All retailers – from huge multinationals to the independent -  face the same dilemna. Why do online shoppers abandon their baskets, and what can they do to improve?  

Dropped baskets can happen at any stage of the customer journey, and can be due to a range of reasons, from a poorly designed website to a lack of fulfilment options. But it’s even more frustrating when this happens at the final hurdle, when customers are clicks away from getting through to the confirmation page.

Checkout abandonment has been measured at between 60% and 80%. That’s not actually so surprising when you consider how painful some online checkouts can be.

So, outside of speed, what can retailers do to improve checkout UX?

Keep data entry to a minimum

The more hoops a customer has to jump through to pay for their item, the more likely they are to abandon a purchase. This may seem like common sense, but many retailers still make their customers go through a huge amount of form filling. This can slow down the payment process, often to the point of no return.

However, it’s not always easy to simplify the website or checkout. Asking customers to register for accounts can also be hugely helpful for marketing purposes. But there are several things merchants can do to make this as painless as possible. Firstly, make sure you keep data entry to a minimum, so evaluate what’s important to know about your customers and only ask for what’s necessary.

Offer an incentive for registration

Offering consumers a clear and tangible incentive for registering on your website will also offset the frustration over form filling. Acknowledge the extra work, and provide an immediate benefit for the customer if they create an account – could you, for example, offer free shipping or a discount in return?

Retailers also need to make sure that entering these details will benefit shoppers later on. Remembering customers’ information when they next return to your website will mean they can check out faster and easier.

Alleviate safety concerns 

Many dropped baskets can be linked to security fears. In fact, research by Klarna and the University of Reading shows around 23% have ducked out of the payment process because they didn’t trust the website security. With privacy front of mind for many shoppers, it’s essential merchants alleviate these security fears from the start. 

Clear and concise copy can help. Make sure your checkout information is informative, but easy to understand and visually appealing. And while safety and privacy information should be clearly displayed, it shouldn’t distract mobile shoppers. A simple third party seal can often be enough. More detailed assurance seals and statements, however, will work better for desktop browsing.  

Provide payment options

Problems with payment are also a big factor in customers reaching the confirmation page. Lack of options, fees for alternative payments and concerns over cash flow can all significantly impact a customer’s decision. 

While card remains the most popular mode of online payment in the UK, alternative methods such as wallets and deferred payments are growing in popularity. Merchants must make sure they offer the most popular options for their customers.

Charging extra for paying with certain credit or debit cards has also understandably been a huge bug bear for many shoppers. However, the Treasury announcement that all extra charges are to be outlawed from next month is welcome news for consumers. Despite retailers now having to absorb the cost of these, an improved customer experience and a subsequent increase in sales may well make up for it. 

At Klarna, we see cash flow as one of the sticking points around payment. Many online shoppers now use their living rooms as fitting rooms, ordering multiple colours or sizes per order before deciding what to keep once they have tried on their purchases.

However, this means a big chunk of cash goes missing from a customer’s bank account while they wait for their returns to be processed – and this can stop them from ordering anything in the first place. That’s why deferred payment, “try before you buy” methods are gaining in popularity.

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