What is Checkout Optimization and why is it important?

Checkout optimization refers to the process of improving the design and functionality of the checkout process in an eCommerce business. The goal of checkout optimization is to increase conversion rates by making it easier and more convenient for customers to complete their purchases.

There are many factors that can be optimized as part of the checkout process, including the layout and design of the checkout screen, the number of form fields and steps in the process, the payment and delivery options offered, free shipping or other shipping incentives offered, whether or not there is a clear delivery promise associated with each delivery option, and the overall user experience.

Why is Checkout Optimization important?

Checkout optimization is crucial for any eCommerce business aiming to maximize conversions and enhance the overall customer experience. The checkout process is the final step in the customer journey, where potential buyers become paying customers. It is a critical moment that can make or break a sale. If the checkout process is cumbersome, confusing, or lengthy, it can lead to cart abandonment, resulting in lost revenue for the business.

Streamlining the checkout process is essential because it reduces friction and minimizes barriers to purchase. A well-optimized checkout page should be intuitive, user-friendly, and efficient, enabling customers to complete their transactions with ease. Implementing features such as guest checkout options, pre-filled form fields, and multiple payment options can significantly improve the checkout experience.

Moreover, checkout optimization directly impacts a business's bottom line. By reducing cart abandonment rates and increasing successful transactions, businesses can boost their conversion rates and revenue. Additionally, a seamless and hassle-free checkout process can leave a positive impression on customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction, increased brand loyalty, and the potential for repeat purchases.

There have been several studies and research conducted on the impact of eCommerce checkout optimization on conversion rates and overall business performance. A study published in the Journal of Marketing found that reducing the number of steps in the checkout process can increase conversion rates. The study found that each additional step in the checkout process can decrease conversion rates by up to 35%. We've found that across all industries, 70% of checkouts are abandoned due to various factors, whether or not there is free shipping and speed of shipping being the number one reasons.

In general, it is clear that optimizing the checkout process can have a significant impact on conversion rates and overall business performance.

Quickest ways to optimize checkout and increase sales

The ordering experience can be a make or break for converting a customer. That’s because each component of the ordering & shipping process is directly tied to their view of your brand. And it all starts in checkout.

If there’s one thing we can all learn from Amazon, it’s how to set customer expectations (“Arrives by Thursday”). Don’t be discouraged by the competition. Instead, use these learnings to take your checkout to the next level. If there’s one thing you take from this article, let it be to leverage your checkout as a launch pad to positively catapult a customer’s view of your brand. 

Customers care more about getting an item on time than they do about speed. Specifically, “53% of consumers abandoned the purchasing process due to excessively long shipping times.” In turn, you can start simply by communicating clear arrival dates in checkout (in line with your fulfillment capacity) to accurately set customer expectations. This is always the first thing we recommend to brands for an optimal checkout experience.

Next, we look at delivery options and carrier mix. We recommend at least 3 delivery options in checkout that differ in speed and price. The more flexibility you provide customers, the more likely they will stay on your site and complete their purchase. The easiest and quickest way to offer more delivery options is to use a multi-carrier platform.

Lastly, the amount of shipping incentives you offer (i.e. free shipping) could be the deciding factor for a customer to buy from you or Amazon. Using A/B testing to find your more profitable free shipping threshold in real time could be your golden ticket into more conversions and lasting customer loyalty.

Checkout Optimization in Action

By merely adjusting checkout options, a brand with 1,100 orders/month saw a 7.17% checkout conversion rate increase and a $7.60 average order value increase in only 4 weeks. Another brand with 2,000 orders per month saw their average shipping revenue increase from $4.82 to $13.13, over 200% increase within only 4 weeks. The numbers speak for themselves. Checkout optimization is the quickest way to reach higher conversions and increased revenues with very little effort.

Overall, there are several levers you can pull when it comes to checkout optimization including inputting data-drive 'arrives by' dates on each delivery option, finding your optimal free shipping threshold, setting unique rules for shipping incentives, launching automations to streamline the process for your customers, and diversifying your carrier mix. Many brands just don't know they exist yet.

That's why we're here. Looking to optimize your checkout PrettyDamnQuickly? Download PrettyDamnQuick’s free Shopify app today to get started!

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