E-commerce Checkout Best Practices

What do the top 100 grossing e-commerce websites have in common? They all have a smooth checkout process for their customers. From the process length to customer registration, these can all affect the checkout process.

Knowing the advantage and disadvantage of e-commerce best practices can ensure that you are maximizing your conversion rate.

According to Smashing

Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine published a study about the e-commerce process. In their study, they analyzed the top 100 e-commerce websites.

This has lead to a massive checkout database with 508 checkout steps reviewed, 975 screenshots, and 3,000+ examples of adherences and violations of the checkout usability guidelines.

As you can imagine there is a lot of data to go through. Some of the most interesting information they found ways:

  • The average checkout process consist of 5.08 steps.
  • 24% require account registration.
  • 81% think their newsletter is a must have (opt-out or worse).
  • 41% use address validators.
  • 50% asks for the same information twice.
  • The average top 100 checkouts violate 33% of the checkout usability guidelines.

Knowing some of the most common areas and problems to focus on can save some time. It's not time to take action.

E-Commerce Optimization

E-Commerce Optimization

You can spend all your time on optimizing your checkout process. From making it easier to upselling.

It is never perfect.

What you can do is to get the basic building block down to make sure you aren't losing conversion.

Site Speed

Site Speed

If site speed isn't one of your consistent goals for your website, start making it one. Speed is critical for your business. Your load time can determine a difference in your conversion rate. The higher the speed the better chances you have to make a sale.

52% of online shoppers claim that quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site.

14% will start shopping at a different site if page loads are slow.

With mobile sites becoming a number one option for most users. Your site needs to be optimized for lower resolutions and slower internet speeds.

Checkout Steps

Checkout Steps

Even with the average of websites using five steps to process their customer's orders. The lower the amount the customer has to click, the better.

A single page checkout outperformed a multi-step checkout by a 21.8%.

Try to slim down into three steps or less. This makes your customer's experience more pleasant with a higher conversion rate.

Guest Checkout

Guest Checkout

As inbound marketers, we always want as much data as we can get. Names, emails address, locations, but this could feel intrusive to your customers.

23 out of the 25 top US e-commerce sites offer a guest checkout.

People don't like committing to things, even if it's a member account on your site. Giving these types of users a guest checkout option gives them peace of mind.

Trust Badges

Trust Badges

If you spend time fighting security issues with virus scans and SSL certificates. Let your customers know. Putting trust badges in areas of your site can help your customer feel protected.

Consumers who abandoned their carts, 17% were "concerns about payment security" as a reason.

If you are lacking trust badges. Start with your credit card processor badge. Put it close to where your customer enters their payment information. This is an easy implementation that gives big results.

Social Proof

Social Proof

Giving some reviews, testimonials, and FAQ can change the outlook of your company. This could be directly related to your company and a whole or on an individual product basis.

61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision.

Having some social proof shows can growth hack you to legitimate business. Plus your customers love you and you have a great product(s). Your social media accounts can be used in the same way.

Measure Conversion Rate

Measure Conversion Rate

Depending on how you want to take on this project. Always measure your conversion rate before, during, and after. There are services likes Optimizely and Google Content Experiments that can make testing easier.

Every change you make will not be a winner. There are times when your genesis idea is a loser. Don't get discourage. Keep trying and squeeze every bit of conversion you can.


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