Offer your customers convenience by optimising your checkout

Stop customers giving up on a purchase and grow your business by improving your website’s check-out

What would you say if over two-thirds of your customers changed their mind before they reached the till? If you’re running an online retail business, that’s probably what’s happening.

According to research by the Baymard Institute, 69% of online shoppers abandon their baskets before checkout. So anything you can do to convert more customers into buyers will make a huge difference to sales.

Fortunately, there are plenty of quick and easy improvements you can make to your website to help. After all, as you create exciting new products and services, it’s easy to lose sight of how people will actually buy online. But keeping an eye on this can make a huge difference. And since you can track shopper behaviour online, it’s simple to find out what works and what doesn’t.


of online shoppers abandon their baskets before checkout*

1. Optimise the check-out process

Above all, it’s vital you make it as easy as possible for customers to check-out. That means leading them through the process in the most logical way possible, using simple forms, clear instructions and appealing layouts. The more work you can do on the customer’s behalf, the better.

2. Make it easy for your existing customers to login

Research found 26% of customers abandon their cart because the check-out process is too long*. So, if you need your existing customers to log-in, make the process as painless as possible. And that includes providing quick links for anyone who’s forgotten their password. 

3. Don’t force new customers to sign up

Making people register before buying can put off customers. In fact, shows 34% of shoppers give up rather than create an account with an online retailer*. So always give customers a choice between buying as a guest or setting up an account.

4. Keep forms simple

Don’t ask for more information than you need. A service like Royal Mail’s AddressNow will complete much of the customer’s information automatically. This saves time and reduces the potential for address errors. And where a customer does make a mistake or leave a required box blank, use visual cues to help them sort the problem quickly.

5. Streamline delivery options

You need to get your customers' delivery instructions, but there are ways to keep the sale on track. Give people several shipping options - some companies decide to offer the cheapest as the default option, but think about what your companies might want for their delivery, as tracking might be more important. If you offer a pick-up option like Local Collect, use the customer’s postcode to show their nearest collection point. Or for even more flexibility, options like delivery to a Safeplace will make it easier to receive their delivery in a convenient way that suits them. And don’t ask people to complete the same information twice. They can tick a box, for example, if their shipping and billing addresses are identical.


of shoppers give up rather than create an account with an online retailer*

6. Remind them what they’re buying and what it costs

Even if your customer gets to the final check-out page, you still need to work to secure that sale. Studies suggest showing pictures of the items customers are buying keeps people interested. Also, make sure you display a final price as early in the process as possible - unexpected costs turn people off. Give people an opportunity to change their mind so they don’t feel their arms are being twisted. And if they do abandon their purchases, get back in touch later – possibly even with a discount.

7. Make payment as easy and secure as possible

This is particularly important: make sure people have all the payment options they need, but also that the process is quick. You need to make sure people feel absolutely secure, but without putting unnecessary obstacles in their way. Are there visual cues like security certificates or padlock graphics that work with your customers, for example? 

8. Track the fruits of your labour

Your online platform is constantly generating data. This offers crucial insights into how your customers are behaving when they’re on your site. Harnessing this data is crucial if you want to keep improving your conversion rates. Every time you make any change to your site’s processes, look at the impact on sales. Keep tweaking and monitoring to get the best possible results.

9. Get feedback

It’s important to keep looking outwards. Seek feedback from customers – both those who make purchases and those who give up. This will give a picture of what it’s really like to use your website.

10. Keep an eye on your competitors

You should also watch other websites to see what they’re doing. Is there something they have that you don’t? Could it work for you? You might pick up some good tips on how – or how not – to help your customers through the checkout process.

In practice, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to optimising the check-out process. But if you’re prepared to keep experimenting, and to learn from the results, your sales will get a big boost. It’s time to stop losing customers who want to buy from you but don’t quite make it.

*Baymard Institute