Skip to main content Skip to footer


How To Develop A Good Checkout Flow On An Ecommerce Site

The checkout flow is the final stage of the online shopping experience, where customers enter their payment and delivery details and complete their purchase. A good checkout flow can make a big difference in the conversion rate and customer satisfaction of an ecommerce site. According to Hotjar, the average cart abandonment rate for all sectors is 69.99%, which means that most customers who add items to their cart do not end up buying them. This is a huge loss of potential revenue and a sign of a poor checkout flow.

To improve the checkout flow and increase conversions, ecommerce sites need to follow some best practices that reduce friction, increase trust, and provide convenience for customers. Here are some of the key tips for developing a good checkout flow on an ecommerce site.

Offer Guest Checkout

One of the main reasons why customers abandon their carts is that they have to create an account before they can proceed to checkout. A Baymard Institute survey found that 25% of customers have abandoned purchases because they had to create an account first. Creating an account can be seen as a hassle and a barrier to purchase, especially for first-time or infrequent customers who do not want to share their personal information or remember another password.

To avoid this, ecommerce sites should offer a guest checkout option that allows customers to enter their email address and head straight to checkout. This way, customers can start filling in their address and payment details more quickly and easily, and feel more in control of their shopping experience. Guest checkout can also reduce the risk of customers forgetting their login credentials or having trouble logging in, which can cause frustration and abandonment.

Of course, you still want to encourage customers to create an account and become loyal repeat buyers. To do this, you can offer incentives such as discounts, rewards, or faster checkout for registered users, or allow customers to create an account after they complete their purchase. You could also let customers opt-in to receive order updates and tracking information via email or SMS.

Simplify the Checkout Process

Another reason why customers abandon their carts is that the checkout process is too long or complicated. Customers want to complete their purchase as quickly and easily as possible, without having to fill in unnecessary or redundant fields, navigate through multiple pages, or encounter errors or glitches. A complex checkout process can increase the cognitive load and the perceived effort for the customer and make them more likely to change their mind or lose interest.

To simplify the checkout process, follow these guidelines when developing an ecommerce site:

  • Minimise the number of form fields and only ask for the essential information. For example, instead of asking for the full name, address, city, county, country, and post code separately, use a single field for the address and use an address lookup or autofill service to populate the rest of the fields automatically.

  • Use clear and consistent labels, placeholders, and instructions for the form fields, and indicate which ones are required and which ones are optional. Use input masks, validation, and error messages to help customers enter the correct information and avoid mistakes.

  • Use a single-page or a linear checkout flow, where customers can see all the steps and information on one page or progress through them one by one. Avoid using pop-ups, redirects, or multiple tabs that can confuse or distract customers. Use a progress indicator to show customers how many steps they have completed and how many are left.

  • Provide clear and prominent calls to action, such as “Continue”, “Next”, or “Place Order”, that guide customers through the checkout flow and indicate what they need to do next. Use contrasting colours, large fonts, and white space to make the buttons stand out and easy to click or tap.

  • Allow customers to review and edit their order details, such as the items, quantities, prices, shipping options, and payment methods, before they confirm their purchase. Use clear and accurate imagesdescriptions, and totals to show customers what they are buying and how much they are paying. Provide an option to add or apply a coupon code, gift card, or loyalty points if applicable.

Add Trust Seals to Increase Credibility

One of the biggest challenges of online shopping is that customers cannot see or touch the products they are buying, or interact with the seller face to face. This can create a sense of uncertainty and risk, especially when it comes to sharing their personal and financial information online. Customers want to be sure that they are buying from a legitimate and reputable ecommerce site, that their information is safe and secure, and that they will receive the products they ordered as expected.

The Baymard Institute’s research shows that 19% of shoppers abandoned a checkout because they didn’t trust the site with their credit card information.

To increase the credibility and trustworthiness of the ecommerce site and reassure customers that they are making a safe and smart purchase, ecommerce sites should display trust seals on checkout pages. Trust seals are visual symbols or badges that indicate that the site has been verified or certified by a third-party authority, such as a security provider, a payment processor, a quality assurance agency, or a customer review platform. Some examples of trust seals are:

  • Security seals, such as Norton, McAfee, or TrustArc, that show that the site uses encryption and other measures to protect the customer’s data from hackers and identity thieves. Interestingly, the Baymard Institute’s research shows the Norton seal of approval to give consumers the best sense of trust.

  • Payment seals, such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, or Stripe, that show that the site accepts secure and popular payment methods that customers are familiar with and trust.

  • Quality seals, such as ISO, BBB, or Trustpilot, that show that the site meets certain standards of quality, reliability, and customer service, and has positive ratings and reviews from other customers.

  • Guarantee seals, such as money-back guarantee, free returns, or free shipping, that show that the site offers a fair and flexible policy for customers who are not satisfied with their purchase or encounter any issues.

Trust seals can help to reduce the anxiety and hesitation of customers and increase their confidence and willingness to buy. However, you should be careful not to overload your checkout pages with too many or irrelevant trust seals, as this can have the opposite effect and make customers suspicious or overwhelmed. Only use trust seals that are relevant to your industry and audience, and that are from reputable and recognised sources. You should also place the trust seals strategically, such as near the payment fields, the order summary, or the checkout button, where customers are most likely to look for them.

Provide a Variety of Shipping Options

Shipping is another important factor that can influence the customer’s decision to buy or not. Customers want to receive their products as soon as possible, without paying too much or compromising on the quality or safety of the delivery. Shipping can also affect the customer’s perception of the value and convenience of the online shopping experience, and their satisfaction and loyalty to the ecommerce site. Indeed, Hotjar’s data shows that 48% of shoppers abandon their carts due to high shipping costs.

To provide a positive shipping experience for customers, you should provide a variety of shipping options that cater to different needs and preferences. For example, you can offer:

  • Free shipping, which is one of the most effective ways to increase conversions and reduce cart abandonment, as customers do not have to worry about extra costs or hidden fees. Statistics show that free shipping can increase sales by 10% and increase your conversion rate by 20%. Free shipping can be offered as a standard option, a promotional offer, or a reward for spending a certain amount or joining a loyalty program.

  • Expedited shipping, which is a fast and convenient option for customers who need or want their products urgently, such as for a special occasion or a last-minute gift. Expedited shipping can be offered as a premium option, a free upgrade, or a limited-time offer.

  • Standard shipping, which is a reliable and affordable option for customers who are not in a hurry and do not mind waiting a few days or weeks for their products.

  • Local pickup, which is a flexible and convenient option for customers who live or work near the ecommerce site’s physical location, such as a store, a warehouse, or a locker. Local pickup can be offered as a free option, a same-day option, or a contactless option.

Ecommerce sites should clearly display the shipping options, costs, and delivery times on checkout pages, and allow customers to choose the option that suits them best. You should also provide accurate and realistic estimates, and update customers on the status and tracking of their orders via email or SMS. You should also offer easy and hassle-free returns and exchanges, in case customers are not happy with their products or change their mind.

Offer Multiple Secure Payment Gateways

Payment is the final and most crucial step of the checkout process, where customers enter their card or bank details and confirm their purchase. Payment is also the most sensitive and risky step, as customers have to trust that their information is secure and that they will not be charged incorrectly or fraudulently. Payment can be the most diverse and dynamic step, as customers have different preferences and expectations for how they want to pay online.

To provide a smooth and secure payment experience for customers, ecommerce sites should offer multiple secure payment gateways that cater to different needs and preferences. For example, you can offer:

  • Credit or debit cards, which are the most common and convenient payment methods for online shopping, as customers can use their existing cards and pay instantly. Ecommerce sites should accept all major card brands, such as Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, and use encryption and verification services, such as SSL and 3D Secure, to protect the customer’s data and prevent fraud.

  • Digital wallets, such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay, are the most modern and innovative payment methods for online shopping, as customers can use their mobile devices and biometric features for security.

It is generally accepted that the wider the choice of payment options, the better your conversion rate will be, but you do have to factor in the fees that different platforms have

Ecommerce Sites From Wired In

How we use cookies

Learn more about how we use cookies to improve your experience.