The checkout page is a very critical part of every online store. No matter how good you market your products and attract customers, a non-optimal checkout page can drive them away.
A very significant percentage of customers add items to their cart and proceed to checkout but don’t purchase. The stats vary slightly, but the average checkout abandonment rate has fluctuated between 60% to 80% over the past ten years. It isn’t necessarily bad if you’re within this range, but you can do some optimization to decrease it to a desirable level below 50%. If your abandonment rate is greater than 90%, it means there’s something wrong with your checkout process, and it’s urgent to fix.
How to calculate checkout abandonment rate?
You calculate your checkout abandonment rate by dividing the total number of completed transactions on your store by the number of initiated checkouts that are abandoned, subtracting this value from 1, and multiplying by 100.
Reasons why customers abandon the checkout process
Some common reasons make customers abandon their planned purchases after getting to the checkout page include;
Forced account creation
Forcing customers to create an account on your store to complete a purchase can frustrate them. Not everyone is willing to give their details before buying things online, especially for an online store they aren’t very familiar with.
Unexpected shipping costs and restrictions
If the shipping cost is unusually high, it can deter customers from purchasing your items. Likewise, if the shipping options on your store are limited, customers would abandon the checkout if they don’t see the delivery option they want.
Complex checkout process
Customers are impatient, and you must have this in mind. If your store’s checkout process involves jumping through so many hoops, they’ll be discouraged from completing the checkout process.
Slow load times
If you don’t optimize your store for fast load times, impatient customers will often abandon the checkout process.
Inadequate return policy
Customers often look out for a store’s return policy during checkout, so they’ll be able to return your product if they aren’t satisfied with it. If your store lacks an acceptable return policy, then they’ll be discouraged from completing the purchase.
Lack of diverse payment methods
If payment options are limited in your store, customers won’t complete the purchase when they don’t see their preferred payment method.
Ways to Optimize Your WooCommerce Store’s Checkout Process
When using WooCommerce, there are many factors to consider and policies to optimize your checkout page to drive sales. They include;
1. Allow Guest Checkouts
Don’t force account creation on customers that want to buy items from your store. You don’t have to open an account to get things from a physical store, so why shouldn’t it remain the same with online stores?
Do away with the requirements to create an account on your WooCommerce store before purchasing. This way, customers can easily buy items without handing over their credentials. It’s a policy that’s bound to increase sales in your store.
Besides, you can also offer social media registrations for customers if they’re to sign up on your store. This method is usually easier than inputting their credentials all over again to create a new account.
2. Allow one-touch checkout
Allowing one-click checkout on your WooCommerce store will motivate customers to make purchases. Many payment gateways allow one-click checkout, such as Stripe. Find the gateways that do so and install them on your WooCommerce store.
A one-touch checkout plugin saves customers time and effort, making them attracted to spend more.
3. Upselling and add-on purchases
Upselling is a sales strategy that encourages customers to purchase upgrades to their selected items, exposing them to similar products they haven’t considered purchasing. Upselling is a marketing technique you can implement on your checkout page. You usually see it on online stores as “customers also bought” or “paired items.” It can inspire customers to buy more products.
The key here is to upsell reasonably. That is, don’t overdo it. There are many WooCommerce plugins you can use to upsell during checkout.
4. Include multiple payment options
In this era, customers can choose a vast range of payment options. Having multiple payment options will go a long way in encouraging sales. If you’re only providing traditional payment options like VISA and Mastercard, you’re missing out on customers who want to use many other payment systems.
Thankfully, WooCommerce delivers very well on enabling various payment options in your store. You can implement many payment gateways via plugins, for example, Stripe, Checkout.com, and Authorize.net. These payment gateways all have pros and cons, so endeavor to choose which one best suits your business.
5. Add Buy Now, Pay Later
‘Buy now, pay later (BNPL)’ refers to a crop of payment providers that let customers split their purchases into installments over a certain period. They’re relatively new but are expanding rapidly with time. According to payments processing giant FIS Worldpay, buy now, pay later is the fastest-growing e-commerce payment method globally and could reach $166 billion in annual volume by 2023.
Having buy now, pay later payment options on your WooCommerce store can encourage customers to spend more. Usually, BNPL users don’t mind spending more if they cover their purchases with a payment plan. They generally also spend more money on online commerce; a joint survey conducted by PYNMTS.com and Afterpay, a BNPL provider, found that BNPL users spend an average of $1,141 per week, far above the average $150 per week spent by non-BNPL users.
You can integrate a third-party BNPL provider on your WooCommerce store the same way you integrate a payment gateway. It’s often quick and easy to use. Some common BNPL providers include Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay. They generally charge transaction fees of between 2-5% of sales.
6. Highlight customer reviews
Customers like to know that they’re in good company when buying an item from your online store, and customer reviews are an ideal social proof ideal for them. When customers see genuine positive reviews of your products on the checkout page, it motivates them to complete the purchase.
A study from Northeastern University showed that highlighting customer reviews on an online store increases sales conversion rates by an average of 270%. Ensure you highlight reviews for your customers to see when they select a product, so it’ll inspire them to purchase.
7. Add an Exit-Intent Popup
Exit-intent popups are a technique to retain visitors who will leave your website. It involves tracking a visitor’s mouse movement, and when the cursor moves outside the upper page boundary (indicating they want to leave), a popup window will appear. This popup window can highlight promotions, coupons, and discounts to motivate visitors to spend more time browsing through products and potentially buying some.
Your pop-up window should have a clear, concise message. It can ask for customer emails to send them promos, highlight customer reviews, highlight urgent discounts, and so on. Exit-intent popups have been shown to save about 10 to 15% of abandoned cart visitors.
8. Sending abandoned cart emails
You can send email reminders to customers concerning their abandoned carts. Reminders help re-engage customers who ditched their checkout process for whatever reason to return and complete the purchase possibly. They’re a very effective tool; research shows that customers open 45% of abandoned cart emails, and half of the clicks on abandoned cart emails result in a recovered sale. You’re missing out on much if you don’t implement abandoned cart emails on your WooCommerce store.
There are many plugins and extensions to handle abandoned cart emails on WooCommerce, so pick the one that works best for you. Here’s a short guide on implementing abandoned cart e-mails to recover sales.
9. Offer free shipping for bulk/high volume purchases
Offering free shipping to your customers if they purchase a significant amount of items is an excellent way to encourage them to do so. From a customer perspective, free shipping encourages buying a certain amount of things to hit the limit to save on shipping costs. Customers know that shipping costs may not be worth it if they pick single items.
According to Statista, high shipping costs were the reason for 49% of cart abandonments in 2021, the most significant factor among many. You should avoid that by allowing free shipping for purchases over specific amounts, for example, $100 or $200.
Free shipping can help improve your sales conversion rates significantly if done right.
10. Highlight return policy & customer service on the checkout page
An inadequate return policy is a common reason customers refuse to complete the checkout process. If customers aren’t sure they can return a product when they aren’t satisfied, they would be discouraged from buying things from you. You should implement an acceptable return policy if you don’t have one, and ensure to highlight this policy on your checkout page.
Also, highlight any customer service options you have on the checkout page, so buyers are sure they can contact you if anything goes wrong. Gaining a customer’s trust is a primary factor in encouraging them to spend money at your store.
11. Implement loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are a marketing strategy designed to inspire customers to continue buying items at your store by offering certain perks when they make a purchase. The perks can include reward points convertible into cash, discounts, membership upgrades, e.t.c. Loyalty programs help personalize the shopping experience for your customers and encourage them to come back for more.
12. Let users modify or update their carts on the checkout page
Sometimes, customers already have items in their cart and proceed to the checkout page but change their minds on the number of things they want to buy. Often, they find it hectic to return to the product selection to pick what they want and could abandon the checkout for this reason. A way to alleviate this problem is to allow your customers to modify their carts right on the checkout page. Allow the option to remove or add some products on the checkout page. The benefits of reducing your checkout abandonment rate outweigh the risks of losing one or two products from your customer’s cart.
13. Add trust and security seals to your checkout page
Customers often embrace external opinions to judge the security of your online store. They’ll find it difficult to purchase if they don’t trust that their credentials are safe with your store. To improve your reputation for security, you can add some certification badges such as Norton Secured, McAfee Secured, or Verisign Trust seal. It’s a psychological technique that works well.
Also, make sure that your site is SSL encrypted. In this internet era, not having a valid SSL certificate on your website puts you at a significant disadvantage.
14. Offer subscription and recurring payments
Subscription e-commerce is a rapidly growing sector. It reached a $20 billion sales volume in 2020 in the United States alone and is projected to swell to $30 billion by 2024. If you have customers in regions where subscription e-commerce is huge, it’ll be good to add a subscription or membership option to your WooCommerce store. Some ways to do this include;
Access – create an exclusive membership club with perks including discounts and first-hand access to new products.
Replenishment – Offer subscription options to periodically replenish commodities such as razors, dog food, and toiletries. Customers appreciate when they can quickly get these commodities without ordering again once theirs runs out.
Curation – Offer exclusive product bundles to customers who are paying subscribers.
Subscription and recurring payments options are very effective in terms of marketing.
15. Show related products during checkout
Showing related products during checkout is a marketing tactic adopted by many big e-commerce vendors, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and many more. When a customer picks a product, you can suggest other similar products they may want to buy. The ideal tactic here is to suggest products cheaper than what the customers already have in their cart. It’s easier to convince someone to buy something more affordable than what they’ve already chosen rather than something more expensive.
Showing related products is a helpful tactic to increase your store’s average order value.
16. Auto-detect their country (through the IP address)
Suppose your customers come from all around the world. In that case, a practical technique to optimize your checkout page is by automatically detecting their country based on their IP addresses and showing them the relevant information.
For example, you may not offer shipping to certain countries for cost or regulatory reasons. It’s better to let a customer know upfront about the situation than to let them proceed to the end of the checkout process before they find out. You save them time and effort this way, and they’ll appreciate your gesture.
17. Optimize your mobile checkout experience
We can not stress this factor enough. Half of online browsing happens on mobile devices, implying that many of your customers would visit your store with a mobile device. Many people optimize their online store primarily for desktops and ignore the mobile aspects because they mostly use desktops to build and manage their store, but this is very wrong. What looks good on a desktop may not look good on a mobile device. Likewise, there are certain checkout features tailored for mobile devices that you should pay attention to.
Some ways to optimize your store’s mobile checkout experience includes;
- Have a very visible cart button at all times
- Implement a floating checkout button.
- Mobile devices have limited screen space, so keep the checkout page simple and free from clutter.
- Incorporate a progress bar to show customers where they are at all times in the checkout process.
- Use mobile-centric payment options such as Apple Pay or Google Pay
- Auto-fill information where possible
Here’s a helpful guide on optimizing your store for mobile phones.
18. Keep customers updated on the delivery timeline
You should keep customers updated on the timeline of their deliveries after they have bought an item from your store. Let them track their order via your e-commerce site to reduce worries. This strategy also reduces the number of customer service inquiries you’ll receive regarding shipments.
Many more strategies optimize your WooCommerce checkout page to drive sales. We’ve listed some of the most important ones. Ensure to follow them to grow your WooCommerce business to higher heights. You can also seek the service of a WooCommerce expert, maybe an individual or a dedicated agency, to help optimize your checkout page.