Q&A: Coast's Emma Bonar on checkout optimisation
I’ve been asking Emma about how checkout design has changed over the past few years…
New payment methods that simplify the process (virtual wallets like Paypal, then mobile payment options like Apple Pay) and the ability to save payment details for repeat purchases have significantly improved the path to purchase.
Payment methods vary significantly in different countries, as do address formats and even name formatting. Getting this wrong will deter most international customers.
Data protection is also a big issue, and you have to have security nailed – if you make a mistake and customer details are compromised it will be very difficult to regain their trust.
Any links that take the customer out of the path to purchase (for example not stripping out your website navigation in checkout).
Simplify login – social login, guest checkout etc. Make it as easy as possible. Single page checkout (so you can see all the steps on one page).
Absolutely. Departing form the norm is a risk. Validating the form in real time as the customer works through it was an innovation that has proved really helpful.
Stats in the checkout report show abandonment rates on the increase – why do you think this is?
More competition online, it’s not necessarily related to the checkout process, but simply the increase in competition online. Also the switch to mobile – if you don’t have a checkout that is optimised for mobile then you’re making life very difficult for potential customers.
Obviously newsletter login, but trigger emails that follow up with the opportunity to upsell are also effective.
One page checkouts appear less threatening, and have the advantage of allowing the customer to go back and correct information without having to start again.
I monitor the checkout funnel on a weekly basis to identify anomalies, but the most effective method is to conduct user testing where you simply watch customers attempt to check out in anger.
It’s easy to miss the pain points when you know the process too well.