What is E-commerce Checkout?

💡 Discover and understand complex e-commerce terms with Ingrid Glossary.

E-commerce checkout definition 

Long story short: An e-commerce checkout is a process that an online shopper goes through to finalize their purchase. 

Typically, it’s shown as a series of steps every potential customer has to take:

  • Land on a product page (either directly, through the home page, or via the search result page)
  • Add the product(s) to the cart 
  • Review the product(s) on a shopping cart page 
  • Provide billing and shipping information
  • Make the payment 
  • Receive an order confirmation

Is it really that simple, though?

The harsh truth is that the e-commerce checkout process is rarely that linear, and differs slightly for every customer. 

A lot depends on the context. E-commerce checkout will look much different if an online shopper already knows the brand, and goes directly to the homepage to find a product they’ve seen around (in a newsletter, for example).

On the other hand, a first-time customer might start their shopping journey with Google to look for something specific, but not in any particular store. Then, they eventually land on a (well-optimized) product page and get familiar with the e-comm brand and its assortment.  

On top of that, they might just be browsing, or desperately searching for a certain product right at this moment. Everything counts towards their current needs and expectations from an e-commerce checkout.

E-commerce checkout explained

To keep converting online shoppers, no matter the context, online retailers should offer multiple well-optimized touchpoints along the way. This means taking care of:

Ecommerce checkout touchpoints shown on a chart.

Even a tiny mishap on the way can contribute to shopping cart abandonment, which is why conversion optimization is always a work in progress. 

On the other hand, even the slightest improvement can make a difference, especially with a large volume of orders. Stick around to learn how to optimize your e-commerce checkout. 

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