Successful Checkout 101: Improving Customer Experience (Part 1)

 October 30th, 2018

In the ideal world of ecommerce, a checkout is just a bridge between “I want this product” and “I bought this product”. No complications. No obstacles. Yet, in reality, retail businesses face a serious challenge: combatting shopping cart abandonment. In other words, they need to motivate as many customers as possible to succeed through a checkout. But why are so many online shopping carts abandoned anyways? According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.89% (June, 2018). While this number also includes user sessions where customers had no intention to purchase, the following table comprises the biggest reasons for cart abandonment if a purchase intention was given:

Even though points like a slow delivery are hard to address directly, 5 out of 10 problems, like an overcomplicated checkout process, lack of trust in the payment page, account creation, missing local payment methods, or credit card declines can be combatted by an optimized payment setup and data management or by introducing a transparent checkout structure.

For both new and returning shoppers alike, it is crucial that the whole customer experience is smooth, simple, and secure. By highlighting these three aspects and showing what you can do to elevate yourself from the competition on the ecommerce market, we provide you with our expert insights about how to improve your customer experience.

Smooth – Delight Your Customers, Optimize Your Conversion

  • Customer Account Registration

Every retailer knows that a created customer account serves as a sign of customer loyalty and comes along with higher customer retention – that’s why many retailers try to register their customers as soon as possible. Who would say no to building a base of loyal customers?

The main problem is the timing. When a customer is fixated on spending their money on your site, don’t interrupt them with the secondary task of creating an account. Yet many retailers do, with the result that this is the number 2 (37%) reason for cart abandonment. The most important thing when a customer started a checkout is to actually convert the sale and requiring account creation may deter many customers. Visibly offering a guest checkout option is an efficient way to entice new customers to commit to a purchase.

Still, it is incredibly valuable getting your customers to create an account, but the best timing for this is directly after they’ve passed through the checkout. Simply send them an email after the purchase or offer them to create an account with the data they’ve already provided right after the checkout. Also, think of enabling one-time registration and inform your customers about the important benefit of creating an account: registering on your site once, they will be able to reuse their payment and address data for their next purchases. This will increase the probability that they will choose you over a competitor.

  • Go Global, Be Local

Even though many customers might be just fine with simply using their credit cards, still some prefer alternative payment methods (APMs): they are user-friendly and secure. More importantly, not offering enough APMs is the reason why 8% of shoppers abandon their cart.

If you plan a global rollout, be aware of differences in the payment culture of your international customers. Whereas such APMs as SEPA Direct Debit or Sofort might be popular in many European countries, they are unknown in other regions. Offering a country-specific payment mix leaves a professional and trustworthy impression, as the customers will see exactly the methods they normally use without any unknown ones cluttering the page.

  • One-Click, Express Checkout and Co

One of the biggest advantages of buying things online versus the traditional retail shopping is a quick access to the products or services on-the-go, no matter where your customers are. Still, customers want to invest their time in shopping itself rather than waste it on a cumbersome checkout. Amazon realized that fairly early and quickly patented their OneClick payment. This was without a doubt one of the big reasons why Amazon has become the ecommerce giant they are nowadays. In 2017, Amazon’s patent for the OneClick checkout has expired. Now, implementing one-click feature yourself is undeniably of the best things you can do to delight your customers.

Payment methods that allow express payments also speed up the customer journey. PayPal, AndroidPay and ApplePay, being the most popular of the kind, function as online wallets, which are usually connected to customers’ bank accounts. They enable effortless payments without having to fill out any annoying forms.

In case of PayPal, although they usually require login in a separate window each time you intend to use it for a payment, they now have implemented the OneTouch feature. Once activated in a PayPal account, OneTouch allows you to just click on a single button to purchase a product online, without any other tediousness that might occur during a regular payment process. Being quick, effortless, and familiar, this is a great way to win new customers and delight your recurring ones.

  • Temporarily Saved Customer Data – More Converted Shoppers

20% of customers surveyed said they would abandon their shopping cart if they had to re-enter their data after the site has crashed or another error occurred. Nobody wants to waste their time by having to re-enter their data over and over again. But there is a simple trick for this problem: temporarily store the customer’s data during their visit. That way, if the customer gets back to the checkout form after a crash or after having added a couple of additional items to the cart, they can pick up again right where they left.

  • Fewer Card Declines – More Revenue

There is nothing more annoying than getting your card declined at the end of a checkout process and it likely leads to the customer abandoning their cart altogether. Card denials might stem from non-updated credit card information, an overdrawn account, a failure of the payment gateway, or simply a typing error.

Many credit card companies offer an automatic card update service, for example the VAU from Visa. This feature allows a direct data update to all qualified merchants in case of a change in the card information.

Another way to combat denials is automating your denial management. You can setup a retrial sequence for a payment to go through – the transaction will be repeated after a specific time period again and again until the processing succeeds. This strategy works especially for subscription businesses where recurring payments often fall victim to something simple like exceeding a time-based withdrawal limit of a card.

While the first part outline the most important points of how to create a smooth checkout experience, the second part of the article will explain how to deliver a simple and secure customer journey – stay tuned. In the meantime, we want to share our expertise in customer experience with you: to gain in-depth insights into checkout optimization, feel free to contact our Customer Strategy team at

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