Online Cart: 6 ideas to test and optimize your checkout process


The checkout process is one of my favorite parts of a sales funnel to optimize.

For customers, it’s where the excitement of their purchase is only a few steps away, and for marketers, it’s one last chance to connect with customers before they leave your site.

And through testing with our Research Partners, I’ve discovered a few basic test ideas that can help you achieve some quick lifts while saving your limited resources for testing opportunities that further develop your customer theory while hopefully increasing ROI.


Start with the low-hanging fruit

When you think about your sales funnel holistically, every test opportunity you discover has the potential to increase your ROI, so optimizing the lower-hanging fruit opportunities first can save your testing resources for plugging the bigger leaks in your funnel.

Here are a few suggested quick-win opportunities to implement first:

Test idea #1. Include a cart summary as supporting information throughout the entire checkout flow that includes any relevant information such as price, quantity and any discounts.

Test idea #2. Offer editing tools that let users make changes to their cart throughout the checkout process.

Test idea #3. Use security seals and provide multiple checkout options like PayPal, Google Checkout and Amazon Payments to mitigate elements of user anxiety in your checkout process.

Test strategically beyond the low-hanging fruit

In a perfect world, you could test everything. But, that is simply not an option as limits of time and budget often impact test planning and execution.

So, here are some suggested strategic testing ideas that go beyond the low-hanging fruit:

Test idea #4. Use a conversational tone that talks “to” customers and not “at” customers throughout the checkout process.

One example that comes to mind here is copy that asks for shipping information posed as a question: “Where should we ship your widgets?” or “What is your contact information in case we run into an issue with your order?”

Test idea #5. Add or reduce the amount of steps in your process to mitigate perceived customer friction in your checkout process.

For example, you can test to determine if it is better to have more steps with less form fields required within each step, or fewer steps with more form fields required within each step.

Test idea #6. Arrange the form fields to alleviate customer anxiety.

Shipping information may not generate as much customer anxiety as a payment method. Therefore, you may want to test the order of when you ask for these items in your checkout to discover which is optimal for your ideal customers.

These are just a few test ideas that I’ve discovered through my research, however, so feel free to share any checkout flow testing ideas that you’ve found helpful in the comments below.


Related Resources:

E-commerce: 2 benefits of presenting competitor pricing on your website

E-commerce: A/B split test produces 36% more cart completions

E-commerce: 6 quick cart changes

Reducing Cart Abandonment: 4 main reasons why customers leave your shopping cart and how a few tweaks can stop the leak (Web clinic replay)

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  1. Andrew Hiddleston says

    Great ideas for testing. I’ve seen #4 create huge gains in past tests.

    Again, great list of testing ideas.

  2. Josh Harris says

    Agree with Andrew, #4 has been a great test for me as well.

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