Optimise Conversions: How To Do It at Checkout on your Ecommerce Site

Optimise Conversions_ How To Do It at Checkout on your Ecommerce Site

Ask any eCommerce store owner what their top goals are, and “increasing online sales (conversions)” will almost always be at the top of the list. 

But ask them how they plan on achieving that goal, and you’ll probably get a lot of blank stares.

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The thing is, there are a lot of ways to increase online sales. And while some are more complex, there are also many simple ways to do it. 

One of the simplest and most effective ways to increase online sales is to optimize your checkout process. 

Unfortunately, many store owners don’t give much thought to their checkout process beyond the basics of having a shopping cart and a payment gateway.

Think about it – if you can get more people to complete the checkout process on your site, you’ll see a bump in sales. 

But how do you go about optimizing your checkout process

Here are a few tips:

Design and Layout

Web Design Layout Guideline: 9 Most Important Rules Every Designer Must Know!

Your checkout design and layout play a significant role in whether or not people will complete the checkout process. 

Your design should be clean and easy to navigate. All the elements should be laid out and easy to find. 

And your layout should guide users through the checkout process logically.

Best shopping cart software will allow you to customize the design and layout of your checkout page. 

That said, here are a few specific design and layout tips to keep in mind:

  • Give Users a Visual Checkout Process: While it’s recommended to keep your checkout process as short and sweet as possible, you also don’t want it to be so short that users feel like they’re being rushed through it.

One way to strike the perfect balance is to give users a visual checkout process. That means adding a progress bar that shows users how many steps are in the checkout process and what step they’re currently on.

  • Use Clear and Concise Labels: The labels you use throughout your checkout process should be clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or abbreviations that users might not understand. 
  • Include Plenty of White Space: One common mistake made when designing checkout pages is including too much information and not enough white space. That can make your page feel cluttered and overwhelming, which will lead to higher bounce rates. 
  • Put the Important Stuff Above the Fold: Users shouldn’t have to scroll down to find the most important elements on your checkout page. These include the progress bar, the “Buy Now” or “Checkout” button, and the payment information fields. 
  • Highlight Required Fields: If you have any required fields in your checkout process (like a phone number or email address), highlight them. That will help ensure that users don’t accidentally skip over them. 
  • Add Checkout Buttons in Multiple Places (especially to the Bottom and Top of the Page): The fewer time users spend looking for your checkout button, the better. So be sure to add it in multiple places throughout your page — not just at the bottom. 
  • Make It Easy to Go Back: Users should be able to go back and make changes to their order anytime during the checkout process. The best way to do this is to add a “Back” button that takes users back to the previous step. 
  • Use Trust Indicators: Adding trust indicators to your checkout page can do wonders for your conversion rate. These include things like customer testimonials, security badges, and money-back guarantees. 
  • Include Customer Service Contact Information: No matter how well you design your checkout page, there will always be people who have questions or need help.
  • Include Credit Card Logos and Security Badges and Seals: If you accept credit cards on your site, include the logos of the major credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.). You also want to include security seals or badges (like PCI compliance, BizRate, and Verisign, for example). 
  • Allow Users to Continue Shopping: After users add items to their cart, give them the option to keep shopping. That can be in the form of a “Continue Shopping” button that takes them back to your product page. 
  • Differentiate Checkout and Continue Shopping Button Colours: Make sure the buttons you use for your checkout process are easy to see and distinguish from the rest of your page. One way to do this is to use contrasting colours for your “Checkout” and “Continue Shopping” buttons. You also want to add plenty of white space around these buttons to make them easier to click. 
  • Give User the Option to Create an Account After Checkout: Nothing aggravates users more than being forced to create an account before they can check out. So, unless you’re selling digital goods that need to be downloaded, don’t require users to create an account until after they’ve completed their purchase. 

User will gladly give their contact information once they’ve made a purchase. That’s because they want to track their progress, receive their confirmation, and be able to contact customer service if they need to.

  • Allow Customers to Print and Email their Cart Content: Have an option for users to print or email their cart contents. That can come in handy if they want to reference their order later or share it with a friend or family member. They might also be buying for someone else and need to send them the information. 
  • Allow Your Customers to Save their Cart Content or Add Items to Wishlist: Customers might not be ready to check out when they first add items to their cart. So, give them the option to either save their cart content or add items to a Wishlist. This way, they can come back at a later date and finish their purchase. 
  • Exit Popups Don’t Belong on Checkout Pages: Exit popups are those annoying popups that show up when you try to leave a website. They’re often used to offer discounts or coupons in a desperate attempt to get people to stay on the site. But they have no place on a checkout page. 

A better alternative would be to use an email follow-up series to offer discounts or coupons to people who abandon their carts. It’s the only non-interruptive way to do it, and it’s more likely to result in a sale.

  • Include Links to Your Privacy Policy, FAQs, Shipping Details, Refund Policy, and Terms of Service: These are all important pages that can help build trust with your users. So be sure to link to them on your checkout page. In which case, the best place to put these links is in the footer. 
  • Allow Your Customers to Review Their Order Before Checking Out: This is a must for any eCommerce site. Allow users to review their orders one last time before they hit the “submit” button. This way, they can catch any mistakes or errors and make changes before completing their purchase. 
Importance of Search Engine Submission

Be sure to include an Order Summary on the Checkout Page. An order summary is a great way to give users a final chance to review their order before checking out.

It should include the items they’re buying, the quantities, the prices, any discounts or coupons being applied and the total cost of the order. 


Optimizing Product Details Conversions

After ensuring your checkout layout and design are seamless, you next need to focus on your product details.

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The phrase “the devil is in the details” has never been more accurate than it is for eCommerce product pages.

You must understand potential customers are looking for as much information about the product as possible before they make a purchase.

They want to know what it’s made of, how it works, what size options are available, what colour options are available, how long it will take to ship, and more. 

If you don’t give them this information up front, they’re likely to go to a competitor’s site that does.

So how can you make sure your product details are optimized for conversions?

  • Use High-Quality Product Images: The first thing you need to do is use high-quality product images. People want to see what they’re buying, and they want to see it from all angles. So be sure to include multiple photos of each product and another image of the product while it’s in use if possible. 
  • Use Product Videos: In addition to images, you should also consider using product videos. Product videos are a great way to give potential customers a closer look at the product and how it works. They’re also a great way to build trust with your audience. 
  • Include Detailed descriptions: The next thing you need to do is include detailed descriptions of each product. It might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many eCommerce sites have vague or incomplete product descriptions. 

When writing your product descriptions, answer all the questions a potential customer might have about the product. The more information you can give them, the better.

  • Use Customer Reviews: Customer reviews are another great way to build trust with potential customers and convince them to make a purchase. If you have customer reviews for a product, include them on the product page. 
  • Include Shipping Information: Shipping information is another crucial detail potential customers want to know before making a purchase. They’ll want to know how long it will take for the product to ship, how much it will cost to ship, and whether or not you offer free shipping. 
  • Offer a Guarantee: Offering a guarantee is a great way to build trust with your audience and convince them to make a purchase. If you offer a money-back guarantee, include it on your product pages. 
  • Let the User Update Quantity or Add and Remove Items from Cart: This is a must for any eCommerce site. Users should be able to update the number of items in their cart and add and remove items from their cart without returning to the product page. 
  • Recommend Related Products: Once a user has added an item to their cart, you should recommend related products they might also be interested in. That’s an excellent strategy to increase the average order value and boost conversions. 
  • Offer Multiple Payment Options: You should always offer multiple payment options on your eCommerce site. The more options you offer, the more people are likely to find a payment method they’re comfortable with. 
  • Include Order Number and Contact Details: Not every customer wants to use the live chat functionality. Some would rather communicate via email or over the phone. Make sure they know they can reach out to you with any questions or concerns they have about their order by contacting you directly. 
  • Show the Final Price with Shipping and Taxes: The last thing you want is for a potential customer to get to the checkout page only to be surprised by the final price. Be sure to show the final price, including shipping and taxes, on the product page, so there are no surprises later on. 
  • Confirm if the Order is in Stock: Customers want to know if the items they’re interested in are in stock. Let them know from the get-go so they don’t waste their time trying to purchase something that’s out of stock. 
  • Give the Customer an Estimated Time of Arrival: In addition to confirming that the item is in stock, you should also give the customer an estimated arrival time. Let them know when to expect their purchase so they can plan accordingly.
  • Include Product Ratings and Testimonials: If you have product ratings and testimonials, include them on your product pages. That is another excellent way to build trust with potential customers and convince them to make a purchase. 

Customers want other customers to vouch for your products and squash any doubts they may have concerning your products and services. 

  • Include Gift Wrap/Message Options: If you offer gift wrap or message options, you want to include them on your product pages. That’s a great way to increase conversions, especially during the holiday season. Any little thing that can help the shopper save time and make their purchase easier is a win. 


Payment and Shipping

That’s where users abandon their carts the most.

When customers reach the payment and shipping stage, they’re almost ready to make a purchase.

But a few hitches can cause them to abandon their carts at this stage. 

Optimise Conversions: How To Do It at Checkout on your Ecommerce Site

So, how can you optimize conversions at this stage? 

  • Offer Free Shipping: Shipping costs are a major barrier to purchase, especially for online shoppers. Shipping costs are the number one reason why people abandon their carts. If you offer free shipping, include it on your product pages and during checkout.
  • Offer Free Shipping When a Customer Spends a Certain Amount: If you don’t offer free shipping outright, you can still entice customers to spend more by offering free shipping when they spend a certain amount. If you decide to do this, you want to add a progress bar during checkout so customers can see how close they are to qualifying for free shipping. 
  • Offer Multiple Shipping Options: Customers should have the option to choose from multiple shipping options, such as standard, express, and overnight. The more options you offer, the more customers will likely find a shipping option that snugly meets their needs. 
  • Offer Local Pickup: If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you should offer local pickup as a shipping option. This is a great way to increase conversions since customers don’t have to pay for shipping. 
  • Place Your Coupon Codes on Your Website: Nothing is more annoying than being made to search for a coupon code. If you offer coupon codes, make them easy to find. You can include them on your website, email marketing campaigns, or social media pages. 
  • Was $X, now $Y: When you offer a discount, it helps to include the original price and the new discounted price. This is a great way to show customers how much they’re saving. 
  • Offer a Payment Plan: You can increase conversions by offering a payment plan. That is especially effective if you’re selling a high-ticket item. Customers can make smaller, more manageable payments over time instead of one lump sum. 
  • Make Digital Download Instructions Clear: If you’re selling digital products, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to download their purchases. Include clear instructions on how to download the product. You can include these instructions on your order confirmation page or email receipt. 
  • If You Need Specific Information, Tell Your Customers Why: Don’t be afraid to ask for specific information during checkouts, such as a customer’s phone number or email address. But if you do need this information, be sure to tell your customers why. 
  • Improve Your Checkout Page Design: The design of your checkout page can significantly impact conversions. You want to ensure your checkout page is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The last thing you want is for customers to get frustrated and abandon their carts. 
How to Improve Your Conversion Rate by Maximizing Search Intent


Rewards and Special Offers

Don’t you love it when you make a purchase, and you’re rewarded with a discount on your next purchase? Or when you’re offered a special deal that’s too good to pass up? These are the kinds of rewards and special offers that can increase conversions.

  • Offer a Discount for Creating an Account: You can encourage customers to create an account by offering them a discount. This is a great way to get customers to sign up for your email list so you can market to them in the future. 
  • Offer a Discount for Creating an Account: You can encourage customers to create an account by offering them a discount. This is a great way to get customers to sign up for your email list so you can market to them in the future. 
  • Offer a Discount for Reviewing a Product: You can increase conversions by offering a discount for product reviews. Get customers to write reviews and post them on your website or social media pages, and in return, give them a discount on their next purchase. 
  • Consider a Loyalty Program: A loyalty program dramatically increases customer retention and encourages customers to make repeat purchases. Offer rewards for customers who make a certain number of purchases, and give them even more rewards for referring their friends. 
  • Run a Contest: Everyone loves a good contest, so this is a great way to get people talking about your brand. You can give away products, offer discounts, or even host social media contests. Just be sure to make the rules clear and easy to follow. 
  • Give Away Complimentary Samples: If you’re selling physical products, consider giving away complimentary samples. For example, if you sell skincare products, you could give away a makeup remover sample. Or, if you sell clothes, you could give away a free sampler perfume. 

One example of a brand that does this well is Freeman Beauty. They offer a freebie with every purchase, relevant to each product they sell.

  • Provide 24/7 Customer Support: No matter what time of day or night, your customers should be able to reach you if they have questions or need assistance. Provide them with multiple ways to contact you, such as email, live chat, and social media. 

Zappos is the poster child for excellent customer service. They offer 24/7 customer support and a year-long return policy.

Studies show that the more extended the return policy, the more people are likely to go through with a purchase. And while you may not be able to match Zappos’ 365-day policy, you can certainly try to extend your return policy as much as possible. 

  • Show Customers How Much They Have Saved: Many people are motivated by savings, so show your customers how much they’ve saved. That could be in the form of a percentage discount or a dollar amount. You could also highlight the savings on the product page or shopping cart.
  • Free Installation and Setup: If you’re selling physical products, offer free installation and setup. That’s especially popular with big-ticket items, such as furniture or electronics. Customers will be more likely to purchase if they know they don’t have to worry about setting up the product themselves.
  • Upsell with Gift Cards: Gift cards are a great way to encourage people to spend more money. They can be used as an upsell tactic by offering a discount on a future purchase. For example, you could offer a 10% discount on a $50 gift card. This is an excellent strategy to get people to spend more money without breaking the bank.
  • Offer a Price Match Guarantee: If you’re worried about people finding a better deal elsewhere, offer a price match guarantee. That will ensure that your customers feel they’re getting the best deal possible.
  • If No Upsell, Downsell: If you can’t upsell, consider down selling. This is where you offer a lower-priced product in place of the one they were going to purchase. For example, if someone is trying to buy a $200 product but can’t afford it, you could offer them a $100 product instead.


Experiment with Different Checkout Processes

Why One Step Checkout Remains Superior For Every Online Store

Ideas to Try: 

  • One-Click Checkout: Amazon made one-click checkout famous, and it’s a great way to streamline the checkout process. That could be a great option if you have a small product catalogue. 
  • Multi-Step Checkout: Multi-step checkout may be a better option if you have an extensive product catalogue or complex products. It allows you to break down the checkout process into smaller, more manageable steps. 
  • Guest Checkout: Many people are hesitant to create an account on a new website. If you offer guest checkout, they can purchase without creating an account. 
  • Social Login: Social login is a great way to make it easier for people to create an account. They can log in with their existing social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter. 
  • Save Cart: This is a helpful feature for people who want to save their cart later. They can come back and finish their purchase at a later time.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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