Fighting Checkout Abandonment by Eliminating Distractions

DECEMBER 10, 2014
Written by Bryan Gudmundson

Checkout abandonment is a frustrating metric to calculate because it’s the loss of a conversion at the very last minute. Although checkout abandonment occurs at the lowest rate of all types of abandonment (56.3%), it can be argued that it’s the most costly for vendors. It’s a matter of fact that consumers who reach checkout have a greater intent to buy. When those customers opt out of purchasing, it’s typically due to some kind of avoidable complication.

Today, we’re going to talk about the most common, abandon-causing distractions in the checkout flow and what you can do to minimize their impact.
 

Outside Navigation, Checkout Abandonment.

Giving users the opportunity to navigate outside of checkout is a dangerous tactic. Although you should never leave customers without an option, you’ll want to drastically scale back the number of links. Provide a single “Continue Shopping” button or a hyperlinked logo atop the page, but remove all categorical browsing.

walmartcheckout1_thumb

Be careful, there is such a thing as removing too much of the website’s functionality. Surveys have found that people abandon purchases more often when the checkout sends customers to an outside site. By removing style elements in bulk in order to restrict navigation, you run the risk of feeling like another website. Walmart’s checkout, as seen below, is a great example of maintaining style consistency throughout, while removing distraction avenues at checkout.

 

Empty Coupon Codes and Checkout Abandonment

Coupon codes are a very powerful motivator for purchase, but retailers must use them with caution. For just a moment, think of yourself as a shopper. As you take your cart full of products into checkout and start to fill out forms, you’ve probably already rationalized the total cost.

As you input information and move through checkout, you come across an empty field next to a “Apply Discount” button. You don’t have a code, but you want the discount. So, what do you do? You open another browser tab and start searching for coupon codes. See the problem? By displaying an empty coupon code field to all visitors, you promote checkout abandonment among those who don’t have a code.

You can use coupon codes successfully.

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There are two simple solutions:

  1. Apply Discounts Immediately. If you’re currently dispensing incentives, automatically apply any discount to the shopper’s cart, as seen in the image above. Display the discount’s effects during checkout so customers know the reduction has been calculated.
     
  2. Intelligently Suppress Coupon Field. If you’re sending out marketing emails that include a special coupon code, only display the field on browsing sessions that started with a clickthrough.

Checkout Abandonment and Moving Forward

targetcheckout_thumbGetting information about your customers is paramount to doing good business, and asking shoppers for input is a great way to get that information. However, when you start asking for personal details that aren’t directly related to the conversion at hand, you risk pushing away the sale.

When structuring your checkout flow, make sure it’s quick and to the point. Your checkout flow should be as short as possible, requesting only the information needed for order tracking and processing. Additionally, make sure your checkout runs from top to bottom in a single, unbroken chain. Don’t add substeps; don’t have two columns of forms.

 

Avoid Checkout Abandonment with Progress Markers

Although it’s nearly industry standard at this point, we still feel compelled to suggest that online merchants place a progress bar atop checkout to give visitors a sense of direction. Giving the customers an obvious and immediate goal while showing them precisely how close it is can be a motivator for hesitant buyers. You want to keep shoppers moving forward and the bar is an easy, effective indicator of progress.

Transparency is another key component to a quick, directed checkout. With any fields that may seem unnecessary to the expedient shopper, such as telephone number, supply a succinct explanation of what you’ll use it for, without a link to another page. Ensure that your customers can get through checkout with needing to stop and ask a question, interrupting the checkout flow.

 
 
High checkout abandonment rates are a painful symptom of a confusing or unclear checkout process. Watching conversions fizzle out at the last minute is frustrating, but by taking a scientific approach to reducing distractions and moving the consumer forward, you can avoid getting cut short. For more information on what you can do to reduce checkout abandonment and optimize the rest of your site’s traffic, contact UpSellit.

 
 
Written by Bryan Gudmundson


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