6 Essential Steps to an Air-Tight eCommerce Checkout Flow UX

Digital commerce has been quickly adapting to the rising consumer expectations of retailers. It’s hard to imagine success without an eCommerce website that offers a seamless and consistent customer experience across points of sale.

But as brands translate every stage of the shopping journey to a digital space, designing a perfect checkout process remains challenging for so many online sellers.

Consumers usually have a great time shopping online until they reach checkout. This very last step is where things get a little complicated. 

If your customers frequently encounter negative experiences at your checkout, it’s high time to revisit your eCommerce checkout UX.

Before we talk about strategies to improve your checkout process, let’s examine how it impacts your revenue. 

How Does UX Affect Your Revenue?

Did you know your checkout page design and flow are often the prime reasons your customers abandon their purchase?

If we look at the stats, about 90% of eCommerce shopping carts were left abandoned in March 2020. Currently, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.82%.

But a seamless user experience can encourage customers to convert and return to your site more often.

In 2018, Topal conducted UX research that found that 90% of users will continue shopping because of a great user experience. 

So what precisely causes a user to abandon their cart in the first place?

Common Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

According to the UX research company, the Baymard Institute, the average website has 31 preventable usability issues in its eCommerce checkout flow.

Out of those 31, here are some of the most common reasons people abandon their shopping carts: 

  • Complex or overwhelming checkout form
  • Forced account creation 
  • Lack of a guest checkout option 
  • Hidden shopping costs (meaning that the final price isn’t clear)
  • Slow shipping method
  • Insufficient payment options
  • Extra taxes
  • Poor mobile checkout UX
All the top reasons why customers abandon during the checkout process.

To achieve sustainable growth, you must ensure your potential customers complete the checkout process with great ease and speed. 

Analytics Metrics That Help You Design a Better UX

Not all eCommerce metrics are valuable, but identifying the right UX performance indicators will help you boost your sales.

If you feel overwhelmed when tracking your store’s performance, here are some key metrics that will help you design a better UX: 

  • Conversion rate
  • Cart abandonment rate 
  • Checkout abandonment rate 
  • Pageviews 
  • Mobile device type 
  • Customer engagement 
  • Site speed 

Related: Setting Up A Proper UX Design Process: The Ultimate Guide

How To Optimize Your Checkout Flow for Enhanced UX

There are several ways you can improve your checkout flow and overall user experience. And the effort you invest in improving your UX will directly improve your eCommerce conversions.

Here are our top six tips for optimizing your checkout page flow for improved UX.

Tip #1: Make Your Checkout Page Digestible

A checkout process usually involves several parts: 

  • Shipping
  • Cart adjustments
  • Billing
  • Coupons or promo codes
  • Order Summary

But showing everything on a single page makes things far more complicated for users than it needs to be. To improve checkout UX, break the process down into digestible steps. 

That doesn’t mean you have to break it down into ten or twenty steps; try to strike the right balance. For example, too many forms can create extra friction between a user and placing an order.

GoodUI suggests that customers actually prefer a multi-step process over one-page checkouts. This is because users will keep filling out form fields when the fields are represented in logical steps. 

Therefore, it makes sense to break or visually divide long forms.

Here are the five common steps of a checkout process:

  • Shipping address 
  • Shipping method
  • Contact and offers
  • Payment information
  • Review and place order
An eCommerce checkout flow from Anatta partner, M.Gemi.

For inspiration, analyze the steps users have to take when placing their orders on Walmart, Amazon, or Nike. A smooth checkout UX is not only quicker and more accessible but also visually appealing. 

If your checkout process is broken down into five steps, your customers should be able to see that they have to go through five steps to complete the purchase. 

Pro tip: Visual feedback is crucial to a user-friendly checkout design. Provide an outline of the checkout process and display each step in the progress bar so that users know exactly what they need to do to complete the purchase.

Additionally, consider the visual hierarchy of your checkout page. Where on the page will a user’s eyes naturally fall? Are they able to visually understand what step is next in the process? Aim for clear visual progress indicators and cues.

Tip #2: Let Customers Know the Total Cost Upfront

48% of users abandon their cart because they think extra costs (taxes, shipping costs, etc.) are too high. Today’s users expect free and fast shipping. Showing additional fees at the end of the checkout process can seriously hurt your bottom line.

To fix this, you can consider offering free shipping for orders within a region or over a certain amount. If a customer doesn’t qualify to get free shipping, tell them as early as possible. 

Does your online shop show the additional costs after a user has gone through the entire checkout process? If so, rethink your strategy. The purpose here is not to lose your customers’ trust. You want to be transparent from the very beginning of the process. 

  • Pro tip: Display the total cost of an item on your product pages. That way, users know all associated costs with their order and won’t abandon due to sticker shock.

Tip #3: Offer a Guest Checkout Option

Too many online retailers require customers to register or create an account to purchase.

Do you need every online shopper to register for checkout? If yes, you’ll likely lose customers at that critical last step. While your customers can see the total price, they can’t buy unless they complete the registration procedure. 

Give your customers an option to buy as a guest. Guest checkout can dramatically improve your sales and revenue. Understandably, you want to collect customer data and be good at selling. However, asking customers to sign in or create an account before purchasing can be a big UX mistake.

Forcing customers to fill in long forms and verify their information disrupts their shopping experience. And this is one of the key reasons people abandon their shopping carts. To reduce your cart abandonment rate, let customers decide whether they want to create an account, sign in, or continue as a guest. 

A good UX is when customers can easily choose what they want to do and what they want to skip. Give your customers complete control.

  • Pro tip: Offer multiple payment options to streamline a user’s shopping experience. Allowing a third-party payment method like Google Wallet or Amazon Pay can help boost your conversions. Some users will even prefer to store their credit card or payment information on third-party apps because doing so offers a faster shopping experience, and feels more secure.
Anatta partner, Stio, offers more than one payment option to users.

Tip #4: Don’t Ask For Too Much Information

Asking for too much information discourages people from completing the checkout process. Make things easier for your new and returning customers by reducing the number of form fields they need to complete. 

For example, make it easy for returning customers to skip entering personal details during checkout with an autocomplete option. If you need some information from users, break down boxes into separate steps. 

When a new user visits your eCommerce website and adds something to the cart, don’t make them fill in lengthy forms. Save a shopper’s time as much as possible.

Need an example of how to do so? Instead of “First Name” and “Last Name,” use a single full name field. So many users enter their full name in the “First Name” field and then realize their mistake later. Costing them time and patience with your UX.

Small things like combining the first and last name into one field can make a big difference.

Another example of optimizing checkout forms is using a single address field and including the option to set the billing address as the shipping address.

Statistics also show that an average site can cut form fields by 20 to 60% and still offer a great checkout experience. So, analyze your checkout page to reduce the number of fields.

Tip #5: Create a Cart Dropdown

Creating a cart dropdown is another excellent way to optimize your checkout process.

Your customers should be able to instantly reach and view their cart to see what they have ordered before they go ahead and check out. All without needing to click through to the shopping cart page. 

A cart dropdown allows users to go to the checkout page without leaving their current page. Users can know what they have added and what they have missed just by clicking on their cart.

On Mack Weldon’s site, users can click the cart icon to view their cart instantly.

Tip #6: Help Ease Customers’ Minds With Visual Cues

Can users trust your site with their payment information? Understandably, customers often feel uneasy when sharing their credit card numbers with eCommerce sites.

Solution? Provide visual cues and text that increases perceived security.

For example, you can use badge icons and padlock to show visual cues of safety and explain what they are with pop-ups or fine print.

Of course, you still need to implement the security you’re alluding to on the page to provide the peace of mind your customers need. The last thing you want to lose is customer trust. This tip is especially important for new businesses still building their reputation.

Related: Ecommerce User Experience: Everything You Need To Know

What To Do Next

Checkout is arguably the most crucial step in the customer journey. This is why you should give it extra attention.

You have to evaluate the whole process, from eliminating unnecessary elements and fields to breaking down the entire checkout process into smaller steps. The key to success is being honest, open, and user-friendly.

Split testing is an effective solution to understanding and developing a perfect eCommerce checkout UX. Keep monitoring what’s happening on each page. Observe how users behave when they visit your site.

And finally, make adjustments to make your customers’ life easier. By doing so, you’re much more likely to attract repeat business, build confidence in your brand, and of course, scale.

For more information on eCommerce website optimization, UX/UI Design and Development, or the checkout process, contact Anatta. We’ll be happy to schedule a call and learn more about your business.


Shopping cart abandonment rate by industry 2021 | Statista

46 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics – Cart & Checkout – Baymard Institute

115 Free A/B Test Results For Your CRO Needs | GoodUI Evidence

Impact of Good User Experience (UX) Design on Business Growth | venturedive.com

  • avatar
    Nirav Sheth
  • Nirav is the CEO and founder of Anatta. Nirav received his engineering degree in 2006 from George Washington University. Prior to Anatta, he served as founder of Dharmaboost, a software company working with Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, and New Leaf Paper. He is also cofounder of Upscribe, a next-level subscription software for fast growing eCommerce brands.