According to a 2012 ComScore study, the average shopping cart abandonment rate on the internet is about 67%. That’s an enormous volume of sales lost right before people buy. Why does this happen? It’s because the shopping cart is often one of the biggest weak points in a website’s conversion funnel.

Many marketers will spend weeks or even months working on a sales page; yet spend just a couple hours on their checkout page. Yet in reality, a 20% drop in abandonment rate will just as readily result in a 20% boost in revenues. And a 20% improvement in abandonment rate is much easier to achieve than a 20% boost in conversions.

So how do you improve your checkout process and reduce your abandonment rate?

Create the Account After, Not Before

Ask people to create an account after the purchase has been complete. Websites that require people to create an account before someone’s bought will lose a lot of sales due to the friction that the signup process causes. People just don’t want to go through the hassle.

Use the data from the sale to pre-fill most of the information for the account. Then just ask them to create a password, plus add any other needed information.

Accept a Range of Payment Options

If you only accept Visa, you’re going to have a lot of drop-off on your checkout page. People want to be able to pay with their preferred payment option. Yes, Visa is the most common checkout method online. But if you don’t accept MasterCard or American Express, you’re going to lose a percentage of sales.

PayPal is also important. A lot of people don’t want to have to find their wallet and pull out their credit card. They just want to type a password and pay online. Make it easy for them by letting them pay by PayPal.

For high ticket items, consider allowing payment plans. This can seriously increase your conversion rates; but expect about a 10%-15% loss on people who don’t follow through on their payments. Sometimes the conversion boost is worth it, sometimes it’s not.

Match Your Website’s Design

The checkout page should “look” like it’s a part of your website. If your website is blue and white, the checkout page should be blue and white. You should keep the same header and branding on your checkout page.

If someone’s decided to buy from you, on some level they’ve come to trust your brand. Your checkout page should remind them they’re buying from you. Many websites lose sales because their checkout pages look completely different than everything else.

Follow Up With People Who Dropped

Have a process for following up with people who didn’t complete their purchase. For example, send them an email after 24 hours asking if you can answer any questions. Include a link for them to pick up the purchase where they left off.

Put some time into your checkout page. It’s often easier to get a boost in revenue just by cutting down the shopping cart abandonment rate, than by actually increasing traffic or conversion rates.

Your Assignment

Today you’re going to spend some time improving your checkout process.

  • Go through the sales process your self (amazingly many website owners don’t do this)
  • Find ways to cut the clutter.
  • Make sure the checkout page matches your website design.
  • Add multiple payment options, including PayPal.
  • Add a way to contact those who abandon the cart before finalising their purchase.

What We’ve Covered

Day #1: Examine Your Audience and Your Core Offer
Day #2: Optimizing Your Call to Actions
Day #3: Improve Your Lead Forms and Increase Signups
Day #4: Your Headline – Your Page’s Most Important Sentence
Day #5: Keep Attention With Strong Transitions
Day #6: Web Design Tips for Better Conversions
Day #7: Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment by Improving Your Checkout

Coming Up Next

Day #8: Boost Conversions by Managing Expectation and Relevance
Day #9: Master the Art of Creating Urgency
Day #10: Use Video to Boost Trust and Conversions
Day #11: Add Social Proof to Your Sales Process
Day #12: Accessibility Makes You Real (and Improves Sales)
Day #13: Tailoring Your Guarantee and Return Policy
Day #14: Getting Started With A/B Split Testing
Day #15: More Ideas for Better Conversions