If a customer was engaged enough to make it all the way to the checkout page, before abandoning the sale, odds are, something’s amiss in your checkout process. The shopper encountered some sort of resistance they didn’t care to put forth the effort to overcome. It could have been an unexpected fee, or an additional hoop through which they needed to jump.

Whatever it was, following these checkout page best practices is likely to purge it.  

Eliminate Surprise Costs

OK, think about it for a moment; you’re at the grocery store, you’ve gathered your items, the cashier has rung up your purchases and you’re about to pay when they ask, “Would you like bags for an additional 10¢ each?”

If this were the first time you encountered the question while shopping for groceries, would you hesitate?

Of course, you would.

Now, let’s say you sell ebooks online.

Your customer finds the titles they want, and you’ve disclosed the price of each one along the way. But they encounter an unexpected “download fee” of 10¢ per title when they hit the checkout page.

That shopper is going to hesitate—and that hesitation might just be long enough for them to decide to shop a competitor to see if they encounter that fee there.

If you’re going to impose shipping charges, additional fees, or any other requirements, tell them about it before they get to the checkout page.

Provide a Shortcut to Checkout

Place your shopping cart icon on every page with a direct link to checkout and conversions will increase. Even better, keep a running tally of the cost of the items in the cart next to the link. This way, they can also see what they’re dealing with before they get to the checkout page.

Going back to our grocery store analogy, it’s easy to look in a physical shopping cart and get a rough idea of what you’ll be spending. But it can be difficult to keep track when you’re shopping online. Ensuring your customer remains informed all the way through the shopping process prepares them when they get to the pay point.

Save Account Creation for Later

If you insist upon having shoppers create accounts before completing a purchase, you’re going to chase people away.

Let’s return to the grocery store. Most of them have rewards programs now. Imagine how you’d respond if they INSISTED you enroll in their rewards program before you could complete your purchase.

Would you do it, or would you tell them to take their rewards card and shove it —into their reader?

Yes, it’s a great thing for your business to build up your mailing list with people who have willingly signed on. But if you try to make people do it before they buy—most won’t.  Give them the option of checking out as a guest and invite them to join after they’ve paid.

Provide Security Assurances

When you must ask people for personally identifiable information, place an info button next to the request. Have it explained why you need the data, how you will use it and what you will do to protect it.  

Earn trust seals from respected entities such as BBB, Norton and McAfee. Make sure your host meets the Payment Card Industry security standards and your site remains complaint with all current standards. Further, when software updates are issued, install them right away.

These are the four main reasons shoppers do not complete the checkout process. Adhering to these checkout page best practices will mitigate customer concerns regarding them. Other things you can do include making the checkout page a simple as possible, label everything on it intuitively and make the page fun by carrying your voice all the way through the checkout process.

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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