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In: Ecommerce, Email

9 and ½ Ways to Improve the Ecommerce Checkout Experience

by Lyndsay Peters - Apr 14, 2016
vintage old metal the cash register close-up

If you’re running an ecommerce store, you’ll be very familiar with the number of decisions that you have to make in order to optimize your descriptions, photography, and site design. How often do you test and change your shopping cart experience?
Your shopping cart is a critical part of your site, where you need to build trust and remove roadblocks all in one place. If you don’t hit the right balance, you’ll see customers abandon carts, and spend their money elsewhere.
There are many ways you can improve the checkout experience for your customers.

9 ½ Ecommerce Checkout Improvements


Social Sign-In

A smooth social sign-in experience lets you skirt many customer resistance points. By allowing your customers to sign in with their Facebook, Twitter, or Google ID, they can save time and know their data is protected by the security available to these large platforms.
This is also likely to help you avoid incomplete, or incorrect customer data. By grabbing data from a social integration, you reduce the time your customer must spend in check-out while improving the accuracy of your marketing database.

Payment Integrations

If you can provide a payment method that, similar to social sign in, your customer already trusts and has their information saved in, you’re providing an easier checkout experience. PayPal, Google Wallet, and Amazon Payments are all payment gateways that allow this functionality, and are places that many of your customers will have accounts.

Shipping Estimator

Don’t leave your customers in the dark with shipping options and costs. Shipping estimation in the checkout page that doesn’t require any action from your customer means they’ll know exactly what they’ll pay. Don’t make customers visit a shipping policy page or open a tool in a new window, if possible.
The clearest way to display this is in an order summary, with radio buttons offering different shipping options at different costs, as seen on Amazon:

ecommerce shipping options


Free Shipping Countdown & Offer

If you offer a free shipping threshold, build in a cost countdown for free shipping. “Spend $7.99 for free US Shipping!” is great – “Check our sale section for some last-minute gifts under $10” sweetens the deal. Make it easy for customers to add items to their cart, and you’ll build a mutually beneficial tool.

One-Page Checkout

Every new page of your checkout runs the risk of exhausting, boring or confusing your customers. Many people just plain hate entering their billing details, especially if they’ve already added a payment or social integration.
A smooth, one-page checkout process makes the process of purchasing faster and easier for a customer, so they can review all of their purchasing information at a glance and quickly confirm payment.

Related Products

Below your checkout button is a good place to put a section with “Customers who bought items in your cart also purchased…” to encourage completing sets, and accessory purchases. Show 3 or 4 products that customers might find interesting, and make it easy for them to ad it to their cart from the checkout page.

Abandoned Cart Reminders

You’ve collected an email address and cart information about a customer, but they didn’t finalize their purchase. This is an abandoned cart, but all is not lost. Services like Remarkety let you send an abandoned cart reminder email to your customer after a set amount of time.
I generally recommend sending an abandoned cart email the same day, a few hours after abandonment. If you suspect your customer may be confirming the purchase with a friend, spouse, or boss, however, you may want to send the reminder the day after.
An abandoned cart email is an opportunity to nudge a customer back to their cart, and offer a glimpse at related products.

Shipping Confirmation Marketing Opportunities

Shipping confirmation emails have a high open rate, because they’re providing information the customer has a vested interest in – why let that go to waste? Offer a coupon code, a selection of new and interesting products in your store, or related products below your shipping confirmation message.

Item Restock Notifications

When something’s out of stock, customers usually leave your site and head back to a search engine. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be the case! When an item is out of stock, offer your customer the opportunity to put their name on an email list that will automatically notify them when an item has been restocked.

Remarketing: Yes or No?

This is the ½ item. Remarketing ads have a lot of potential, but they can also put customers off by seeming pushy and intrusive. Remarketing ads track a customer who has been to your site to other places, and shows them ads for your ecommerce products. This can get as granular as showing the customer a product they looked at or added to their cart.
Remarketing can really go two ways, and you have to be careful with it. The first is that it reminds the customer of your product, and offers them chances to return to your site and make a purchase.
The other view, however, is frustrated and freaked out by your store ‘following’ them around the internet. They may have purchased something from your store as a gift and your ads run the risk of ruining a surprise, or your purchase may be potentially embarrassing on a shared computer.
Remarketing ads require a vigilant balance of options and execution. Tread carefully!
This sounds like a lot of work, right? If you try to tackle it all at once, it definitely will be. Consider making these changes gradually. One improvement a month, and in less than a year, you’ll have a shopping and checkout experience that is much easier on your customers and, hopefully, is improving your ecommerce sales and revenue.

If you need help with an ecommerce shop, the team at ATAK is fluent in ecommerce, especially Magento and WooCommerce development. Give us an email for a quote.

Lyndsay Peters

Lyndsay Peters is Director of Search Marketing at ATAK Interactive. She's also the one who brings a dog to work to keep everything around the office just a little more human.

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