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Hacking the Shopping Cart: How to Engineer Your Checkout Process for Maximum Revenue

You’ve worked hard to drive traffic to your online store. You’ve created an amazing product that solves your customers’ needs. You’ve written compelling product descriptions chock full of SEO keywords. But there’s one thing standing between all those product views and sales: the checkout process.

If your shopping cart and checkout flow aren’t optimized for conversions, all that hard work driving traffic and showcasing products goes to waste. You know what that means: lost revenue. But with some thoughtful shopping cart engineering, you can turn your checkout process into a money-making machine.

Take a look at these tips for maximizing revenue by optimizing your ecommerce checkout experience.

Simplify with a Single Page Checkout

Single Page Checkout

Remember the days of filling out billing info on one page, shipping address on another, creating an account on a third page? Ugh. Modern customers expect faster, easier purchasing experiences.

Enter the single page checkout. This checkout format consolidates all the steps shoppers need to complete a purchase onto one page: shipping address, billing info, payment details, etc.

How does this layout drive revenue? By removing friction and streamlining the process into a few quick steps. Checkout completion rates are 35% higher on single page checkouts according to Baymard Institute research.

When evaluating single page checkout options, look for features like:

  • Auto-advancing between sections

  • Clear progress indicator

  • Option to create account at end

  • Single “place order” button

Let’s check out home goods site Wayfair as a single page checkout example. See how they progress shoppers through each section, making it easy to speed through checkout in just a few clicks? That’s revenue-boosting checkout optimization at its finest.

Offer Guest Checkout

Offer Guest Checkout

You want customers to create accounts on your site. It helps build relationships and target repeat purchases. But required account creation during checkout results in massive abandonment.

Baymard research shows allowing guest checkout leads to a 39% lift in conversion rate. Why? Shoppers are lazy. And scared of spam. Forcing them to stop everything to create yet another account is a dealbreaker.

Offer guest checkout to remove that friction. Customers can zip through on impulse without the pressure of account creation. You can always gently prompt them to create an account after checkout is complete.

Home security company SimpliSafe nails the post-checkout account invite. See how they make it optional while highlighting membership benefits?

Optional account sign-up is a win-win. Customers aren’t forced to register before buying, but you still surface the long-term value.

Limit Distractions with a Minimalist Design

Limit Distractions with a Minimalist Design

Cluttered, overly dense checkout pages distract customers and increase abandonment. Keep your checkout focused on the essentials only: shipping, billing, payment. Additional info and links should be minimized or removed during checkout.

For example, leading footwear seller Zappos uses a super clean checkout design:

The visual hierarchy draws attention to key action areas like the payment button while removing extra navigational links. This reduces cognitive load for hurried shoppers trying to complete a purchase.

While you’re simplifying your checkout page, make sure help info is easy to access. Zappos includes prominent support links for common questions like returns and exchanges. Just keep help text hidden in expandable sections so it doesn’t clutter the interface.

Guide Shoppers with Progress Trackers

Guide Shoppers with Progress Trackers

Lengthy checkout forms are daunting, especially on mobile. Shoppers aren’t sure how many steps remain. Progress trackers save the day by visually displaying where a customer is within the checkout journey.

Fashion brand Everlane uses a multi-step tracker:

The simple visual splits the process into three clear stages, setting expectations upfront. Shoppers can track their progress as they complete each section.

Meanwhile, salad chain Sweetgreen opts for a dynamic linear progress bar:

As users complete each field, the bar fills incrementally. This gives real-time feedback on completion percentage.

No matter which format you choose, progress trackers reduce abandonment by making large forms feel more manageable. Shoppers can gauge how long checkout will take and motivate themselves to continue.

Build Trust with Social Proof

Build Trust with Social Proof

First-time customers lack an existing relationship and credibility indicators to build trust with your business. Social proof like customer reviews, security badges, and guarantee badges help put hesitant shoppers at ease.

Cosmetics retailer Glossier displays badge logos for Norton and Trustpilot right in their checkout sidebar:

These credible third parties provide external validation that it’s safe to share payment details.

Similarly, popular jeweler Mejuri surfaces a stream of customer tweets praising their purchases:

Seeing authentic customer experiences provides social validation, overcoming doubt.

Test different trust-building elements like reviews, security seals, guarantees, and testimonials right in your checkout flow. They demonstrate social proof in moments when shoppers need reassurance to complete a purchase.

Make Mobile Checkout a Breeze

Make Mobile Checkout a Breeze

Cart abandonment on smartphones averages 87% according to SaleCycle research. Yikes! Avoid losing mobile revenue by optimizing your checkout for thumb-friendly tapping.

Ensure users can easily:

  • Tap payment fields

  • Select options like address auto-fill

  • Access the keyboard without fields being covered

  • Review order details while entering info

  • Tap prominent call-to-action buttons

Office supply staple Staples makes mobile checkout easy with a single-column layout:

Payment fields stack neatly to minimize thumb scrolling and typing. Tapping keyboard arrows auto-advances between fields.

This smooth mobile experience demonstrates the value of optimizing checkout across devices. Meet customers where they are already shopping—on smartphones.

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Payment flexibility equals higher conversion rates. Offering diverse payment methods improves cart completion by 27% says Payment Demands. Why? People have differing payment preferences. Covering more bases increases the chances shoppers can pay with their desired option.

Major retailers like Target excel at offering choice:

Providing various card options plus PayPal, Apple Pay, and Target account payment dramatically reduces abandonment. Customers can pay however they prefer.

At minimum, make sure to offer:

  • Major credit/debit cards

  • PayPal

  • Popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay

  • Local/regional payment favorites

  • Installments like Klarna

Supporting the top payment methods for your customers removes a huge potential friction point.

Streamline Checkout With Autofill

Streamline Checkout With Autofill

Filling out stacks of payment and shipping fields is tedious on both desktop and mobile. Autofill saves customers time and taps by automatically populating fields where possible.

Autofill options include:

  • Saved profiles for returning customers

  • Integrated address book access

  • One-tap email/password login

  • Browser autofill for name, address etc.

Tech giant Apple does autofill right across all devices:

Logged in users can blast through checkout with a couple fast taps. And Apple intelligently masks stored credit card details, balancing convenience and security.

The fewer fields shoppers need to manually complete, the better. Enable autofill to remove laborious data re-entry during checkout.

Prioritize the Place Order Button

Prioritize the Place Order Button

The only checkout action that matters is customers hitting that purchase button. Make sure it stands out. Prioritize it visually so shoppers don’t miss the call to action.

For inspiration, check out how outdoors experts REI highlight “Complete Purchase”:

  • High contrast green button pops on white background

  • Prominent position at the bottom with white space

  • Clear final call-to-action wording

  • Button styling matches branding

With this visibility, customers are sure to find the button quickly. They know exactly what to tap to finish the process.

Never hide your purchase button in hard-to-find footer links or non-contrasting styles. The button placement and visual prominence can make or break conversion rates.

In Conclusion Your online checkout process isn’t some static form you simply publish and forget. To maximize revenue from all that hard-won site traffic, you need to engineer your shopping cart and checkout flows for sales.

Optimizing page layouts, streamlining steps, offering conveniences like guest checkout and autofill—these design tweaks collectively impact your bottom line revenue.

Meeting your customers where they are, whether on mobile or desktop, delivers the purchasing experience they expect in 2023. Build trust and reduce abandonment through UX choices guided by site analytics and baymard research.

It’s time to turn your checkout from revenue leak into high-converting moneymaker. Follow these shopping cart optimization tips and you’ll be ringing up online sales like a pro.

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