11 Ecommerce Checkout Best Practices: Improve the Checkout Experience and Increase Conversions

The volume of sales you’ll process through your ecommerce website depends on the effectiveness of your checkout. Research shows almost 70% of shoppers who’ve added an item to their online cart abandon the checkout process without completing their order.

As part of conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy, you want to make the ecommerce checkout process as smooth and friction-free as possible, while still collecting the information you need to process an order.

Use these ecommerce checkout optimization tips to recoup lost revenue and improve your store’s conversion rate.

1. Showcase trust signals

Online shoppers purchase from brands they trust. But your mission to build trust doesn’t end once they’ve added an item to their online shopping cart. Continue proving to potential customers that your ecommerce website can be trusted with sensitive payment information via trust signals.

Trust signals do what they say on the tin: reassure customers your business can be trusted with sensitive information (most importantly, their credit card details). Examples of trust signals you can use throughout an online checkout include:

2. Make the checkout mobile friendly

In 2021, nearly one-third of US internet users used their mobile device to make a purchase each week. A mobile-friendly checkout encourages these shoppers to complete the transaction.

Take this example from The Citizenry. Its online store uses Shopify Checkout to provide a mobile-friendly experience. The checkout page automatically resizes for a small screen, and shoppers see large finger-friendly checkout buttons and fonts that encourage them to complete a purchase through their smartphone.

Three screenshots showcasing a checkout with large fonts and buttons on an iPhone Safari interface.

The Citizenry shows a customer’s order summary, available shipping methods, and express checkout options on its mobile-optimized checkout page.

3. Remove additional costs

Did you know 55% of shoppers abandon their online cart because extra costs are too high? Shoppers want to know the price they see on product pages is the exact amount that’ll come out of their bank account.

Sometimes, there’s no way around additional costs like shipping, customs, or tax. But by presenting this information on the product page or offering free shipping to orders over a certain threshold, the additional costs don’t come as a surprise—one that deters them from making a purchase.

4. Show a checkout progress bar

Best practice is to remove all unnecessary form fields at checkout. Studies have shown the fewer fields an ecommerce checkout process has, the more likely a customer is to complete the form. A fast checkout flow convinces 27% of people who would have otherwise abandoned their online cart to continue their purchase.

Alex Birkett of Omniscient Digital suggests, “If you have a free shipping threshold, create a dynamic banner that shows how close they are to unlocking free shipping. I’ve tested this and it’s usually either null or positive on conversions, but tends to increase AOV and revenue.”

That said, there’s a lot of information you need to process orders—especially if you offer customized or personalized products. In that case, show a progress indicator so people know how long they’ve got before their order is complete, like this example from Taylor Stitch.

Beige checkout progress bar shows three stages of the checkout flow: customer information, shipping, and payment.
Taylor Stitch has a progress bar on its checkout page to show an online shopper how many steps are left before completing their order.

5. Allow multiple payment methods

Customers have a selection of payment options to choose from when purchasing online. Some 7% of them will abandon the checkout process if the site doesn’t allow them to use their preferred method of payment.

Improve checkout conversion by allowing customers to pay using their preferred payment option. That includes:

  • Shopping apps like Shop Pay
  • Credit or debit cards
  • Buy now, pay later options like Shop Pay Installments
  • Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay

St. Frank’s checkout page shows bright purple Shop Pay and yellow Amazon Pay buttons against a gray and white muted background.

St. Frank allows shoppers to complete their purchase using Shop Pay or Amazon Pay.

6. Autofill their shipping and billing address

The more time someone spends in the checkout flow, the longer they have to rethink their decision.

Speed things up with Google Autocomplete. It prefills a customer’s billing and shipping address when they start typing it, which is proven to save time by 20% and reduce mobile errors.

Google Autocomplete

7. Hide the discount code field

Nine in 10 shoppers use discount codes when buying online. But if they’re initiating a purchase and showing a discount field, they might exit the checkout flow to find one.

Consider hiding the discount code field behind a dropdown (like Shopify does on mobile). That way, it’s still there for customers who have a promo code to redeem, but not off-putting to potential customers purchasing without a coupon.

8. Use upsells or cross-sells

Help people get more value from their order with upsells and cross-sells.

An upsell recommends a higher priced product similar to the one already in their shopping cart. Cross-selling recommends products that complement the items they’re buying. If someone has a $19.99 three-piece bowl set in their cart, for example, recommend a $24.99 one that contains five items, or a $3.99 mug that matches the bowl set.

The added bonus: both upsells and cross-sells increase average order value, so you squeeze more revenue out of each customer.

Ecommerce checkout page with a yellow right-hand column that shows chicken and beef broth products with a multipack option beneath.

Kettle and Fire recommends complementary products to soon-to-be customers through its checkout design.

9. Allow a guest checkout

A quarter of people abandon their shopping carts because the site wants them to create an account. Ditch forced account creation and keep online shoppers engaged by offering one (or both) of the following options:

  • Guest checkout. Allow shoppers to complete their purchase with an email address. A few weeks after their order has been placed, send a follow-up email that encourages them to create an account.
  • Social media account login. Allow customers to log in using their social media accounts, such as Facebook or Instagram, to complete their purchase. There’s no extra work involved in creating their account, but you still benefit from accessing customer data.

Order summary for a $32 black tee with a “Check out as a guest” button beneath a bright purple “Pay Now” button.

Ketnipz uses Shopify Checkout and doesn’t force customers to create an account before checking out.

10. Enable chat support

Not everyone who’s added an item to their online cart is ready to hit Purchase. Ease online shoppers through any last-minute concerns with in-checkout live chat support.

With Shopify Inbox, you can communicate with customers and answer questions they have during the checkout process. Give real-time automated answers to things like returns policies, shipping delays, and product-related questions to reassure customers they’re making the right choice.

Woman in red dress carrying a shipping box with a Shopify Inbox live chat overlay containing the following question prompts: track my order, return policy, and wholesale pricing.

Shopify Inbox’s live chat feature gives customers real-time answers to FAQs.

11. Offer 1-click checkout

1-click checkout is the fastest way to speed up your customer’s ecommerce checkout process. Features like Shop Pay allow customers to complete their order in one click, using a secure digital wallet that stores their billing information and payment details.

Betty Jade Gifting Company, for example, uses 1-click checkout. Shoppers can press “Buy with Shop Pay” to purchase the item in record time. There’s just one button to click on the checkout page before their order is confirmed—an ecommerce checkout hack shown to increase conversions by 35.62%.

Product page showcasing a brown paper package of bath salts, with a “Buy with Shop Pay” purple button beneath the “Add to cart” button.

Caption: Shop Pay allows online shoppers to bypass the traditional checkout process and complete their purchase in one click.

Improve conversions with an optimized checkout flow

The checkout process is the stage that’s the hardest to optimize for maximum revenue. But if you focus on eliminating the worst conversion killers, you’ll see a bigger revenue lift than from small tweaks like button colors or product headlines.

Ecommerce checkout FAQ

What makes a good checkout experience?

A good ecommerce checkout experience is fast and easy. This might mean using guest or social media login, limited form fields to only type the information required to process an order, or 1-click checkout.

How do you upsell at checkout?

Shopify apps like Zipify, Zoorix, and In Cart Upsell allow you to upsell higher priced products at checkout.

What is a good checkout abandonment rate?

Studies show that 69.57% of people abandon their carts when online shopping. A good cart abandonment rate is anything that falls below that percentage.

How do you reduce checkout abandonment?

  • Enable mobile checkout
  • Keep checkout forms short
  • Use single-page checkout
  • Remove extra shipping costs
  • Allow alternative payment options
  • Hide the promo codes field