Often the last mile in a process is the most challenging, and that is certainly true of the eCommerce customer journey. Ecommerce store owners have to spend time and resources to attract and guide their customers to the point where they pull out their card to buy. If the customer abandons the cart during the final stage, you lose not only the sale, but all the effort getting someone to that point.
According to Forrester’s research, shopping cart abandonment costs eCommerce brands over $18 billion a year. Some margin of abandonment is due to browsing behavior. Annex Cloud reports that about 40% of shoppers place items in their cart without intent to purchase. This can be the virtual equivalent of asking the sales clerk to put something on hold in a brick-and-mortar store. Customers use carts to comparison shop at different sites.
Abandonment rates vary by device, too. The rate of people on cell phones abandoning carts is over 86%. At the same time, mobile commerce continues to grow: almost 73% of eCommerce sales take place on mobile devices. WooCommerce optimizes your store for mobile, not only for your customers but even allowing you to add products and run your eCommerce business from your phone.
Abandonment rates and steady growth in mobile commerce are just two compelling reasons it is vital to make sure the checkout process is as smooth as possible, or “optimized.” When we optimize, we create the best possible version of something. Let’s look at ways to optimize the WooCommerce checkout experience for customers.
WooCommerce Default Checkout
The WooCommerce Default Checkout is well-optimized out of the box. The simplified purchase flow design eliminates friction. Customers hate to re-enter information, so instant field validation immediately lets them know if there’s an error.
Customers who don’t see their preferred payment option will click away. With the WooCommerce Default checkout, you can set up dedicated express payments and accept multiple payment methods. And of course, the checkout has seamless integration with WooCommerce Payments. Default Checkout also supports Stripe, WooCommerce Shipping and Tax, Google Analytics, Square, PayFast, WooCommerce Subscriptions Product Add-Ons, Name Your Price AutomateWoo, Storefront Child Themes, TaxJar, and Points and Rewards.
Of course, you may still want to make some changes, depending on your business and customer. You can customize and edit features using Gutenberg, WordPress’ block editor. You can add or remove fields instantly without needing to code.
During the checkout stage, a trustworthy experience is critical to customers. Default Checkout carries your brand theme from your store pages through to checkout, so your customer never experiences confusion seeing a checkout page that looks out of place.
Ten Reasons Why Customers Abandon Checkout
There are dozens of suggested tweaks to optimize your checkout process. What should you focus on first? One idea is to look at why customers who have the intent to buy abandon the process in the first place. Baymard.com is a treasure trove of research about eCommerce user experience. The chart below shows the top reasons for abandonment during checkout:
This graph gives you a checklist of places to start when creating your checkout optimization strategy. The good news is some of these fixes are simple – WooCommerce Default Checkout implements some of them instantly.
Complaint 1: Extra costs too high (48%)
Customers abandoned their purchase due to extra costs at twice the rate of the next most common reason. It’s clear that if you can improve just on this metric alone, it can significantly affect your conversion rate.
Strategize how to lower extra costs, or at least prepare the customer to accept them. Transparency is key. Be upfront and clear about any additional charges. Provide flat shipping rates or tools like shipping calculators. Offer free shipping if possible, or bundle it with a loyalty program. Amazon realized early on that customers hate paying for shipping. They have had incredible success with their paid Prime membership, which includes free levels of shipping in exchange for a flat monthly or annual fee.
Complaint 2: The site wanted me to create an account (24%)
Gaining a customer is like dating. In an ideal world, all your customers would willingly go steady with you by creating an account. However, if 24% walk away because they aren’t ready to commit, the logical answer is to provide a guest account checkout process. You could also offer an incentive to them for creating an account. Finally, you can highlight customer reviews to help build trust with new visitors.
Complaint 3: Delivery was too slow (22%)
This one is tricky because fast delivery costs more, and as we’ve seen above, customers don’t like to pay extra for shipping. However, UPS maintains that 77% of shoppers will pay more for faster shipping. Do some research and see how customers in your industry feel about paying more for faster shipping.
Is your fulfillment process too slow? It’s not easy for smaller shop owners to compete with Walmart and Amazon’s fast shipping, but there may be options. Review your fulfillment process and see if there is room for improvement.
Complaint 4: I didn’t trust the site with my credit card information (18%)
There isn’t much in eCommerce that is easy, but every once in a while, you get a gift, and this is one of those times. If your checkout process is clunky and unprofessional to the point people don’t want to input their credit card, you could increase your conversion rate almost 20% by fixing it!
Creating a trustworthy checkout environment is an easy fix with WooCommerce. The Default Checkout helps you maintain trust through the entire checkout process with clear, safe and secure checkout forms that reassure customers that their transaction is secure.
Visuals matter here, too. Use trust seals and graphics that reassure the customer they can purchase with confidence.
Complaint 5: Too long/complicated checkout process (17%)
Customers don’t like long forms or being asked to input information multiple times. The interesting point is in checkout length vs. checkout effort – the number of steps isn’t the most important consideration: it’s the level of effort the customer has to expend.
Streamline the checkout page so that people can quickly make their purchases and move on. Tips for streamlining your checkout page include:
- Don’t ask customers to register until after the purchase
- Be transparent about shipping information and other costs
- Make the form as straightforward as possible
- Remove the navigation bar so the customer doesn’t click away
- Offer as many payment options as possible
- Limit distractions and clutter on the checkout pages
Complaint 6: I couldn’t see/calculate the order total upfront (16%)
Just as with unexpectedly high costs, the answer to this complaint is transparency. Your checkout flow may not be intentionally misleading, but if the customer can’t see a running total or is surprised at the last step, about 15% of them will click away.
Complaint 7: The website had errors / crashed (13%)
Sometimes website problems are beyond your control. Every eCommerce merchant knows the importance of robust hosting; if your site is experiencing technical issues, consider shopping for a better host. Review your plan before busy season and do what you can to avoid problems due to traffic spikes.
Complaint 8: The returns policy wasn’t satisfactory (12%)
The main thing people don’t like in a return policy is paying for return shipping. 69% of shoppers don’t want to have to pay if they are going to return the item. Some won’t make the purchase in the first place, or they will buy from a competitor that offers prepaid shipping return labels.
On the flip side, you can increase customer loyalty here. 96% of shoppers will become repeat customers if they have an easy return experience, and 90% highly value free returns.
Complaint 9: There weren’t enough payment methods (9%)
With WooCommerce payment extensions, it is easier than ever to offer various payment methods. If you only accept Visa and PayPal, you may be losing almost 10% of your sales. Keep in mind that digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Venmo and WooCommerce wallet are increasing in popularity with customers.
Complaint 10: Declined credit card (4%)
You can’t control your customer’s credit situation. However, you can send follow-up emails to remind them to come back and try again!
Ready to Optimize your WooComerce Checkout?
Optimizing your WooCommerce Checkout is a combination of psychology and technology. Customers with intent to purchase abandon shopping carts for two main reasons – the experience of checking out becomes annoying, or they don’t like your policies.
Review and test your checkout process from start to finish: as you can see, small improvements can yield significant increases in your conversion rate. We have even more tips on improving your conversion rate here, or for some personalized advice, you can set up a call with a WooCommerce consultant today.