating sales from returning customers offers a lifetime value for eCommerce companies.

Final Thoughts

Checkout process UX optimization is a vital component to the overall health of an online retail store. Given the many hurdles that exist between getting a consumer’s attention and successfully getting them to add a product to the cart, the checkout process does not need to be yet another hindrance.

By implementing the checkout process UX design tips outlined above, merchants can successfully eliminate friction points that turn off potential buyers and increase their conversion rates substantially.

However, if your brand is interested in going beyond the checkout process UX and ensuring that its entire site is designed to maximize conversions, then reach out to Visiture’s conversion rate optimization experts.

Our award-winning team of seasoned eCommerce pros can help your brand achieve a level of optimization that engenders conversion rates that enable business growth.

Join 150+ Leading eCommerce Brands

And see how Visiture can grow your revenue online through award-winning transactional focused marketing services.

Stop Waiting!

Receive a Free eCommerce Marketing Audit Today!

Audit Emails

  • Submit Email

Popular Articles.

Data-Driven Marketing + Creative Commerce = Results.

Let’s Bring Our Teams Together and Connect You to Your Ideal Customer.