Do You Need to Check Out Your Check-Out Process?

July 10, 2020

The average cart abandonment rate is 69.57% due in large part to issues like an overly complicated process, requiring an account, and website errors. Every abandoned cart is lost revenue for your business.

As we head into the Q4 season, it is more important than ever to evaluate your check-out process. Improving this one aspect of your business can greatly impact your revenue throughout the holiday season and the end of the year. Keep reading for seven important things to know about your check-out process.

1. Your Check-Out Process Needs Improvement

It may sound harsh, but the likelihood that improvements can be made to your check-out process is high. For all brands, the online check-out process should be checked and regularly evaluated and improved. One study found that the average eCommerce site has about 39 points of possible improvement in their checkout process.

By optimizing your check-out process, you can save the seven out of ten visitors to your site that leave without buying. If you’re only bringing in 30% of your potential online sales each month, how much more could you earn by increasing that number? You can invest all of your time and attention into the look and feel of your site and still see subpar results if you neglect your cart.

2. Test Your Own Check-Out Process

When was the last time you walked through your own check-out process? If it’s been a while, that’s an indication your process needs some work. It is important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to make a purchase from your own online store. Notice what stands in your way, what is easy about the process, and what your overall impression of the brand is based on the experience (because your customers are doing the exact same thing).

Most eCommerce and online selling platforms allow you to place a test order. Sites like Shopify let you experience the entire check-out process for yourself. This provides a firsthand look at the process including inventory and shipping information, taxes to be collected, and any email notifications after a purchase.

Use Shopify’s Bogus Gateway to simulate a transaction within your check-out process:

3. Keep It Short

A long check-out process just offers more places for visitors to abandon their cart. While you may feel that each step in your process is necessary, that is likely not the case. It is important to realize that 23% of visitors abandon their carts because the check-out process is too long or overly complicated. In today’s digital world, we want what we want when we want it. Making people wait or jump through hoops is a surefire way to lose potential revenue.

It can be beneficial to let customers know what they are getting into when they start the checkout process. If they expect a quick process, they may abandon their cart by the third step. The example below for Dick’s Sporting Goods shows the process at the top of the screen. Visitors clearly know how many steps are required before they can complete their purchase.

Dick’s Sporting Goods provides an overview of the checkout process.

4. Keep it Uncomplicated

Sometimes keeping things uncomplicated means giving the customer all the information in the most efficient and effective way possible. For instance, if your product has a fee that isn’t exactly self-explanatory, it’s important to provide all the information necessary on the product detail page (PDP).

Below is an example of one of our clients’, PDP pages before we revamped it. For a subscription box product, it’s difficult for the customer to know exactly what they’re getting for each package.

Here is the product detail page our development team put together in accordance with CRO best practices that resulted in a 1,678% increase in conversion rates.

5. Test Payment Options

People are ready to give you their money. They put in their credit card information…and they get an error message. Imagine if you were in their shoes. You would be pretty frustrated after going through the entire checkout process only to have it fail at the final step. Prevent this issue by regularly testing your payment options.

Companies like Shopify allow for easy testing of payment types by simulating transactions in your online store. You can test a variety of credit cards and ensure each one successfully works with your check-out process and see how those payments are processed internally.

6. Allow Guest Check-Out

Forcing visitors to create an account before placing a purchase is a major roadblock. You are slowing down the entire process, which leads to 31% abandonment rate among visitors prepared to checkout. People do not want to give their personal information to yet another company and be added to another email list. Save them the hassle by enabling guest checkout like Barnes & Noble in the example image below.

Barnes & Noble allows for guest checkout.

7. Keep It Consistent

Your cart and checkout pages should feel cohesive with the rest of your site. This can help you build trust with customers as they give you their personal information. If visitors feel like they are being passed to another site, they might be wary of entering their credit card data. A consistent look and feel across your website and check-out process provides a smooth transition from browsing to purchasing. Apple is a great example of consistency in this area. View how similar the product page and checkout page are on their website.

Apple’s product page for AirPods:

8. Make Sure Your Site is Up to Snuff

An error is the last thing your customer wants to see when they are checking out on your site. This will not only cause frustration, but it’ll elicit doubt for your brand if there are bugs on your website. In fact, 15% of cart abandonment can be attributed to website errors or crashing. Keep your website running smoothly to avoid this issue as much as possible. If you are experiencing site issues or conducting maintenance, consider adding an alert banner to notify customers instead of leaving it as an unpleasant surprise.


If you sell products or services online, the check-out process is vital to your business. Removing roadblocks from checkout can greatly improve your sales by lowering your cart abandonment rate. Regularly testing your check-out process is essential and enables you to experience transactions from a customer’s perspective. For brands looking to improve their sales going into Q4, your check-out process should be a priority.

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