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10 Best Practices for Small Businesses to Optimize Their Checkout Experience

4 Mins read

It’s still very early in the eCommerce world, and businesses need to understand the basics and nail-down foundational best practices to set themselves up for long-term success. Online shopping is pivotal for many businesses, and the success of these online sales can be a primary driver of revenue. In the US alone, eCommerce sales are expected to grow 16.1% and cross $1 trillion for the first time in 2022. However, on average, 69% of online shopping carts are abandoned. This means the majority of potential customers put items in their cart but don’t follow through on purchasing the items. A potential customer could bail on the purchase for a myriad of reasons, such as a complicated checkout process, surprise fees, security concerns, or something else. The hard truth is that if a buyer doesn’t purchase what they have in their cart, all efforts, including marketing and sales to get the buyer to this point go unrewarded. This is why for all businesses, the checkout process is so important and checkout optimization is a critical strategy for the purchase funnel. Given the rate of growth for eCommerce and the percentage of abandoned carts, there are a lot of missed opportunities that could have been avoided by following best practices. Small businesses need to focus on creating a seamless checkout process to reduce cart abandonment and complete sales to generate more revenue.

Here are ten best practices small businesses can implement to optimize the checkout experience for their customers and ultimately generate more revenue.

  1. Make it simple: The checkout form should be simple, and the buyer should be familiar with what’s being asked. A complicated and time-consuming checkout process can drive customers away. Including something unfamiliar in the form can create confusion. Also, consider autofill. Customers appreciate having automatic settings to help complete the form. Having a checkbox to select if the billing and shipping address are the same saves the customer time.
  2. Be kind when there’s an error: It’s key to show the buyer a clear and friendly error message if something goes wrong or is missing during checkout. If something is missing, it’s important to identify what is needed so the customer can easily fill in the blanks.
  3. Accommodate different devices: The checkout page needs to be adaptable and professional on different devices to accommodate customers’ preferences. Some buyers prefer to make purchases on their phones while others prefer to go to a website or a tablet. It’s also important to add the ability for a customer to shuffle devices during the purchase process and be able to start a cart on one device and checkout on another.
  4. Be mindful of payment preferences: Have the top three relevant payment options available for buyers to select from. If a small business only accepts credit cards but the customer wants to pay with a different payment method, such as Apple Pay, GooglePay, Buy-Now-Pay-Later, or Account-to-Account payments, the buyer is likely to abandon the purchase. It’s also best to avoid redirecting customers to external payment forms and away from your webpage.
  5. Localize the checkout form: Use the local language, currency, and formats of the currency in the checkout form. Make sure to have the correct position, left or right, for the currency symbols and use the local decimal or comma. Also, be sure to highlight if there’s a local tax or a conversion fee for buying in a different currency, make it clear if there are extra fees.
  6. Calculate costs upfront: When it comes to taxes and fees, transparency eliminates surprises for a customer. Taxes and fees are often added to the end of the purchase and can catch buyers off guard at the checkout if they aren’t aware they’re coming.
  7. Gain security and privacy trust: Be aware of the current requirements and regulations around security and trust. Follow the required security and privacy processes and have the relevant icons in place, such as the actual Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), to show the customer that they can trust the payment platform.
  8. Make it easy for returning buyers: Offer to store buyers’ card details for future purchases, but be sure to receive their explicit consent before doing so. Returning buyers should be able to have a ‘one click’ checkout experience, but they also need to be able to update their card and billing details to make this process effective and seamless.
  9. Make the refund policy clear: Refunds can be a hassle for everyone, but if a refund policy isn’t clear, it could sway hesitant buyers from clicking the “pay” button. Make the refund policy clear and easy to avoid chargebacks.
  10. Check website performance: The checkout form should be built on a reliable platform and should be checked regularly to make sure customers aren’t waiting for pages to load or be processed. Crashed and error loading will be a big deterrent for customers or, at a minimum, will impact their checkout experience.

The concept of checkout optimization is simple: the more positive experience it is for customers, the more likely they are to buy the items in their shopping cart which leads to more generated revenue for the business. A checkout form could be only a single webpage for a business but it’s arguably the most important page and attention to detail must be paid. The checkout experience is the most important for a customer and a business because this is where the transaction actually happens. There can be a lot of marketing and sales tactics to move a customer into a sales funnel, but if they don’t complete the purchase and abandon their cart, these efforts are, ultimately,  meaningless. The key to checkout optimization is providing a clean and simple checkout form that provides the customer with a positive experience which will lead to happy returning customers.

Amit Sagiv is the Co-Head of Payments at Wix. Sagiv is responsible for all aspects of the strategy, execution, and growth of Wix’s fintech offering, enabling merchants to manage orders and payments all in one place. Since joining Wix, Sagiv has played a key role in creating Wix’s complex global payments ecosystem. Prior to Wix, he founded Inkcliq, a social platform for collaborative storytelling and has served as an executive, leading teams for numerous Israeli fintech startups, including Pepper (Banking), and Leverate, and worked as a project manager for several leading brands such as Intel and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Sagiv is a highly effective financial services veteran with experience in payments, banking, and stock trading and is a dedicated mentor and adviser in the space.

Checkout stock image by Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

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