Practical Checkout Flow Enhancements

At Made we pride ourselves on crafting websites that deliver a great aesthetic, and a rich user experience.

Over the last few years I have spent the majority of my time building eCommerce sites, where some good UX can make or break conversion rates and profitability.

In this post I am going to share a few ways to enhance your checkout flow that will have a positive effect.

The Address Step

Nothing daunts a user more than a page full of form inputs, and within your checkout flow the biggest form – I hope – is customer address entry. We can improve the customer’s experience of this step in a couple of ways.

The first, and most obvious, way to instantly halve the size of this form is to allow the customer to use the same address for both their shipping, and billing address. From personal and professional experience this is best achieved using a simple check box, which in most cases can be preselected.

The second is to remove the address fields altogether and provide auto-complete suggestions based on postcode. There are a few services that can provide this for you. One that we’ve implemented a few times at Made is PCA (formerly Postcode Anywhere). PCA provides multiple end points which can be queried to complete a customer’s address.

The Payment Step

The taking of payment is arguably the most important part of your checkout process. Making it as quick and simple as possible for a potential customer will have positive effects on both conversion and customer satisfaction.

The obvious way to speed a registered customer through the payment step is offering to save their card details, and using those details for all future purchases. But for those shoppers who aren’t returning account holders we can improve the way we collect that data.

Stripe have a great open source jQuery plugin which allows you to validate a customer’s card type and number. It’s up to you how you display this back to a customer, but this early visual indicator will enable them to correct any mistakes in card details before they even submit their payment.

This only really relates to mobile users, but another way we can improve the customer experience of the payment step is by enhancing the input types we use in the form itself, and the keyboard that is presented to the user. Traditionally you would use input[type=”text”], but as LukeW talks about in this video specifying an input[type=”text”] and a [pattern=”[0-9]”] will show the number keyboard.

But… Why reinvent the wheel?

It’s quite likely that your customers will already have an account with Amazon or PayPal – I mean, who doesn’t?

With some integration work, you can implement the checkout with PayPal (or Amazon) functionality. Yes, it completely bypasses your own checkout flow, but is that a bad thing? By leveraging the addresses and card details already stored on the customers preferred payment system, they can get from cart to confirmation in a few clicks.

While these suggested enhancements aren’t the most arduous to implement, and there are many other ways to enhance your checkout, they will positively impact the journey though your sites checkout flow.

About the Author

Seb Ashton

Former Lead Software Engineer at Made Tech. Pixel pushing, caffeine addicted, end to end web developer.

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