Optimizing your e-commerce checkout for more purchases


As two different “universes,” e-commerce and brick-and-mortar commerce require totally different approaches to sales improvement. For example, there is the purely e-commerce problem of having your customers leave a store without buying anything because they change their mind right at checkout. Today, we will take a closer look at this issue and discover ways of optimizing your e-commerce checkout.

In a physical store, you would rarely see a customer running away with a basket or trolley right before paying. However, in the effortless world of e-commerce, the “easy come, easy go” approach works. It is easy to order things in a few clicks, and the same time it is easy to suddenly change your mind for whatever reason, get distracted, etc. So let’s see how things can be improved!

Ways to optimize your online store checkout

Simplicity and clear calls-to-action

We have already mentioned the “effortless world of e-commerce,” and your checkout should match this philosophy. All the necessary steps should be clear and obvious, and there should be as few as possible. Checkout is not the place to collect marketing data. In addition, the checkout design should be as simple as possible (while maintaining the overall website’s look and feel), so users can purely focus on the process.

No email address fuss

Forcing your users to sign up before making a purchase risks losing them. It is a good idea to offer a guest checkout option. If you still have to demand their email address, do it as early as possible.

Many shops use another practice. At the checkout step, users are confronted with questions about whether they are returning or new customers and whether they would like to sign in, sign up or checkout as a guest. Too many options might make people scratch their heads. Often, they do not even remember if they are registered and which email and password they are using for your online store.

A nice solution would be to leave the guest checkout as the default option, and just offer the sign-in and sign-up options as additional ones. Their benefits should be emphasized (the ability to view their purchase history, accumulate bonuses, etc.). When users choose to sign in, recognize them and provide the form with autocomplete.

Progress bar

Progress indicators will let even the most impatient or busy users know how much (or, better yet, how little) is left for them to do. It is always great to see the distance to the desired goal. Users will know you are not determined to ask them tons of information.


By detecting your user’s country, you can make their checkout more personalized by showing them the right currencies, local shipping options, etc.

Savings summary

The information about how much a user saves on discounts and promotions always looks irresistible in the checkout summary, especially if there are multiple promotional products.

Choice of payment options

Users have their favorite payment options, and their presence or absence can become crucial in the buying decision. So it is great to offer as many as possible.

More trust

The logos of trusted payment providers, as well as SSL certificates and other signs of safe purchases, look incredibly convincing.

No unexpected shipping costs

Shipping costs are never a small detail. If there is a risk that they push users away because of they are high (i.e. in international shipping), it is worth mentioning the rates before the checkout.

In addition, it sometimes happens that a store promises free shipping as a promotion, and then suddenly the checkout displays a shipping fee to a user (for example, because this promotion does not work for certain cases). Keeping the stated rates and those at the checkout consistent is vital.

All information and a little more

Users should have to make no extra effort for anything. For instance, you can offer delivery via a well known shipping service and ask users to choose their preferred delivery point. It is necessary to provide the full list of their addresses, so they never have to Google it. This adds convenience and creates a feeling of order.

Mobile optimization

Users more and more often buy things on the fly, so your checkout must be perfectly optimized for all devices. The fields should be large enough to input the information, the keyboard should pull out, the maddening autocorrect feature should be off, etc.

No place for bugs

Last, but not least, is polishing your checkout process to perfection and giving it a good usability test for every possible user action. The checkout should do things users logically expect, work smoothly, quickly and reliably, with no errors or unnecessary warnings, etc. Only when this is true will the other elements above matter.

Final thoughts

Your checkout is always the final step to your little victory — the purchase that your customer makes. Enjoy more victories with us! Contact our Drudesk developers who will optimize your e-commerce checkout in accordance with the best practices or create an awesome online store from scratch!

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