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What happens after clicking the 'Buy' button? 6 Best practices to increase conversion at checkout

e-commerce retailers spend a lot of time and money on marketing and advertising to their customers, enticing them to browse and buy. On an ecommerce site, algorithms often reveal recommended products on pages designed to make browsing simple and free from friction. But it’s the final hurdle in the payment stage, that’s often the most important. The point of payment is too often neglected, resulting in shopping cart abandonment.

Stats don’t lie. Research from the Baymard Institute found that 69% of customers do abandon their shopping carts, more than 1 in 4 due to the payment process being too cumbersome. Others have highlighted the lack of one-click payment options, unintuitive payment pages and the lack of local payment methods.

The following advice could improve conversion rates for merchants by up to a double-digit percentage.

Offer a local payment experience
Conversions will always increase when familiar payment options are offered at checkout. In some countries - such as the UK - cards and PayPal tend to be more common, however other methods can prevail in other geographies. This is the case for iDeal in the Netherlands (60% of the transactions), Sofort Uberweisung in Germany (16% of the transactions) or Boleto in Brazil (15% of the transactions).

Merchants should therefore take several parameters into consideration, such as where this customer is based and which device is currently being used. Since the purchase is carried out locally, it is important for merchants to offer a series of payment methods and currencies which match local shopping habits. Furthermore, the ability to provide multi-language support at checkout will allow customers to complete their purchase flawlessly.

Choose the right payment mix for your business
Beyond offering the right choice of local payment methods, each merchant should fine tune its payment strategy according to the nature of their business. For subscription-based sites, cards are normally the most used method of payment. For countries where cards are not the most popular payment method, it is a plus to have alternative payment options or payment method combinations that can be chosen instead, i.e. iDeal or Sofort Uberweisung for the first transaction and a direct debit for the following transactions. Options will also vary from a digital service to actual retailers. While retailers may prefer payment options that are less risky as they are shipping high value items, digital goods merchants could prefer to accept more of a risk as the loss of a digital good is less material.

It is also interesting to compare the costs of adding a new payment option with the increase in conversion rate offered by the payment option itself. Although the ability to offer a wide choice of payment methods might seem tempting to provide the most convenience, in our experience, too much choice is counter-productive. Offering more than 4 payment method types can impact conversions negatively.

Thanks to A/B testing, merchants can fine tune their payment pages in order to provide those payment methods that are likely to work better.

Provide clear instructions
To avoid confusion and help customers navigate the (sometimes lengthy) checkout process, it is advisable to provide clear instructions throughout the checkout page. For instance, a short description next to a CVV field will help the customer know where to find the information and subsequently input the right data. Error messages should be very visible and explain in a detailed way what is expected from the user.

Fast track returning customers
To make sure loyal customers enjoy a fast checkout, offering them to pay in just “one-click” is a must. Merchants can now take advantage of tokenisation technology to store customer payment data securely and recalling such information every time a transaction is made, without having the customer input payments details again.

Maximise conversion
When a customer’s payment option is declined, merchants should automatically suggest an alternative option, enabling the sale to be completed. Offering alternative payment methods allows a customer to complete the transaction. An additional way to maximise conversions and minimise fraud at the checkout, is to use Dynamic 3D secure, an enhancement to the additional security layer developed for credit and debit card transactions by the card schemes. A sophisticated Rules Engine triggers Dynamic 3D Secure if there is a need to selectively route questionable traffic (this is based on transaction value, amount, location, user seniority, and more), resulting in reduced walkaways and a liability shift.

Analysing customer behaviour
Knowledge is power. The more it is understood about the shoppers’ checkout journey, the more it can be done to enhance it and streamline it. Merchants should capitalise on the wealth of data recorded from the various checkout pages, in order to spot where and when issues are likely to arise. Based on this intelligence, merchants should work with a payments partner that is able to analyse, provide insight into the accumulated data, and implement the necessary changes to the checkout page in order to increase conversion rates.


Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 24 November, 2017, 16:24Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

All of these are valid, if somewhat old and operational, techniques for boosting ecommerce conversion rates. These days, ecommerce companies are taking size of target audience and conversion rates to a wholly new level by supporting deferred payment, installment payment and other brand new modes of payment e.g. Affirm, Klarna.

Yuval Ziv

Yuval Ziv

Managing Director, Digital Payments


Member since

25 Aug 2010



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