Checkout Abandonment: Building Trust

From an early age, we’re all taught to be on the lookout for people trying to take advantage of us.  Fairy tales teach kids to beware of wolves in sheeps’ clothing while movies remind adults to be careful of who they trust. It’s only natural that we look at sales propositions through the lens of suspicion, especially since the rise of e-commerce.  While the majority of those who sell their products and services online are looking to complete an honest transaction, a few predatory entities exist that aim to extract sensitive information from unwitting victims.  As such, it’s no surprise that consumers, wary of inputting their delicate details, often abandon the checkout.  In fact, according to a recent study by WebSurveyor Services, nearly 10% of cart abandonment is due to a convoluted or uncomfortable checkout process.


checkout abandonment


For you, the online retailer, this makes the design of your checkout process especially important to reducing checkout abandonment and completing sales.  If you want to put your customers’ minds at ease, then consider the following tips when designing your checkout forms to establish trust and guide users through to the end of the conversion funnel:


Product before Payment
Although it’s plainly understood that ordering products online requires some form of payment information, users may still be a bit concerned if you ask for these details too quickly.  Before you prompt the user for their credit card or PayPal information, allow them to tell you where the item is going.  By requesting shipping details before inquiring about billing information, you’ll appear more concerned with delivering your product than eager to collect payment, effectively building trust with the user and reducing your checkout abandonment rate.


Consistency is Key
From landing page to checkout, your website should have an evident design theme.  All of your pages should revolve around a few select colors and a basic format.  Once you’ve established this theme, stick to it! It can be particularly alarming to consumers when the cart and checkout pages differ from the design of your product pages.  If you’ve changed the layout of your website to reflect a seasonal sale or special event, be sure to change the checkout page as well.  If you use an outside platform for checkout, make use of customization tools to match the look of your website and prevent users from feeling like they’ve been transferred somewhere else just before the point of sale. Uncertainty and checkout abandonment go hand-in-hand; keep your customer engaged and secure with a consistent design.


Spell Check, Mate
Few things appear as amateur as a high volume of typographical errors. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll lose a customer over a single misuse of “their/they’re/there,” allowing written content to go online without scrutiny is a dangerous move.  Have a few people you trust read over your checkout instructions and help menus, keeping a keen eye out for small errors.  Catch embarrassing mistakes before your customers do.


That’s Asking a Bit Much…
Although collecting a swath of information about each and every customer is immensely helpful in marketing and research spheres, it can be a tedious and unnerving process for customers.  Request only immediately necessary information and either remove or make optional other input fields.  If a customer is ordering software online, then chances are that his or her marital status and gender are irrelevant.  Don’t allow the customer to suspect you of foul play by asking for too many personal details. If you’re looking to build more detailed consumer profiles, then look into crafting an optional survey. Collecting information on an opt-in basis is a much safer way to understand your customers without threatening an increase in your checkout abandonment.


Sense of Security
Before anything else, customers want to know that their data is safe.  Even if you have one of the most secure networks in North America, the consumer won’t feel at ease until it looks secure.  The following are a few easy steps you can take towards crafting a safer image:

  • Iconic Display – It may seem like an unnecessary detail to those who work heavily with the technical details of online transactions, but little visual indicators of security go a long way in helping the everyday shopper trust you with sensitive payment information.  During the checkout process, mark the areas in which information fields are particularly secure with the icon of a lock or any type of security certification you may have.  People have come to trust and expect certification from companies such as TRUSTe, McAfee, and Verisign.  If you’re confident in your checkout process, have them tested by these organizations and display their logo proudly.
  • Semantically Secure – Two words with similar definitions can mean two drastically different things to readers given context.  The design of your checkout page is one place to be particularly mindful of your wording.  Where appropriate, refer to your checkout process as “Secure Checkout” and request that users “Verify” rather than “Re-enter” their email address.  Picking the right wording for buttons and form labels is a small, but powerful tool for reducing checkout abandonment.
  • Transparent Policies – Providing links directly to your security and privacy policies is always a good move.  Although most users won’t take the time to read through them, the gesture of putting all of your policies on display is enough to instill a sense of security among more skeptical consumers.

With the right design and the appropriate amount of brevity, you can move users along the conversion pipeline with little anxiety.  However, creating a feeling of online security isn’t the only way to combat checkout abandonment.  UpSellit offers a suite of fully customizable site abandonment solutions that are designed to target and address the most common reasons for website, product, shopping cart and checkout abandonment. For more information on solutions available for reducing abandonment and generating additional revenue, contact us.


Written by Bryan Gudmundson

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