Last updated: How to improve online checkout for better CX and more conversions

How to improve online checkout for better CX and more conversions


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For the modern e-commerce retailer, the world can seem like an endless series of choices and adjustments. Do you focus on new customer acquisition or conversion? Do you grow your email list or your social media accounts? Do you partner or build?

All of those questions exist in an environment of round-the-clock change and pressure. No matter the size of your business, shoppers expect speed and convenience throughout their buying journey.

A useful way to cut through the noise is to improve online checkout by exploring the ideas of identity and simplicity:

  1. Personalized: Do you know your customers, and how easy is it for them to navigate your site?
  2. Build trust + loyalty: Do you know enough about them to keep them coming back?
  3. Great CX: And when they come back, is their next visit even simpler than the first?

If your online checkout doesn’t work, your customers will check out – and not in a good way. A better experience starts HERE.

You really get me: Personalized online shopping

Many of us have had the experience of arriving at a website, adding some items to a cart and then promptly hitting a wall of frustration at online checkout.

Instead of the retailer knowing the inputs to fields we’ve filled out dozens of times—street address, zip code, credit card information—we’re forced to complete these checkout forms yet again. In many cases, the mere appearance of an unfilled form leads us to abandon the website altogether.

Whether they know it or not, those snap judgments have a powerful effect on shoppers, and by extension, on retailers. Thus, understanding who your shopper is can help you pre-populate pages, recommend the products and services that they’ll love, and curate a shopping experience that feels boutique and custom-made.

Understanding shopper identity is what makes a retailer distinct from the big, monolithic websites of our day. By understanding who your shopper is, you give them the feeling of being understood, and not another number in a database.

When you know and have the trust of that shopper, you can feed them personalized recommendations to keep them coming back to your website again and again—increasing the amount they spend at your store in each order and over their lifetimes.

Tech tools can help establish identity, at a level that feels both respectful of people’s privacy and personal information and useful to retailers looking to create a welcoming experience. Advanced tools help merchants help identify shoppers right when they arrive on their websites—which then helps shoppers throughout the buying journey and improves online checkout.

Build customer lifetime value with improved online checkout

The work doesn’t end once they’ve purchased, of course. Most digital-first retailers know the value of customer accounts. By having someone register with you, you’ve built trust and longevity—you’ve given yourself the chance to showcase products they might like and smooth out their purchases in the future.

This results in increasing conversion, soaring shopper lifetime value, and higher average order values.

When retailers talk about lifetime value, they tend to focus on a dollar amount. But it’s worth focusing on the input, not the output: Have you taken the steps necessary to help customers build accounts, so that you can start to build lifetime value? Have you made it as simple as possible to stay in touch with the people who have already given you their business?

Account creation is the first step in building lifetime value—and it’s one that many retailers overlook.

Alas, on the long to-do list most retailers face, the idea of designing a tech platform for accounts is a lot to ask, especially at a time of tight budgets and cost pressures. Technology can help here, too. The best tools out there feel like they’re tailor-made for you and your customers—but in fact, they exist as networks, bringing groups of shoppers together so that account creation on one site benefits all sites. Those networks grow over time and become more precise, which increases the value of accounts even more.

Simplify online checkout, reduce abandoned carts

Broken online checkout systems still plague many retailers. The numbers here are self-evident: Almost three-quarters of people will add items to cart, then leave in frustration.

Oftentimes, this happens when checkout is too cumbersome, takes too long, or requires too much information from them. That adds up to hundreds of billions of dollars every year in lost sales.

Don’t think of it as a failure on the part of the customer to complete the final task. Instead, think of it as a chance for retailers to make things easier for customers. It’s rare in digital retail to find a solution that can provide immediate returns, but improving online checkout is one of those rare fixes.

Virtually overnight, ROI can increase; customer satisfaction can go up. There are millions of dollars and thousands of hours devoted to perfect every other part of the funnel. But it’s in that last stage—checking out—that a retailer can often obtain the most return on their time and investment.

Renovation, not reinvention

Too often, improvements to the online customer experience are treated as expensive reinventions when they should in fact be renovations. There are obvious areas of improvement—like checkout, or account creation—that don’t require months- or years-long overhauls.

The process for improving the online checkout experience is about using technology to make improvements today, not in some distant future.

It means using tools that the biggest retailers in the world have known about for years, but that would be impossible to build for one-time use.

Ultimately, it means working with partners who know the difficulties that retailers face, and that want to be in the business of helping them focus on identity and simplicity—on knowing customers better and making their lives simpler. In the cacophony of hacks and techniques, taking action on these two ideas pays dividends, both now and in the future.

Flexible. Agile. Future-proofed.
The power of hybrid, composable commerce is real.
Discover real-life examples of success HERE

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