5 Ways Small Businesses Can Optimise Checkouts To Stop Losing Sales


Getting the online shopping cart right can be one of the toughest jobs a small business faces.

It’s so easy in a shop. Customers fill up a trolley or basket, maybe pick up a few extras on the way to the till, unload onto the conveyor belt and pay.

Simple, right? So why do so many get it wrong when it comes to the online checkout process?

The average shopping cart abandonment rate stands at approximately 68 per cent. Imagine walking around a big supermarket and seeing two-thirds of it packed with abandoned shopping trollies full of stock.

For any business owner that’s a statistic which can prove fatal. For small businesses it’s certainly something that will hinder any serious growth strategy. People are coming to your site, choosing products to buy and leaving without making a purchase.

What can you do about it?

Journey’s end

There’s no silver bullet or quick fix when it comes to making your shopping cart and checkout process perform better. Sometimes it takes a simple tweak for sales to flow; other times a total overhaul is necessary.

No website is the same, and you need to constantly research your audience and amend your overall strategy when considering your online sales process.

Who are you selling to?

What are their online habits like?

Are older or younger people more likely to be using your services?

It’s something we’ve written about in the past and is a theme that should be at the core of any website serious about business growth and improving the online side of their sales process.

Within the industry it’s mainly referred to as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). In simpler terms, it’s the process of having a well-designed website that’s as easy to use as possible and fulfils your customers’ needs as quickly as it can.

The checkout appears to be a common problem that hits the majority of websites, though. Focusing on them and fixing them is key for small businesses to improve conversions and boost online growth.

Common online checkout problems and solutions


Common online checkout problems and solutions


So, what are the most common checkout problems that some customers are reluctant to deal with and make them leave your website?

1: It takes far too long

If it only takes seconds for shoppers to add an item to their shopping basket, then is the balance right if it takes them up to five minutes to fill out forms? Do they have to jump through hoops when it comes to excessive security checks, and does the website direct them to different areas of the site when they just want to complete a payment?

How to fix it: Consider the information you really need as a business owner. Are you making your customers jump over hurdles unnecessarily? Delivery information is a must, but do you really need to make them enter their billing address too if it’s the same? Condense the process – Boots has recently come under fire for what ClickZ considers to be one of the lengthiest checkouts on the web.

2: Consider the mobile implications

It’s estimated that by 2020, mobile commerce will make up 45 percent of total e-commerce. Consider the above point; filling out lots of forms and navigating the sales process can instantly become much trickier on smaller screens. Is it easy for repeat customers to log into your site, add products to their basket and pay with the touch of a button?

How to fix it: Similar to the above point, the online checkout process not only needs to be condensed but also considered for mobile users. Simple login options for mobile users and payment buttons can help, as can PayPal integration to turn the entire payment process into a one-click solution.

3: Extra costs and a lack of transparency

A common problem that online shoppers can face is with a lack of transparency. Statista research a few years back showed that by far and away the biggest reason for online checkout abandonment was because shoppers were ‘presented with unexpected costs’. That can be anything from adding on VAT at the checkout to hidden delivery costs.


Want to streamline your checkout process and convert more sales for your website?


How to fix it: This goes back to total optimisation across the whole of your website. The more visible total prices are throughout the customer journey, the less likely they are to walk away at the crucial point of sale. Design your basket so that it calculates total fees as products are added so you’re not springing any unexpected surprises on your clientele.

4: A lengthy registration process

Something we’ve touched on in the form process. Obviously creating accounts is beneficial for both parties; businesses can hold key information about their customers while shoppers can log in and make the checkout process simpler. For first-time shoppers though, it can be a nightmare registering for a site when they only want to buy one product.

How to fix it: There are two ways. Make the registration process as simple as possible or completely reinvent how you collect data. Do you really need to lock people into your brand to reach out to potential customers? Consider a social media marketing strategy revolving specifically around data collection to attract new, fresh local leads.

5: The site keeps crashing

You may have the best checkout process in the world but it’ll mean little if your site’s unstable. There’s little worse when shopping online than the site crashing during the payment process, and having to fill out all those forms again.

How to fix it: Keep your site maintained and optimised at all times, not just when it needs fixing or when it suits you. Use fast servers and constantly look to improve the customer journey. That can also help organic leads; the faster and better a site works, the more likely it’ll be given a search engine rankings boost.


Want to streamline your checkout process and convert more sales for your website? How about optimising the rest of your site, too? Contact the Webpresence team now to find out more about our web development services.