5 Must Have Elements of a Checkout Page

Your checkout page is ultimately where all the hard work, innovation, and time you took in building your site pays off.  Conversions take place at checkout. How well you have drafted your logo, product, and information are important components to your business but at the end of the day, the conversion must occur and this process becomes finalized at checkout. I’m surprised at the amount of sellers who don’t test different variations in checkout pages so set themselves up to lose enormous conversions going forward. I believe you should always learn from those before you, and this means understanding your competitors, and the way they do business. With that said,

Let’s focus on the key components to effective checkout pages.

The Right Number of Form Fields

Checkout pages are the one exception when it comes to how many form fields are optimal for your site. In this case, 72% of the time, it is more advantageous to use a greater number of form fields to create conversions. Unlike, simple opt-in forms where I’ve encouraged you to add as little form fields as possible, it’s going to be the other way around on checkout pages.

The general public is very hesitant to readily hand out their credit card information, cvc number, and expiration date. When this is the first thing consumers come across, it’s often met with distrust, and this type of reluctance does not seem to prevail when it comes to email addresses and personal information that could possibly lead to receiving free kits, coupons, or weekly newsletters.

This is why adding more form fields to your checkout pages can actually increase your conversion rates.

Building consumer trust is vital in marketing, therefore, adding more form fields actually increases the likelihood that customers will continue on to checkout. The more information you can gather when they are purchasing a product, the less they’ll question if the product will be delivered or not. For example, would you buy a product is during completion the seller failed to ask for your shipping address? The answer is probably NO because the first question you’ll have is where will the seller be sending the item to if they don’t ask me for my shipping address.

To avoid typo problems that result in credit card declines, it is best to go to your payment processor and uncheck verification boxes such as “verify address”. This simple step can limit the number of processing errors that occur and ultimately lead to a higher credit card approval rating.

Trust Elements Throughout Your Whole Funnel

Developing consumer trust is the most important factor in creating conversions.  Placing seals such as Truste and Verisign Secured can help customers feel more comfortable about exchanging their personal and credit card information on your site. Both these sites will verify your site making sure consumers know that you have been checked out. This means the information you have provided to your sellers is legit. This will ultimately go a long way in building your customer base, and increasing the bottom line.

Consumers need to feel secure the moment they land on your pages so it’s important to filter trust seals throughout your entire funnel, starting with your front end pages.  The likelihood that conversion rates will increase depends heavily on your placement of secure seals. Put them at the beginning and gain customer trust immediately.

Trust seals on your checkout pages won’t boost conversion rates significantly but placing them throughout the entire site can lead to nice gains at the end of the month. You could see up to a 10 % boost in conversion rates.

Finance and health industries lend themselves best to this tactic. If springing for a VeriSign or Truste Secured sign is not within your budget, you might opt for your own free generic version. These often produce similar results and will allow you to see a sizeable boost in your conversion rates after applying this strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (very important)

In short, addressing doubts will increase your conversion rate.

Customers will always have questions they need answered. Understanding what drives customers to buy and what inhibits their purchases allows you to address concerns effectively. This section is also perfect to keep updating with new questions being asked over time. Sometimes, the question customers need answered won’t be available by you, so having a forum can also help increase sales.

Using Qualaroo on your checkout page can help you develop an FAQ section. Addressing customer queries will help you to determine necessary adjustments and will ultimately increase your conversion rates. This tool provides analytics to make sure you get the right type of question on your site with full in-depth questions.

FAQ placement can also significantly affect conversion rates so you must test out different locations to determine optimal placement. Add a link towards the top or even the bottom which will easily allow people to find the FAQ section on your website.

Two Steps Are Better Than 1

Let’s really focus on our main objective. A checkout page is meant to be used as a conversion tool. Customers and potential customers will land on your checkout page so why not make it conducive to convert all who visit by using a two-step process?

By setting up a preliminary information page that gathers emails and addresses, you can focus on your potential customers. Those who are hesitant can be added to a remarketing campaign via email or seduced with coupons and promises of free products or services.

The second step will involve gathering credit card information. Customers will feel like they have already given their personal details on the initial page and thus will be more comfortable following through to the final stage.

Overall, this tactic will increase your conversion rate by 15%. Timothy Sykes used this approach and experienced a 12% increase in his conversion rate. In the end, you have to remember the following:

With a two type process, you’ll be able to get the MOST important piece of information which is the customers email address. This will allow you to send them updates about new products entering the market place which they’ll find interesting. You already know what products they had within their cart before abandoning so use this to your advantage, and segment them into a completely separate group. When you have specials on the same products or even similar products added to your inventory, you can send those same customers a follow-up email.

Help Your Visitors Through Live Chat

Live chat is another way to address customer queries and therefore make necessary adjustments to instigate customer conversions. If you take a quick look at some of the MOST popular websites online, you’ll notice they all have incorporated a live chat. As a matter of fact, even the websites starting out have incorporated a way to add chat onto their blog. Chat tools are very inexpensive so can be afforded by anyone who is just starting out.

To use this tool effectively, you need to ensure you have someone to answer questions 24/7.  Customers want to interact with live chat representatives immediately, so it’s vital to consistently employ someone to man this feature. I know this can be tough especially when you are on a budget, but you have to be on the grind on your own if you are just starting out.

Placement of a live chat on each page can be distracting to customers so test out utilizing this feature on just your checkout page. This is the place where most questions and uncertainties occur so placing a live chat can address these effectively. Again, chat plays as an important role as the FAQ section because customer will have questions which you thought you’ve covered. Having a way for them to ask new questions is a great way to add value, and increase the likelihood of closing a sale.

Social Proof

Social media has changed the way we communicate with each other, and this works enormously well for those who are in business. Through social media, and other forms of social proof, you can show people what others are saying about your business. Social proof works well because customers are just like others who are buying, and they trust them more than the word of a business, especially first time buyers.

Here are a few more things to pay close attention to, and understand…

Testimonials add great value to your site. Customers are always looking for reassurance when purchasing products online and product satisfaction is always foremost in their thoughts. A positive online shopping experience is what they are after and testimonials on your checkout page can be your tool to help them achieve this goal.

The addition of corporate logos or positive reviews can help sway consumers to believe that what you are offering is legit and well supported by public opinion. When using company logos from your consumer database, ensure that companies of all sizes are well represented. This will allow you to cover a large consumer demographic and avoid customer neglect.

Furthermore, it is crucial to create strong testimonials that include a person’s full name, location and picture. You will be surprised by how following these few simple steps can lead to conversions on your checkout page.

After the customer is done shopping and received their product, you can send them a follow-up email so they can share their feedback. It’s a great way for you to find what’s working, and what’s not. Learn from your customers, and ask them what you can change going forward to better improve their experience. At the same time, you can ask them for a “review” to post on your website as a way to show social proof.

Conclusion

As with all marketing, there is a need to test, measure, and make adjustments on a continual basis. I always tell my customers that no matter what niche your involved in your going to have to test to find out what’s working, and what’s not. The same applies to your checkout page, and gathering the right information from your customers. I’m always looking for ways to improve the user experience, and that is my objective no matter if I’m testing a form, checkout page, content marketing, etc.

Keep in mind, your business is unique, and therefore must stand on its own merits. What works for others may not yield results for your company. It’s all about competition and standing out because that’s what will force customers to purchase from you, and not your competition.

Optimizing your checkout page is a creative experience. Feel free to share with us any strategies that you have found to be successful and make the game of conversion a game everyone can play.