5 Checkout Optimization Tips from the Shipping Experts

This article was provided by our partners at ShipperHQ.

Checkout optimization is undoubtedly one of the most important steps ecommerce retailers can take to increase sales and combat cart abandonment. But where to begin? Keep reading for our tips on building and maintaining a checkout experience your customers will love.

While there’s no silver bullet to creating the very best checkout experience, these five tips can provide incremental improvements that will make a big impact overall.

1.   Address validation

This might seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of your entire checkout process, but it’s a vital one. Address validation provides two benefits: accuracy and speed.

As a customer enters their address information, their address will auto-complete, offering a frictionless experience that helps the customer along.

On top of this little perk, address validation means you’ll never have to worry about sending a shipment to an incorrect or non-existent address again. Because one in 20 online orders are not delivered on the first attempt, refund costs can add up quickly. In addition, because residential areas can carry an additional fee, you’ll know exactly what type of customer you’re shipping to, avoiding unexpected charges for residential deliveries. By cutting down on failed deliveries, you’ll find your customers are happier, and so is your bottom line.

Our tip: enable address validation to cut down on failed deliveries and create a frictionless experience for customers.


2.   Make accounts optional

As you’re excitedly gliding through the ecommerce checkout process, nothing puts a damper on the process quite like being forced to stop and create an account. Not only does this require extra time, it’s also an unnecessary annoyance and a step many customers might not want to take.

Whether it’s a fear of unsolicited emails for years to come, or just a desire to checkout as fast as possible, there are plenty of reasons a customer might not want to create an account. To boot, customers now feel the pressure of being forced to remember those credentials any time they want to purchase from you in the future. While plenty of customers do want to create accounts, many don’t.

As a merchant, this might sound risky or impossible. The good news? It’s neither! You’ve got the control to decide whether accounts are required. When a customer checks out as a guest, you receive the exact same information you’d require from them to create an account, but in a quicker and more appealing way.

Our tip? Let customers decide whether they want an account with you. Don’t decide for them!


3.   Different shipping options

This one is straightforward, but many merchants don’t take advantage of the benefits of offering multiple shipping speeds.

Providing only one shipping option is a surefire way to frustrate eager customers. Even if your only shipping option is Free Shipping, you still have a number of customers who would rather pay extra for a speedier delivery. While you don’t want to inundate customers with dozens of options, providing 2-3 can help them feel like they have some say in the process.

One common strategy ecommerce merchants prefer is to offer a tiered Free Shipping option:

  • Free Shipping is offered to all customers (or those who meet a cart threshold). This is an economy, low-speed option but provides the price point many are after.
  • Standard Shipping is a paid, but significantly faster shipping option at a low cost
  • Express Shipping is pricier and faster, for those customers who want their orders ASAP

Our tip: Provide a few options for your customers to choose from, and consider a free option.


4.   Date and time

This is another example of a small detail that can make a big difference. If you’re able to offer Date and Time selection at checkout, you’ll capture the attention of discerning customers who want to know exactly when their product will arrive.

While the necessity of this might depend heavily on the products you sell – think pricy electronics versus flower seeds – it’s a sought after feature that many customers have come to expect. One PWC survey found that 24% of customers want to choose a 1-2 hour window for their delivery. While that’s only around a quarter of consumers, the number is growing every day. Even if you can’t offer a specific timeslot, just focus on transparency and choice for your customers. Any specific delivery information you can show at checkout will help improve your customers’ experience, as well as increase conversions.

Our tip: build logic into your shipping strategy that accounts for lead times to provide customers with an exact date and time of delivery.


5.   Post-order transparency

Your customer’s experience doesn’t stop when they click “Submit.”

After they submit an order, you can continue providing outstanding service by communicating clearly and proactively. Once the order is placed, you should have a system in place to communicate shipping and delivery updates, and let them know if any issues or delays are happening.

The moment of delivery should be the highlight of your customer’s experience. But without adequate communication, it could end up being an unpleasant surprise. One of the most common issues cited in negative ecommerce reviews is the shipping and delivery aspect of the order.

One way to mitigate negative opinions and limit bad reviews is to proactively ask your customers how you did. You’ve got lots of options here, from including a feedback request card with the order to following up with a “How Did We Do?” email. Whatever your method, giving your customers a chance to give their honest feedback gives you a chance to correct any issues, and lets your customers know that they come first.

Now that you’ve got 5 new checkout optimization tips in your pocket, it’s time to get optimizing! If you want to learn more about adding address validation, shipping rules and much more to your checkout process, sign up for a free trial of ShipperHQ, the world’s #1 shipping experience management platform.