When People Are Leaving Your Website's Checkout, What Should You Do?

A selection of multi-coloured shopping trolleys

One of the key focuses of a digital strategy is to get people back to your website.  It doesn’t matter what industry you’re operating in, who your audience is or what your end goal is, you’re almost guaranteed to want visitors to convert on your website and so the more people you can get visiting, the more conversions you’re likely to see.

But driving traffic to your website is only one part of the conversion process – and if the other components aren’t running as effectively or as smoothly as they need to be, you’ll find you don’t see conversions being completed as much as needed. And a prime example of this can be seen with e-commerce websites that sell products or services that can be purchased directly from the website.

On these websites, people will land on the site.   They’ll find the products they like and they’ll add them to their cart.  They’ll then enter the checkout process – but if this process isn’t as effective or as efficient as it can be, you could so easily find you have a particularly high checkout abandonment figure; a large percentage of people who are leaving the checkout before they’ve made a purchase.

Something that’s unfortunately particularly common, how do you resolve it?  If people are leaving your website’s checkout process, what should you do to ensure this stops and they complete their purchase?

Go through it yourself

Generally speaking, you need to review the whole process and this should start with you going through the process yourself.

You need to add a product to your basket, hit the checkout button and then go through every step.  You need to make notes of everything, from how many sections there are to complete and which ones were necessary / required, through to how long the entire process took and whether or not you were presented with any ‘surprise’ information (such as postage costs).

So many people forget that they generally know their audience best.  They know what it is they’re looking for and are aware of what satisfies and dissatisfies them – and this is usually because they’d be their own customer.

Therefore, if you can create a process that you’d be happy to go through, it’s practically guaranteed it’ll be one that your customers will like, too.

Get trusted reviews

Whilst your potential customers may leave the checkout process as they’re frustrated with a part of it, they’re unlikely to explain exactly what’s annoyed them unless they’re prompted to – and even if they are prompted, it’s commonplace for only a small percentage to leave feedback.

But feedback is exactly what you need and so it’s strongly recommended to ask for it from people you trust and who will give you honest reviews.

Talk to your friends and family, ask them to go through the checkout process and then provide a review of their experience, mentioning anything they enjoyed or conversely, didn’t.

And make sure they go into detail / mention anything that may seem minor, as it’s often the smallest changes that can have the biggest impact.

Ask questions again and again

Above all else, the way to develop a first-class checkout process is to ask questions.  Whether that’s to yourself, your close friends and family or your customers (both potential and those who’ve made a purchase), questions are what are going to help you develop a process that truly meets your audience’s needs.

Is it too lengthy?   Too complicated?   Is information hidden until the end, that you could really do with knowing at the start?  Do people have to sign up or can they go through the process as a guest?

The reality is, you need to keep things as quick, simple and straightforward as possible.  As with all aspects of web design, your checkout process is an invaluable part of the customer experience and so by ensuring it meets your audience’s needs perfectly, you’ll be making it as likely as possible that people will complete the checkout process in full.

And when they do, you’ll not only have a sale, but you’ll have satisfied customers who’ll return and recommend time and time again.