Having a hard time converting online shoppers?
Let's face it. No matter the quality, pricing, and curation of your products, nor even high website traffic... You just can’t expect large order volumes without giving your checkout conversion rates careful thought.
That’s precisely why we’re going to cover:
- What’s all the fuss about checkout conversion
- What’s a decent checkout conversion rate for your store
- How to improve e-commerce conversion (with examples)
Wait, what is the checkout conversion rate again?
The checkout conversion rate is the ratio of consumers who begin the checkout process and complete it with a successful purchase. It can be measured and compared based on a certain period of time, depending on your needs.
Now, the problem is: There are plenty of factors that can affect the conversion in your online store (and lead to shopping cart abandonment instead).
Of course, “losing" online customers is inevitable. Sometimes, they’re just not that into you — it's all about casual window shopping or creating a wish list for later, so there’s no intention of completing the purchase in the first place. And that's okay.
What if it's your checkout experience that drives purchases away, though?
Setting the baseline
In September 2022, Littledata surveyed over two thousand e-commerce stores — websites with 20k to 500k monthly visits — and found out that the average checkout conversion rate in e-commerce reaches around 46%.
Based on the data, they were able to conclude that if it goes over 62%, this puts you in the best 20% of benchmarked stores, and if it's over 69%, it puts you in the top 10%. What does it mean?
A high number like that means that your customers enjoy a seamless, personalized checkout experience. From the moment they land on your home page, it's clear to them what e-commerce store it is, how to navigate to find whatever they’re looking for, and how to proceed with the purchase once they do.
If your checkout conversion rate remains as low as 29%, on the other hand, it might be high time to put some time and effort into improving it.
How to improve checkout conversion, then?
Your checkout process is where the magic happens in terms of driving conversions, revenue, and customer loyalty.
Typically, online customers go through several steps to complete their purchase:
The harsh truth is, though: the whole customer journey is rarely that linear.
Instead of figuring out the best checkout flow through all these stages, you can create multiple, well-optimized touchpoints and improve conversion along the way.
Sounds promising? Let's go over the best, hands-on e-commerce improvements to achieve a higher checkout conversion rate.
- Enable "add to cart" from all pages
- Offer multiple delivery options
- Introduce delivery options and prices as soon as possible
- Go for the mini cart
- Try cross-selling and upselling (including free shipping)
- Allow guest checkout
- Set expectations and show progress
- Reduce (and autocomplete) address form fields
Enable "add to cart" from all pages
“Add to cart” is a magical button that accelerates the checkout process. In many cases, however, it’s only placed on product pages.
The problem is: Depending on their shopping journey, it might take a while for your customers to get there.
This might not seem like a bit deal at first, but… If they’re already familiar with your product assortment, why not let them convert faster?
Allowing to add products to the cart straight from the home page (as well as category or campaign pages) can shorten the checkout process for those customers who already know what they want.
In the e-commerce realm, these types of buyers are precious. Don’t make it harder for them to make a purchase.
Here's how NA-KD does it:
Offer multiple delivery options
Consumers tend to leave when you hit them with high or unexpected shipping costs. It's the most common cause of shopping cart abandonment — it accounts for about half of abandoned online orders.
Research also shows that more customers want to know the estimated delivery time before purchasing, and pay close attention to the available delivery options once they’re at it. In fact, they are likely to go elsewhere if your store doesn’t offer their preferred delivery option.
As stated in Shopify’s Future of Commerce Report, lack of clarity around shipping loses sales.
— In the last year alone, 32% of the customers we surveyed have abandoned their shopping carts because “the estimated shipping time was too long,” and 22% because there was no guaranteed delivery date, it elaborates. Even brand loyalty won’t stop them from walking away.
The solution? Let your customers choose their preferred method of last-mile delivery so that they feel in control of the process. Focus on when, not how soon.
On that note: Keep in mind that a proper delivery strategy doesn't necessarily mean you have to offer free shipping or include as many options as possible on your checkout page. It's more about finding the right balance between what your customers need and what's feasible for your business.
This is where an end-to-end delivery platform like Ingrid can prove useful, enabling online retailers to benefit from an optimized delivery checkout in the long run.
“Six months after implementing Ingrid, we’ve seen a positive impact on the checkout experience. The conversion already increased by 15%."
Jakob Dahlner, Chief E-commerce Officer at Elon
If that sounds like the kind of results you’d like to achieve as well, book a demo to find out more about Ingrid.
Introduce delivery options and prices as soon as possible
Speaking of deliveries (since they’re our specialty at Ingrid), there’s one more thing you can do to improve checkout conversion. And it all starts with your product pages.
When you think about it, detailed product pages serve multiple purposes. The main goal, however, is to give buyers enough information to help them assess if that’s the right product for them (and then convince them to buy it).
There are plenty of details that are usually shown on e-commerce product pages to improve conversion: Product names, images, descriptions, price, returns policy, care instructions… What's often missing, though, are the delivery details showing when and how the products can arrive.
Introducing delivery options as soon as possible means that potential customers don't have to assume, predict or rely on previous shopping experiences to grasp if, when, and how the purchased products can be delivered to them.
This creates higher chances of purchase and less frustration afterward. Consumers won’t keep finding out at the last stage of the checkout process that there are only limited delivery options available, or even worse, that ordered items can’t be delivered to their address at all.
Go for the mini cart
A mini cart that pops up and is updated in real-time can be a great addition to a traditional, full-sized cart page. It can also replace the traditional shopping cart page completely to improve conversion rates.
In simple terms, a mini cart allows your customers to view their order summary without having to go to another page. It might not seem like much at first, but, when done right, it also helps to speed up the whole checkout process, and even increase the Average Order Value (AOV).
Take Nudient as an example. Their mini cart actually serves as an e-commerce checkout page, making it easy to double-check the order summary, choose from available delivery options, and place the order in just a few clicks.
Try cross-selling and upselling
Related items, matching accessories, or popular products (“People also buy”) can easily be shown along the way to encourage (more) purchases. If these offers are relevant, that is.
Think of complementary items, not necessarily similar ones. If you just bought a washing machine, you’re not looking for another one to add to the order right now. But, you might be tempted to buy a bathroom cabinet that could go well with it.
Speaking of relevant deals: Another incentive for increasing the order value and completing the checkout is also free shipping (or additional delivery options offered after reaching a certain delivery price point).
Setting the free shipping threshold is not always intuitive, though.
To address the challenge, IDEAL OF SWEDEN decided to A/B test delivery price points in each market, starting with the Netherlands.
With Ingrid Delivery Upsell, the brand was able to experiment with consumer preferences in the Dutch market by setting the free shipping criteria to a cart value of 45 EUR or above.
The results? 7.81% increase in the transaction conversion rate, and a 7% boost in the AOV.
Allow guest checkout
Imagine this: You’ve added the desired items to the cart. You want to go ahead and make a purchase. In fact, you’re looking forward to it! And then the worst thing happens…
You have to create an account first. There’s just no way to skip this step.
If you don’t find it annoying, you’re in the minority. Forced account creation comes second on the list of things that make customers abandon shopping carts. It's counterintuitive to the hassle-free expectation of online shopping.
The best way to go about it is by offering guest checkout as an alternative to account creation. Otherwise, your checkout experience is likely to look like this:
Set expectations and show progress
For many online buyers, the overall shopping experience feels pretty great...
Until they reach the checkout page and have to fill in forms and make all these important decisions regarding payment and delivery options.
Set expectations from the start to improve conversions: Design a single-page checkout, mark all the steps clearly, and use a progress indicator to show how far they've come and how much work is left.
Whatever happens, don’t overcomplicate the checkout process! It’s already pretty difficult as it is.
— We’ve implemented several changes to optimize our e-commerce checkout page and improve the overall user experience, and they resulted in an 11.52% increase in checkout conversions between 2020 and 2021, Sruthi Krishna, Senior Website Development Manager at Custom Neon says. One of the major changes was implementing a single-page checkout since we found out that navigating to the next page to complete a transaction actually led to increased shopping cart abandonment.
Simplify (and autocomplete) the address form
The key to a conversion-optimized checkout? Keep things focused on the purchase and avoid asking for any information that’s not necessary.
To make it easier for your customers, you could, for example, use a single field for their full name (rather than separate first and last name), and have the shipping address the same as the billing address — unless the customer requests otherwise.
Another way to improve the checkout process is also by autocompleting (and validating) address form details, especially when it’s returning customers who make the purchase.
At Ingrid, we’re currently working on a personal Address Book solution that can save essential information like address details and preferred delivery options, which then can be used by consumers in any online store that’s powered by Ingrid Checkout widget. Follow Ingrid for more product updates like this!
Ready to improve checkout conversion rates?
In the e-commerce realm, conversion optimization implies many different tactics.
From search engine optimization and driving traffic to your store, through marketing automation and user experience optimization, up to checkout process optimization — all of them should be designed to turn first-time web visitors into recurring customers.
Still, in most cases, it's the long, frustrating buying process itself that may be discouraging potential customers and affecting your conversion rates. To improve it, we discussed the following improvements:
- Placing an “add to cart” button on all pages
- Offering multiple delivery options
- Introducing delivery details as soon as possible
- Choosing the mini cart over a traditional checkout page
- Using cross-selling and upselling (including free shipping)
- Allowing guest checkout
- Setting expectations and showing progress
- Simplifying (and autocompleting) the address form
Not sure if these hacks will affect your online shopping experience? When in doubt, always look into your own data, analyze, and A/B test first.
Chad Brinkle, Owner of High Country Off-Road store, explains:
— The first thing we did was A/B test the checkout page. We've analyzed the data and found that our checkout is too long, so we've streamlined the process by removing the number of steps and fields, and made it much more intuitive. On average, we've seen a 25% decrease in bounce rate and a 15% increase in conversion rate.
Now, go give your conversions some thought. If you need any help once you’re at it, book a free consultation to see how you can improve your checkout with Ingrid.