Optimize your Checkout UX to Maximize Conversions
4 Min Read
At Corra, we don’t like to throw around the term “best practice” too often. Why? Because when it comes to services like user experience design, the only best practice is to challenge best practices. These so-called “best practices” don’t necessarily consider your target consumer or the brand story that attracted them to your site in the first place. The most successful (and profitable) retailers tailor their user experience to their unique audience, rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all approach. This extends all the way to the point of conversion: the moment the visitor places the order and thereafter. We’ll discuss this further in the following paragraphs and address why the one-step checkout flow popularized by Amazon, isn’t for everybody. Here are three steps to consider when designing a checkout UX to maximize conversions.
Step 1: Question everything.
In the age of Amazon-dominant commerce, it’s tempting to play follow the leader. Amazon’s one-step checkout is seen as the undisputed best practice for checkout flows– and the logic is there. Fewer clicks or page turns minimizes the risk of a user bouncing or abandoning the cart. This, theoretically, should lead to more conversions, right? Well, not always. In UX you should question everything. Conduct your own tests and iterations.
What works for a “buy-all” site like Amazon may not work for a very specific luxury brand, nor a perishable goods brand, nor a subscription-based brand, etc. Each business model requires its own uniquely designed flow.
A consumer purchasing toilet paper and vitamin gummies from Amazon presumably wants to save time and effort. While a consumer purchasing a Chanel bag from The RealReal is likely to want more consideration and care factored into their checkout flow– if the process is too ‘quick and dirty’ it may be off-putting for a luxury consumer that values a thoughtful and personalized experience.
But what about mobile? Don’t we want to limit the actions a user has to take on their phone to alleviate the high cart abandonment rates on mobile? And the answer is: it depends. Again, experiment with the checkout flow to create a tailored experience for your target consumer. We want it to be as intuitive and easy to understand as possible, which doesn’t always equate to fewer steps. For instance, a consumer might opt for the added step of taking a picture of their credit/debit card, rather than typing in the card number. Although opening the camera is an added step, they will likely save time and effort. The effectiveness of checkout UX shouldn’t be measured by a specific amount of steps considered to be ‘best practice,’ but rather, how closely the checkout fits the wants and needs of any particular consumer.
Step 2: Research and Experiment.
When auditing your checkout UX, survey your target audience and conduct user tests to learn how visitors are interacting on your site. Additionally, you can heat map out your site to see how customers are shopping. Are they browsing the different categories and adding everything they want to cart, the Stella McCartney Monogram tote, the Prada strappy sandals, and the Calvin Klien tee… only to be discouraged by the $1,089 total in their cart? Do they then proceed to click the X on the lower priority items?
Take notice of how visitors are shopping to inform your design choices. For example, given the former, you may test and refine the way visitors readjust the contents of their cart to make it smooth and seamless with a clear X button, rather than requiring them to change the quantity to 0 or asking them to click ‘update’ (which is unnecessary and unintuitive in most cases).
You can also avoid diminishing your AOV (average order value) by offering more affordable personalized recommendations during this point in the checkout flow. Corra leverages partnerships with technologies like Adobe Target, Nosto, and Dynamic Yield, which use algorithms to analyze hundreds of retailer data points in real-time, to allow for this marketing personalization. For example, we worked with St. John Knits to drive up AOV on their cart page by recommending lower price-point items as “impulse buy” accessories. The brand is now driving 9 percent of its revenue through product recommendations across various pages on their site enabled by Nosto.
As you know, consumer data is an invaluable component in maximizing conversions. While transactional data is important, behavioral data, like the movement of a mouse, can be just as insightful. So can customer service inquiries or FAQs. Say your target demographic are ‘Henrys’ (high-income, not rich yet) A.K.A. millennials that like to travel a lot, and you find they’re repeatedly requesting scheduled deliveries in a narrower, more specific time frame to accommodate their travel schedules– you may consider adding this option to the checkout flow. This is yet another exception to the one-step checkout “best practice” rule. If users are confident an item will arrive before a trip, they’re more likely to convert.
Step 3: Optimize and Elevate.
Corra’s UX team is constantly testing and iterating new approaches. We look at analytics (bounce rates, time spent on each checkout step, etc.) to further optimize the UX and continue A/B testing after the new site goes live. It’s all about fine-tuning the details. Something as simple as a promo code reminder or automatic activation, further along in the checkout process (so visitors don’t have to backtrack to remember what it was) can be the difference between cart abandonment and a completed conversion.
You may not have the resources to analyze every detail of your customer experience design and perform a comprehensive UX audit of your site’s checkout, and if this is the case, reach out to Corra for a consultation. Our UX team has worked with the likes of Nike, Sugarfina, Eileen Fisher, Beyond Yoga, MAC Cosmetics, and many more. We’re always looking for inspiring brands across all industries to partner with and create beautiful user experiences for.