Successful Checkout 101: Improving Customer Experience (Part 2)

 November 14th, 2018

The first part of this blog covered the essentials of how to provide a smooth customer experience and hopefully whet your appetite for more. This article will quench that thirst by continuing to help you to further improve the checkout experience of your online store. The first segment will show you the importance of a simple design, while the second half will focus on keeping your payment process secure and trustworthy.

Simple – Keep it Clean and Crisp

  • General Design of Your Website


Looks are important. So important that many customers abandon their cart because they just don’t like the look of the site. The design of the site might even make it look untrustworthy – and this reason is significant: 19% of those surveyed cited this as the reason they quit the process. But what can you do when look and feel are such subjective qualities?

A great way to make your site look more credible and secure is to include some kind of security badge. As a report from the Baymard Institute reveals, official SSL or trust seals from well-known companies like Norton or Google are the most effective ones, but even just a custom image of a padlock can already work wonders for the perceived security of your site.

If your site is a tribute to the 90s and you’re using low-res or bad imagery, update! It will make all the difference. Modernize your layout, go for a clean look with lots of white space, keep unnecessary elements to a minimum and invest in good photography and graphics.

Just as important is quick loading time – don’t create a fancy new site only to compromise on download time. The rule is: if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, your customer is gone. Finally, your site must be responsive and easy to use – no one wants to spend their valuable time on learning how to navigate through a website. The customer would rather leave for the next competitor. This is especially relevant for your mobile page, but more to that later.

  • Looks and Length of Your Checkout Process


An overly complicated checkout is the third biggest reason for cart abandonment, so what can you improve in that section? Again, the main point is: keep it clear and uncluttered. If the element isn’t essential to the checkout process, scrub it. Besides, make it structured – provide a cart overview with all the important information: quantity, size, volume etc. It is a good idea to display a progress bar so that the customer always knows where they are and what they still have to do. This gamifies the checkout experience and gives the customer a feeling of success during their progress.

Some sites prefer to display the entire checkout on a single page, which serves the same purpose of giving the customer a clear overview over the whole form. However, the design may suffer in this case as the checkout can look too cluttered. If you go for this option, consider creating a checkout one pager that is spacious in design yet concise in content.

  • Use the Mobile Boom to Your Advantage!


In the age of smartphones and tablets, having a well-optimized mobile page is an absolute must-have in e-commerce. Although Monetate reports that the “raw” conversion rate is higher on desktop devices in comparison to smartphones (4.68% and 2.03% respectively in the 4th quarter of 2017), most people prefer to just browse and look around on their mobile phone (51.06% for smartphones and 39.77% for desktop). These numbers vary from country to country, but the general trend shows that a responsive mobile site is crucial for customer attraction and retention. If you fail to attract the customer while they’re searching for their desired item on their mobile, you will already have missed out on potential sales.

Secure – Safe and Trustworthy

  • Make Use of Modern Security Technology


Apart from having a trustworthy design, you actually should BE trustworthy. Lots of innovative technologies are available only for smartphones or tablets, so when it comes to security in mobile payments, consider offering biometric verification in the way that Android, Apple, and Samsung Pay now do.

A study from MasterCard reveals that a staggering 93% of consumers prefer biometric verification, such as fingerprint, selfie, or an iris scan, over the traditional password system for mobile payments. This comes from the added security that biometrics offer, the fact that you don’t have to remember any password, and the convenience of being able to pay with a simple tap of a finger. Although there is still some work to be done to implement biometrics in a way that they can be used by everyone without any issues, it is nevertheless expected to replace passwords for the mobile market in the near future.

  • 3D Secure


In short, 3D Secure is an additional layer of security for online credit card payments that introduces another authentication step into the payment process. The old 3D Secure 1.0 has an infamous reputation, as it was quite invasive in the checkout process and cumbersome to use, which often resulted in a loss of conversion. It prompted the customer with a separate popup window and mainly used a static password as the authentication of choice.

3D Secure 2.0 finally allows for the use of biometrics, ranging from fingerprint, over iris scans, to selfie-verification, which is miles ahead security-wise and impossible to forget for the user. Other possible ways are verification with email- or SMS-codes, the use of a smartphone app, or customizable questions.

The question whether to implement 3D Secure or not is still a disputed topic, as it might scare some customers away due to its seemingly annoying process. 3D secure 2.0 tries to prove itself as a strong improvement over the 1.0 version, especially in terms of usability, but it still contains additional authentication steps which might be too cumbersome for some customers.

In order to successfully combat the staggeringly high cart abandonment rate, the modern online merchant has to elevate themselves from the competition. This can be achieved by catering to the customer’s very needs: better structure, visibility, ease-of-use, speed, and security. The points that have been mentioned in these blogs are merely the tip of the checkout-iceberg and there is a lot more to explore: feel free to contact our Optimization and Experience team at customersuccess@optile.net and gain in-depth insights into checkout optimization.

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