Four Essential Elements of eCommerce Checkout Design

Four Essential Elements of eCommerce Checkout Design

As of July 2013, 67.75% of potential eCommerce customers abandon their shopping carts. Many shoppers choose not to complete their online purchases because of poorly designed checkouts. Christian Holst, co-founder of Baymard Institute, says, “Things like meaningful flow, good copywriting, simple form design, and privacy considerations go a long way to creating a great checkout experience.”

Here are some of the most important elements an eCommerce site’s checkout system should have to encourage customers to proceed with the transaction.

Simple, Linear Processes

Customers are more likely to complete the checkout process if it’s simple and linear. An example of a non-linear process is one that requires a customer to create an account in the middle of the checkout process, and redirects them to the previous checkout step upon completion. This can confuse them or make them think they did something incorrectly. The best solution would be to omit sub-steps altogether, but sometimes they are unavoidable. In this case, make sure customers will be sent to the next step in the checkout process whenever they complete a sub-step instead of sending them back to the previous step.

Reducing the checkout process to a single step is the best way to get customers to complete their transactions. If multi-step processes are absolutely necessary, it helps to provide a breadcrumb trail that displays the steps in the process and shows customers which step they’re currently on.

Informative Form Field Descriptions

Form fields should have labels and supplementary descriptions. Some labels can be ambiguous and confusing on their own, and customers will need additional information to figure out what the form fields are for. Add short descriptions beneath the fields, but use smaller font sizes or hide them using “What’s this?” buttons to prevent them from overwhelming customers.

Provide visual guides for fields that require customers to find information or numbers on a document or card. For example, use images to show users where to find the CID on their credit cards.

Clear Button Labels and Error Messages

One of the basic tips in user interface design is to use clear, concise copy for help text, buttons, and error messages. Avoid using general or contextual terms such as “Continue” and “Back” for checkout buttons. Use more specific phrases such as “Check Out Now” or “Proceed to Next Step” for button labels.

Customers often feel discouraged from continuing if they keep making mistakes while filling out checkout forms. Error messages should be clear and specific to help customers figure out what they did wrong and how to fix it. Place error messages beside the problematic field and use visual indicators like bright colors to prevent customers from overlooking them.

Visual Assurances

Most customers won’t be aware of how form security works, and rely solely on what they see on a checkout page to determine if it’s secure or not. Without the proper visual assurances, many customers will hesitate from continuing the transaction regardless of the site’s actual security. Including visual markers such as security icons and badges and using a professional-looking page design can help assure customers that a website is secure.

Including these four elements into a checkout page’s design makes the transaction process easier to complete, provides a better user experience, and improves customer loyalty. Call us and let our team of eCommerce web developers and designers create an online store with high customer retention and transaction completion rates.

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