EcommerceStartup general interest

Improving checkout conversion

By March 19, 2014 No Comments

checkout abandonment

Think about the chart above for a moment. It’s showing that 50-80%+ of people who have got far enough through the purchase process to click on the checkout button then decide not to buy. That’s huge. Another way of looking at this data is to say that poor conversion of the checkout pages increase customer acquisition costs by 100-400%. Companies spend hours optimising their spend on Google and other channels for much smaller improvements than that.

The answer, of course, is to optimise the checkout page. Abandonment rates rarely get far below 50% but there is a lot that companies can do.

The primary reason people abandon checkouts is price. We are hardwired to prefer not losing something (our money) to gaining something (whatever we are buying) so optimisations that reduce the impact of price are very effective. Free shipping is perhaps the most well known of those, but other tricks like not using $ or £ signs and using neutral colours and smaller fonts for the price also make a difference.

Other useful tricks include:

  • not forcing customers to register
  • optimising the language on buttons (e.g. got a 20% improvement by changing ‘Proceed to checkout’ to ‘I’m ready to checkout’)
  • minimising the work for the user – smallest number of fields, pre-populate if possible
  • make forms smart – validating fields as the user progresses makes them much less confusing and if you can’t do that put the error messages next to the error
  • reassure prospects at every stage – e.g. with social proof and trustmarks

The message is clear – there’s huge value to be had from optimising the checkout page. As a final example one company reduced their checkout abandonment from 80% to 54% with the changes below.


You can find these tips and others on 7 Proven Secrets of High Converting Checkouts. Thanks and kudos to author Joanna Wiebe.