Reducing Customer Friction During Checkout

Sydney VaccaroEcommerce3 Comments


Checkout is just one step away from the finish line. You got the customer to your site, they viewed your products, liked what they saw, and now want to make a purchase. Unfortunately, this is where some merchants drop the ball, and friction is to blame. Here are a few tips and tricks to make to your ecommerce checkout as smooth as possible.

What Is Friction?

Friction is a killer for ecommerce – an estimated $1.8 trillion dollars is abandoned in shopping carts every year. Put simply, friction is anything that gets in the way of conversions. Kissmetrics breaks that definition down a little more, explaining that it can be anything from a slow-loading page to a typo in the checkout process. It can be a psychological reaction in the mind of the customer to colors or even a broken link on your “buy now” button.

Friction can slow down the conversion or stop it altogether. The goal is to make the process easy and obstacle free for your customer, so they can go from wanting your product to buying it.

Guest Checkouts are a Must

58.1% of customers won’t make it past the registration form, which includes those who are already a member and just don’t want to take the time to sign in. To help prevent this from happening, always give customers the option to check out as a guest. There is a downside to guest checkouts because you don’t get the information that comes from registering. If you do make the choice to require registration, more than half of customers will turn away from the purchase.

One way to make this transition as smooth as possible is to start every checkout as a guest, but give them a “register or login” option at the top of the page. This creates no obstacles if they just want to skip the registration and go straight to buying. Some of the information needed in the guest check out will overlap with the registration information. At the end of the checkout process you can offer to create an account. This will cut down on time it would take to register because most of the fields can be automatically filled by the information from the checkout process. Another option is to offer a social login alongside of the guest checkout, which can be connected through Facebook or another social site, can be helpful because it just takes one click to register. Social logins also help prevent fraudulent purchases, as the individual is verified via social presence.

Give Payment Options and Payment Security

Offer all the payment options you can. Customers have varying preferences of how they like to pay online. You don’t want to limit them or make them uneasy about using a method they aren’t comfortable with. Offering the standard credit and debit card options are great, but if you can add in PayPal checkout or Pay with Amazon, it is even better. PayPal and Amazon have become well known and trusted names so first time customers may feel more comfortable to checkout through them.

If your customer wants to buy your product, they probably already trust your brand. They still want to feel secure when they hand over their card information and you don’t want anything to make them question that security. Getting security badges like the Norton Secured or McAfee Secure badge is a visual representation to the customer that they can trust your brand. Being a Google Certified Shop is also a good idea because it shows the well-known and trusted organization stands behind and trusts your store, so your customers should too.

Make It as Simple as Possible

Run through the process of buying a product on your website and try to look through your customer’s eyes. Then have someone who isn’t familiar with your website go through the process. Is there anything you can simplify or make easier for your customer?

47% of people expect a site to load in two seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. This shows that customers want things fast and easy, or they will leave.

The first thing you can look for that might be causing friction is an overwhelming number of fields for your customer to fill out. You don’t want to give them the feeling of never ending paperwork. Keep the entry fields as minimal as possible. By using an address finding feature to save time on entering the whole address and to stop typed errors. Also, assume that the billing and shipping address are the same unless indicated otherwise.

Providing a phone number or live chat option at checkout will give the customers an easily accessible way to have any questions answered. They might be debating whether to make the purchase based on one question or concern, especially on high ticket products. By putting the path to answering the question clearly in sight, you’ll prompt them to reach out with their concern.

Make Prices Straightforward

58% of shopping carts are abandoned because shipping cost made the total purchase cost more than expected. Communicating the cost of the product and shipping early in the shopping process will prevent that abandonment. Customers want to know the total landing price — which is the total price of an item including delivery cost. Making your product appear cheaper may attract customers initially, but when the expensive shipping prices or other fees are tacked on, most customers will take their money elsewhere. Even worse, they will go with a bad taste in their mouth about your brand because of the perception of dishonest pricing.

Frictionless Checkouts Are Possible

Friction is a killer for ecommerce, but you can create a flawless checkout process that your customers will love. Checkout is the last step of your well thought out and executed funnel, so don’t let the last details bring the sale to a stop. Remember to look at the process through a new customer’s eyes. Is your check out easy to understand? Do your customers have a high sense of security? Are you asking as little as possible from the customer?

When you reduce friction, and create the path from want to buy as simple as possible, you’ll see the results where it matters: in your conversions.


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3 Comments on “Reducing Customer Friction During Checkout”

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