Shopify checkout optimization 101: A how-to guide

Fashion company East Meets Dress implemented two checkout strategies to increase AOV by 10% and convert 5% more customers. Step 1? An audit of their current checkout process.

To increase checkout conversion rates, the brand applied two strategies. First, after a customer places an order for a dress, they'll give the customer an immediate 25% post-purchase discount on the most popular accessories items. Second, they offer installments or split payments to make the dress more affordable.

According to Vivian Chan, co-founder of East Meets Dress, they've seen an increase of 10% in terms of their average order value and they've converted 5% more customers with these strategies.

East Meets Dress isn't the only store always keeping an eye on checkout conversion rates. Smart Shopify store owners should optimize their checkout page as much as possible.

According to Baymard Institute's E-Commerce Checkout Usability report, 69% of all ecommerce visitors abandon their shopping cart. Out of the top 10 reasons for high abandoned cart rates, about six are related to the checkout page.

Baymard Institute emphasized that by optimizing the checkout page, ecommerce sites can improve their checkout experience and reduce cart abandonment rates significantly. The best part? Checkout optimization can increase conversions by 32.56%—an estimated $260 billion gain for the ecommerce industry.

Take time to evaluate your checkout process and make sure you aren't losing money in the checkout process. It's one of the most important parts of your store!

Seven steps to audit your store's checkout

For Shopify stores, the default checkout process includes three steps: contact information, shipping information, and payment method. You can't change this process unless you upgrade to Shopify Plus.

Either way, you should take the time to audit your checkout to maximize for conversions.

1. How do you show the cart contents on the cart page?

A well-designed cart page shows customers what's in their cart, including product photos, name, and the final cost. By "the final cost," it means you have to be clear about the shipping and taxes. Avoid surprise costs down the line because that can intimidate your customers and cause them to abandon. Here is an excellent example from McLabels:

Your cart page should also display customization options (for example, updating the quantity or removing items) and an eye-catching checkout button.

2. Is your checkout process complicated?

According to Forrester's Mobile Optimization Initiative, "reduced friction and improved mobile checkout CX [customer experience] drive compounding revenue lift of 9% to 15%, impacting both mobile and desktop." If you want to drive sales, your checkout process should be as simple and clear as possible. 

A good tactic is to show a progress bar on the checkout to let customers know how many steps it takes for a customer to complete their checkout.

Source: Ruggable

Because you'll capture customers' contact details when they fill in the checkout form, you shouldn't force them to create an account. Instead, offer the guest account option so customers can checkout right away.

3. Does your checkout page make customers trust your store?

One of the reasons for high abandonment rates is customers don't trust stores with their credit card information. To avoid this, add trust badges like McAfee and Better Business Bureau Accredited Business to the checkout page.

Adding a logo and matching colors to the rest of your store's branding is also important. According to Clayton Bates, certified Shopify expert and founder of Inspire Small Business, this creates consistency from your product pages all the way through to the checkout, which helps boost your store's trustworthiness. 

4. Do you ask for too much information?

Demanding customers to fill in extra forms may delay their purchase. Only ask for information you actually need, like, name and email address.

Auto-fill form fields whenever you can. Follow this tutorial to enable autocompletion in the address field on your checkout. Also include a simple checkbox to use the same address as shipping for billing.

Source: Jimmy Jazz

5. Are your customers aware of their payment options?

Picture yourself buying something online. You're in the checkout and suddenly see you can't pay because your preferred payment method isn't supported. You'd be frustrated, right? So would your customers.

That's why you should provide popular payment methods like credit cards. Also, consider adding local payment gateways if you're selling internationally. For example, it's good to include Laybuy when you sell to Australia and New Zealand.

Source: Sinners Attir

So, I should add as many payment options as possible, right?

The answer is, it depends. If you're selling to several different countries, you should offer the main payment methods supported by those target markets.

A worthy note is that too many choices can confuse and distract visitors, as explained by Trace Galloway, global vice president and solution specialist at Vindicia, a subscription management and retention solutions company. He suggested that three payment options are typically ideal.

6. Is your checkout optimized for mobile devices?

By the end of 2021, mobile ecommerce sales are expected to account for 54% of total ecommerce sales. Review your checkout page on mobile, so you don't miss this huge opportunity to maximize sales.

Does your store display correctly on mobile devices? Is it difficult to tap on site links and buttons? Is the loading speed fast? Ensure your site is responsive and consistent when viewed on both mobile and desktop.

7. Does your checkout page create some sense of urgency?

Having a limited amount of time to do something forces us to take action. You can apply this rule by adding time-based urgency to your checkout page. Pura Vida Bracelets does a good job using this technique to drive conversions.

You can implement most of the tips above (e.g., form autocompletion and mobile optimization), regardless of the Shopify plan you're using. 

That said, there are some significant differences in the ability to edit the checkout page between Shopify and Shopify Plus. 

Shopify vs. Shopify Plus checkout customization

"Know the limits of your Shopify plan before spending too much time researching cart optimization, says Jon MacDonald,  founder and CEO of The Good. "Some strategies can only be implemented on Shopify Plus plans."

Shopify Plus makes it possible for merchants to customize checkout experiences based on shipping cart values or any other condition. It also supports Script Editor that gives merchants more control over the checkout process, like inventory issues and payment options. See here for more information on exactly what you can edit with Shopify Plus checkout.

Whether or not you use Shopify Plus, Jon suggests "optimizing for add-to-cart percentage and increasing average order value (AOV)."

Ultimately, it's more cost-effective to sell to existing customers rather than to new ones, which is the strategy behind post-purchase upsells.

Optimize your Shopify checkout with post-purchase upsells

Post-purchase upsells are the offers shown in between the checkout and thank-you page, so your customers see the offer after they make the purchase.

A post-purchase upsell is perfectly timed, because your customer has already completed the checkout. Then, and only then, do they see your upsell offer. Your upsell offer never competes or detracts from the original conversion in the checkout.

Your customers are excited about what they just purchased, so when they see a complimentary offer from you, they're more likely to accept. With CartHook Post Purchase Offers, they don't need to fill in the payment information again. They click once to accept the upsell offer, because they've already entered their payment info in the checkout, and voila!

It's an easy way to boost your AOV and help your customers connect with your brand for the long term.

With CartHook Post Purchase Offers, you can create powerful one-click offers embedded directly into your Shopify Checkout. For example, Kettle & Fire created a post-purchase upsell using CartHook, which helped them achieve a 10% higher average order value

Here's what CartHook Post Purchase Offers allows you to do:

‚óè      Build an unlimited number of post-purchase funnels

‚óè      Set criteria for when you want to display your post-purchase offer

‚óè      Customize the layouts and elements of your post-purchase offers to match them with your store's design

‚óè      Track revenue, AOV, and conversion rates

Want to get started with CartHook Post Purchase Offers? Add the app to your Shopify store for a free 14-day trial. Set up your first post-purchase funnel in minutes!

Ready to optimize your Shopify checkout?

Follow in the footsteps of so many successful Shopify brands, like East Meets Dress. Take the time to optimize your checkout, starting with an audit, and watch your conversion rates skyrocket.

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