Many online businesses neglect to test and make mindful design decisions regarding their checkout page. Fortunately, there are some time-tested strategies to turn more carts into conversions.
As a business owner or marketer, however, some of these checkout page strategies may go against some basic rules you believe will help your shop get more sales, but an experienced designer will argue the following.
1. Don't get creative
There's security in familiarity. When handing over their credit card info, buyers want to feel confident and secure. Straying from the norm on your checkout page can backfire and cause your visitors to be reluctant to finalize their purchase. A white background with black or blue writing works, period.
2. Host your own order page
Redirecting your customers to another website for payment makes it easier for them to abandon the purchase. You want customers to check out as quickly and painlessly as possible. Also, you can collect valuable analytics from on your checkout page. Why let someone else get to know your customers better than you?
3. Design your own order page
Don't use an order page template from your payment or merchant account provider as is. These don't have the look and feel of your site and can ruin your customers' experience. Design your own page with your logo at the top and handhold the user until the purchase is complete.
4. One-step checkout is all you need
Why create more steps for someone to hand over their money? When a customer clicks the "checkout" or "buy now" button, direct them to a checkout page, period. One page is all you need to collect your buyer's info. Adding multiple steps gives customers more time to change their mind and close their browser window.
If a merchant decides that more than one page is needed, using breadcrumb navigation to understand how many steps they have left can help reduce shopper frustration.
5. Eliminate pop-ups
Some pop-ups are good and some are bad; they're great tools for lead generation, exit and retargeting campaigns. Placing them on a checkout page, however, can be detrimental to conversions. As a person is checking out, incentivizing them with a coupon for the next purchase does little to encourage them to continue their checkout at that moment.
6. Add trust symbols
Yes, they work! Even though most customers don't know what they mean, a lock, an encryption message or any type of confidence symbol embodies security in their purchase. Add a lock symbol near your button to help finalize an order. Tell your customers that your page is encrypted to the highest standard and get any certification possible to help consumers feel confident in their purchase. Then, make sure to use it on your checkout page.
7. Keep your checkout page simple
Don't experiment too much with uncommon designs for your checkout page. One column in the center of the page is best for collecting info. Don't place any ads or other needless information. Fancy distractions may draw your customer's attention away from the purchase - even product recommendations.
8. Keep it short
Do you really need to collect the full address for a digital product? Is a username and password really necessary to complete an order? Can you fill-in addresses and verify them automatically? If you're selling a digital product, consider skipping the street address and collect a zip code only. There are many tools that you can use to minimize fraud and avoid collecting unnecessary information from your customers.
9. Load the checkout total
Make sure you confirm the amount of the order and maybe even the currency that the customer is paying on the checkout page. You don't want your customers to press the back button or feel unconfident about how much they're being charged.
10. Mind the footer
The moral of the story is don't neglect your checkout page. It's the final impression your customers will have of you. It's also the moment when they decide whether or not they feel they trust you enough to give you their credit card details or continue to PayPal.
Many of these tips may go against basic marketing rules. However, customers want to feel safe and secure when transacting. Examine your own personal online buying habits. Ask your friends and family to test your competitors' checkout pages. Get feedback on their experience. Observations from this type of focus group will prove to be very valuable.
About the Author
Maria Sparagis is the founder and managing director of DirectPayNet, a company that specializes in securing merchant accounts for high-risk merchants. She is an expert in payment processing solutions for e-commerce businesses and a Bitcoin enthusiast. You can follow her company on Twitter via @DirectPayNet.