Supermarket aisle with product shelves on blurred background with empty shopping cart in foreground.
PHOTO: Piman Khrutmuang

The checkout process is one of the most important parts of any ecommerce site. It's typically where more sales are made, and where you can make your customers' lives easier. But it has to be easy for your business to manage, too! With that in mind, here are five ways you can improve your customer experience at checkout.

1. Provide a Progress Indicator

Progress indicators are a great way to inform users that their order is making progress. It can help reduce abandonment by providing an easy way for customers to see where they stand. When designing these types of tools, keep the following in mind:

  • Don't let users wait too long: Provide insight into what stage of processing your order is currently in — but don't leave them waiting for too long without giving any indication as to when the next stage might occur. You want to give your customer a sense of control over the situation and avoid leaving them feeling confused.
  • Don't distract with other content: Make sure there’s not too much clutter visible around performance indicators. Otherwise, people won't be able to focus on what matters — their order. Focus on providing clear details about options available at each step, so people don't miss anything important on checkout.

Related Article: 8 Ways to Improve Your Brand's Product Experience

2. Offer Guest Checkout

One of the most effective ways to increase conversions in the customer journey is by offering guest checkout. The more steps you can eliminate from your checkout process, the more likely that customers will complete their purchase. If they have already purchased from you before and are satisfied with their experience — they’ll be happy to bypass a lengthy registration process and take advantage of this convenience.

Your goal should be for every customer who completes a transaction using guest checkout to become an active user of your platform — and if possible, get them to leave reviews as well! To accomplish these goals:

  • Offer an incentive or discount for first-time buyers. This encourages new users to sign up and helps grow your active user base at minimal to zero extra cost.
  • Use an email followup sequence to nurture new users and drive them back to your site. This is an easy way to make sure you’re staying top of mind with customers who have yet to come back.

3. Make the Checkout Page Mobile-Responsive

Mobile commerce is a fast-growing channel and will continue to grow as users become more comfortable with buying on mobile. As a result, retailers need to ensure that their checkout pages are optimized for mobile devices. Ensure that you offer an intuitive user experience that doesn't require too many taps or clicks.

A good way to do this is by using one-column sections with clear labels above each field. This makes it easy for customers to know what they're filling out without having to scroll through everything.

You can also use features like autocomplete fields where possible. This will save time by eliminating typing errors in common fields such as names or addresses.

Finally, be sure that all elements of your page — from text size down through button placement — are readable regardless of whether someone has 20/20 vision or needs corrective lenses.

Related Article: 5 Trends in Ecommerce That Will Impact CX in 2022 and Beyond

4. Discount Shipping Costs at Checkout

You’re probably wondering why you’d offer free shipping when it seems like everyone is doing away with it. Well, the truth is that customers love it — especially if they don’t have to pay anything upfront to get their items delivered. Plus, there are many other benefits for ecommerce retailers such as increased conversions and average order value.

Here are some ways to implement this strategy:

  • Offer free shipping on all orders regardless of size or location. This can help boost your bottom line by encouraging buyers who might otherwise remove something from their cart — because they don’t want to pay a high delivery fee.
  • Charge lower prices on products if they're bought as combined purchases. This will not only encourage customers to make multiple purchases — but also motivate them not to leave empty-handed if one item doesn't meet their expectations after receiving it at home.

5. Provide Free Returns on all Orders

Free returns on orders are a great way to give the customer a reason to trust you — which can help boost sales and increase customer satisfaction.

It’s also worth noting that free shipping offers are not the same as free returns — while both help encourage more customers to purchase from your site, only one will provide a lasting benefit to your business. Free returns are an effective way of going beyond customer expectations and increasing customer loyalty — which can help you reduce costs in the long run.

Supercharge Your Sales With Checkout

The checkout customer experience is a crucial part of every ecommerce site. It’s the point at which your customer decides whether or not to complete their purchase — so it should be as smooth and easy as possible.

There are several things you can do to improve your checkout process, such as removing friction and offering incentives. But one of the easiest ways to make a positive difference is by implementing free returns on all products sold through your site.

Make it an intention to remove the stress of purchasing online for your customers. It will give them more confidence in your brand and help improve customer retention rates.