5 Ecommerce Checkout Mistakes and How to Fix Them

PushON | June 22nd 2017

The average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce sites in 2015 was 68%. In other words, more than two thirds of online shoppers showed intent to purchase items on a site and then left without spending a penny. For many ecommerce sites, cart abandonment is a mystery that plagues their online shop and these customers remain elusive. Why are they losing so many users at the final hurdle? There are a number of reasons why you might be losing customers during the checkout process; we have detailed some of the most common checkout mistakes we see in this article to help you improve your conversion rate.

Forcing Users to Register

This is a trend that appears to have subsided slightly over recent years, however, I still come across sites that force you to create an account in order to complete your purchase. It’s madness. And 9 out of 10 times, I leave the site and purchase elsewhere.

Boots checkout

Boots force users to register before allowing them to checkout.

Some users may be making a one-time purchase and are not planning on returning to your site. Some users may not want to share more personal information about themselves than absolutely necessary. Some users may have concerns about receiving unwanted emails, phone calls, texts or emails from you. But the majority of users just don’t want extra hassle. They want the checkout process to be as quick and painless as possible.

Of course, there are obvious marketing advantages of having customers create an account with you, so you should still encourage it. Instead of trying to force the issue, I suggest giving users the option via the thank you page; entice them to sign up by highlighting the benefits, maybe even offer 5% off their next order. Alternatively, you can give users the option to register or checkout as a guest at the beginning of the checkout process like Sweaty Betty do below.

Sweaty Betty checkout

Sweaty Betty allows users to checkout as a guest and register later.

Hidden Delivery Costs

According to SaleCycle, unexpected delivery costs is the leading cause of cart abandonment.

Transparency is key here. Be upfront about all expected costs before users enter the checkout process so there are no surprises. There are a couple of options here. You can include delivery information on the product page, as Wiggle do below:

Wiggle product page

Wiggle displays delivery costs on its product pages.

Alternatively, you can display all costs on the shopping cart page before prompting users to checkout, as Sweaty Betty do:

Sweaty Betty shopping cart

Sweaty Betty displays delivery costs on the shopping cart page.

Whatever you do, don’t hide it. It will leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth and make them think twice before returning.

Not Optimised for Mobile

Mobile first has been talked about for years, but it is here now. Many retailers are now seeing over 50% of traffic coming from mobile, are these users getting the best experience? If not, you are neglecting half of your customers.

Ensuring your checkout flow is optimised for mobile users is essential. Buttons and clickable areas need to be bigger and easier to touch. Form fields should be reduced where possible to speed up the checkout process and make it easier to navigate; users have less time than they do on desktop. Labels and error messages need to be clearly visible. You can also use HTML5 to tell mobile browsers which keyboard to show, e.g. a numerical keyboard for a phone number field.

It is also worth keeping in mind that Google is actively giving mobile-friendly websites a rankings boost in the mobile search results. Continue to ignore mobile at your peril.

Checkout not Enclosed

Once the user is in the checkout process, any distractions should be removed. Enclosing the checkout process means removing anything that is not focused on getting users to convert. All navigational elements, unnecessary links to informational pages and social sharing buttons should be ripped out, leaving behind only key information that the user needs.

What information should be on the page? This comes down to personal preference, but a few things you probably want to consider:

  • A progress indicator to show users what stage of the checkout process they are at
  • A reminder of the products in the user’s basket
  • Delivery information
  • Secure checkout certification to reassure users
  • Customer service contact details in case users get stuck

See the difference between the two examples below.

Cult Pens keeps everything on the page during the checkout process. Not only are there a million distractions from checking out, it clogs the page up with useless information and actually makes the checkout process confusing.

Cult Pens non-enclosed checkout

The Cult Pens checkout is not enclosed and full of distractions for users.

In contrast, the AO.com checkout is clean and focused, making the process clear and simple for the user.

AO.com enclosed checkout

AO.com’s checkout is enclosed.

Unnecessary Form Fields

Every field a customer has to fill in is extra work you are making them do to purchase from you. It also increases the potential for mistakes and frustration. So it goes without saying that the number of fields should be kept to a minimum.

There are a few ways you can help users in this regard. Use an address lookup tool to save users from entering their address manually. Give users the option to use the same address for billing and shipping to save them entering the same information twice. Defer any non-pertinent questions until after the user has completed the purchase (e.g. ‘how did you find us?’ or ‘create an account with us’).

Boden checkout

Boden uses a delivery lookup tool to save users time during the checkout process