Optimising Your Checkout Page to Increase Sales Leads
Fashion designers working

Customers once depended on floor staff to guide them through the shopping process while some store owners still rely on the charisma and persuasion skills of their salespeople to get customers to buy a product. eCommerce, however, requires different conversion tactics than its physical counterpart. The eCommerce store owner can only digitally recreate the art of salesmanship, and largely engage in the customer's shopping experience via web design mechanics.

Today’s customers have access to hundreds of websites, which means your South African online shopping store is but a speck of dust in the information sandstorm of the internet. With so many options, potential customers are often indecisive in terms of which eCommerce store to buy from. If a customer needs a new pair of shoes, for example, it does not mean they will purchase it today or do so at your store. It's up to you to positively influence their purchase decision.

Since the checkout is the last step in the buying process, it's also a crucial stage for you to convince customers to complete a transaction. Here, we examine four conversion elements that you could give shoppers when they arrive at your payment gateway.

Use a call-to-action (CTA) that keeps their focus on the checkout

You might have a few call-to-action buttons across your site but the final call to action, usually "buy now" on the checkout page, is the most important since it’s the step most vulnerable to shopping cart abandonment. The trick here is to not let the customer be distracted by anything other than the payment process – and this means getting rid of any fancy text, images and other clutter. However, the checkout page does require some design work to make the call-to-action the center of attention. Use a bold colour and large enough size to help the call-to-action button stand out. The shape and position of the checkout button also work in your site's favour; an arrow-shaped design and a top middle spot will allow your customers to better focus on the checkout process.

Include multiple payment methods that are safe and secure

If a customer prefers an electronic fund transfer, you should enable EFT payments via your payment gateway. If they're worried about entering their personal details online, show them that they can trust your website. Be transparent about the payment options as soon as customers land on the checkout page leading to the payment gateway. Make sure the payment methods are clearly displayed by making visible the logos of the credit cards your site processes. Also look at populating your checkout page with safety signs and your compliances with the latest security protocols to earn the trust of shoppers. When asking them to enter their details, let them clearly see an anti-malware icon on the page or a padlock/unbroken key in the URL, which indicates that the site is encrypted.

woman working on tablet

Offer them guest checkout

Many customers hate signing up for shopping privileges, often due to a site’s slow loading speed. Shoppers are becoming increasingly impatient and most don't have time to fill out forms. When you force them to create an account first, you could actually be pointing them away from a potential sale. If you believe that a registration process will give you better insights into your customers (this is true, by the way - having customers' details allows you to build better relationships with them), why not let them shop as a guest first and encourage them to provide their details at the end of the transaction. This way, they'll have a more attitude tolerant toward signing up, especially if you include some sort of benefit with the registration process.

Display a progress indicator

A progress indicator shows customers at what step of the checkout process they are and how many steps are left to complete. As previously stated, today's online shoppers expect instant gratification and when it comes to checkout, and their behaviour is no less different (remember how frustrating it is to wait in a checkout lane at the supermarket). Whether your checkout is a single or multi-page process, your customers want to be kept informed on how long the EFT payment or credit card processing will take. While not a requirement, a progress indicator at the top of the checkout page has become one of the best practices for providing shoppers with an incentive that will dissuade them from abandoning their shopping cart.

As the stage when your eCommerce business profits are actually generated, the checkout page should be one of the crucial targets of conversion rate optimisation. You can start with these four techniques to improve user experience, reduce shopping cart abandonment and ultimately perk up your revenue.