You've gotten your customer on your site, and even to the checkout page, but (as you well know) your efforts don't end at the "Add To Basket" button. If you want to encourage your website visitors to complete their purchases, you need to double-check your checkout process.

Any e-commerce site owner knows the frustration resulting from the abandonment of a full shopping basket; all online shops suffer from a certain amount of checkout abandonment. But the most likely causes of a high rate of abandonment are few, and they're relatively simple to rectify.

Here are three key areas that can generate improved conversions if you pay attention to them. I explain what steps to take in each area and why doing so will improve conversion rates.

1. Optimize the checkout process

You don't have to look far to find one of the main reasons for customers' abandoning their purchase at the checkout: your checkout process.

Making sure you comply with the following three checkpoints will maximize completion rates:

  1. You do not force registration for purchase.
  2. You offer more than one payment option.
  3. Your procedure is simple and quick.

Forcing registration to your site in order to complete the checkout stage does little more than cause potential customers to abandon their purchase.

Many customers will be first-time purchasers, and they may not initially plan on using your site to purchase again. Trying to force the issue will often put such buyers off. So make sure you include a "Checkout as Guest" as well as a "Register and Checkout" option.

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image of James Duval
James Duval is a technology and business expert for GKBC and a freelance journalist.