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Three mistakes you could be making with your checkout process

Did you know that almost 80% of online shopping carts are abandoned at checkout?

Is your online store a part of the statistics, too? When was the last time you checked your store's shopping cart abandonment rate? Did you even know that you can check? If not, today's podcast episode is a must-listen.

There are many reasons why someone adds items from your online store to their shopping cart and leaves without buying. It could be your shipping charges, the fact that they weren't 100% sure if they wanted to buy or they weren't sure if your site was secure, your checkout process has too many steps and many other reasons.

In today's podcast episode I share my story about why I recently abandoned an online shopping cart at a jewelry website, even though I REALLY wanted to purchase the jewelry. I talk about one mistake that the website was making that was steered me away for actually checking out. Are you making this mistake, too?

Three mistakes you could be making with your checkout process

1. Promo Code

When someone checks out at your online store, do they see a field for a “promo” or “discount” code? If so, what do you think happens physiologically to them if they don't have a promo code to enter? It's exactly what happened to me when I was shopping at the jewelry website and it happens to me ALL the time when I shop online (and I shop online A LOT). I usually go to RetailMeNot.com to search for a coupon code, but what happens if there's no coupon code available? There have been many studies that show that a promo code field can be hurting your online sales. Check out this one from Kiss Metrics.

2. Payment Options

When you're first starting out, it makes sense to offer PayPal as the only checkout option on your website. There are no monthly fees with PayPal and PayPal has more than 173 million users. Their logo is very recognizable and has a lot of trust built in, but what happens when someone wants to check out at your store but doesn't want to use PayPal? They leave and go somewhere else.

This actually happened to me yesterday when I was purchasing an online gift card for my sister's birthday. The spa that I wanted to get it from only offered PayPal and I only have a PayPal account for my business, not personal, and I didn't want to use my business account to pay for a personal gift. After I tried to checkout without signing in to PayPal, I got an error message that my email address was already associated with a PayPal account and I HAD to log in to that PayPal account in order to complete my purchase. When I tried a different email address, I got another error message saying that the credit card that I wanted to pay with was already associated with a PayPal account and I HAD to log in to my PayPal account. Needless to say, I didn't complete my purchase and instead purchased a gift card at another spa that didn't require me to use PayPal.

There are so many payment options now that allow you to take credit cards directly – Stripe is an easy choice because, like PayPal, they don't charge monthly fees and their transaction fees are exactly the same as PayPal's, so you have no excuse not to accept other forms of payment. There are also many other options that offer lower fees, so it's always a good idea to check around.

3. Checkout as a Guest

When I had my online t-shirt store about 30% of my customers chose the “checkout as a guest” option. This meant that they didn't have to set up a username and password to shop at my site. While this may mean that they don't plan on coming back to shop at your site, forcing your visitors to sign up for an account at checkout has been shown to decrease conversion rates! Use a shopping cart that has this option (my two favorites are Shopify and BigCommerce)  and don't force your customers to create an account.

Are you making these three mistakes with your online checkout? If so, I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and let me know.

P.S. I still haven't gone back and purchased the jewelry and it's been more than a week.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I might receive a commission. However, I only recommend products and services that I fully believe in.

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  1. Great tips! You’re right- as a shopper I have actually felt robbed that I had to pay full price when there is a coupon code box there blatantly staring at me. While, as a seller I can’t remove the coupon code box since I sell on etsy’s platform, I’ve decided to offer a small coupon code to shoppers who may be searching for a code, so they feel special and don’t hesitate buying right away!

  2. Great Podcast! I can’t seem to find out how to disable the discount code on Shopify even on the back end. I’m sure I can dig some more in the forums and find it, but my real question is this, What if you are offering a promo code for a short period to a group of your followers, say email subscribers. Do you leave it up just for the period, then deactivate it after that? Thank you!

  3. I find myself doing the same with the check out page and coupons all the time. My programmer says that I am wrong, I guess I will have to show him this podcast!!!

  4. Great tips as usual! I have an ongoing code that newsletter subscribers can enter at checkout and so I need to always leave the code box active. Is it obvious enough that customers can get a code if they see my newsletter sign up form? Right now on my Shopify store the default says ‘discount’ in the box but I am going to find out how to change that to just ‘code’ since my on going offer is not a discount but a free jewelry polishing cloth with first order.

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