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Swift Six: Creating a website checkout customers will love

By Nick Leech - November 6, 2014

In this month’s video, I’ll be taking a look at things you can do to streamline your checkout. The aim here is to make sure people who begin the process of buying from you actually end up parting with their money. So if you’ve noticed a high abandon rate at your checkout, then this guide is for you.

Hello and welcome back to another Swift 6! This week I’m going to be talking about what makes a good website checkout. This advice is for websites and users that are certainly more advanced than our other bits of advice but this applies whether or not it’s you who’s actually designing and working on the checkout or you’re managing a team of people who are working on the checkout – this advice is relevant for you.

First of all, make sure that there are no unnecessary steps in the checkout. Don’t ask for any information except the strictly necessary. Keep all additional questions, the ones that you need to know only after the transaction has completed to the point that the customer has already purchased the product.

Second off, use transparent pricing. What I mean by this is don’t give any of your users a nasty surprise when they arrive at the final basket and they see that the amount that they have to pay is more than they thought it was going to be. This typically includes things like VAT or post and packing. It’s the biggest reason that people abandon their shopping cart – those unexpected costs.

The third thing is to give your users a variety of payment options. People want to pay in lots of different ways. Some of them want to use credit cards or debit cards, others are really familiar with using systems like PayPal. So it’s important to give them a really good choice. And, of course, don’t forget those users who are uncomfortable paying online at all and make sure that at the point that they have to pay that they can fill out a form or give you a call in order to complete the transaction.

The fourth thing – make sure that you have a quick checkout for customers who are returning to buy additional products, returning after they’ve already made an account in their previous visit. One of the most frustrating things on a website is being asked for your username and password and really not having a clue what that is, trying a few options and then eventually giving up. So make sure that people who are returning to your site, even though they may have an account with you, that they can buy things, that they can check out without needing to remember their username and password.

The fifth thing – don’t have any distractions during the checkout. Don’t give any new information or additional information for the user to browse as they are trying to complete a purchase. Any essential information they should already have by the time they pass through your checkout. Don’t allow them to click out of the checkout to go and check out other things on your website. Amazon are really good at this. You’ll notice when you’re buying things at Amazon that all of the links to everything else just disappear. The number one aim of the checkout is to get people down that corridor and get them out through the checkout door. So, don’t give any distractions.

And lastly, the sixth thing is: make your customers feel safe and secure when they’re in the checkout and when they’re on your website generally. At the very least use SSL to encrypt the page and give that browser bar padlock, the green bar of your browser bar that an SSL can give you in order to make your customers feel secure. But, of course, many people won’t know what SSL means or what HTTPS in the URL means so use other hints and text advice in order to make really clear to the customer that their data is safe, that you don’t save credit card information, and also include other trust marks, even like using seals like credit cards and so on.
Ok, that was the Swift 6: How to make a good checkout. I’ll see you next time!

Further reading

If you’re struggling to attract people to your website in the first place, try our guide to building links and mentions for your site.

Alternatively, if you’re struggling to get visitors to even begin the checkout process, this guide should help you solve that issue.

You can read about how to buy an SSL certificate to secure your checkout here.