Designing the Perfect Checkout Page: 15 Do’s and Don’ts

Checkout pages are where browsing customers convert into sales. Every eCommerce retailer needs to design its checkout page to be a convenient, quick and hassle-free experience for users. This is not an easy task for any eCommerce professional and it is a non-stop optimization process. In fact, even big brands make terrible mistakes in this, resulting in losing millions of revenue.

Below you will find proven do’s and don’ts you should always keep in mind when designing and finetuning your checkout page, based on my 5-year experience, during which I provided marketing automation services in dozens of eCommerce brands in the US & UK.

What is the checkout page?

The interest around “checkout page” worldwide since 2004 (Source: Google Trends)

The Checkout page is the page (or group of pages) in eCommerce where the checkout process takes place. The checkout page is one of the most important pages of any eCommerce site, since it is the final step of the funnel during which the visitor converts into a customer. This is why optimizing the checkout page is a critical process that should be a top priority for any business, as it has an immediate impact on sales.

What is the checkout process?

Checkout Process example from

The checkout process is where a customer goes through steps to purchase the items they have placed in their cart. This is the point in the shopping journey where a customer clicks the “Checkout” button, enters personal, delivery and payment information and completes their purchase at a thank you page.

The Checkout Page Design Dos and Don’ts:

  1. [MOBILE] Don’t design your page on desktop; adopt mobile-first mentality: Nowadays, over 50% of eCommerce customers use their smartphones to shop, making an easy-to-navigate checkout process a priority for online marketers. (source: Mage Monkeys)
  2. [SPEED] Don’t add non-optimized images/badges: Speed and conversion rate optimization are connected — so, by adding optimized images to your website you impact speed in conversion rate and SEO!
  3. [CRO] Don’t use too long of forms: Using up to 8 fields is optimal for the check out process. This is important because 26% of users abandon their carts and orders as a result of forms that are too long and complicated to fill out. (source: Baymard)
  4. [CRO] Do provide guest checkout. Absolutely don’t ignore this: Give users multiple login options such as guest checkout so they can skip signing in and simply checkout if they wish. Almost 26% of eCommerce shoppers will abandon their cart if they have to first register on your site! (source: Mage Monkeys)
  5. [CRO] Don’t gather too much personal data: With GDPR and all the topics about privacy issues, just focus on the basic data required to fulfill the order. People appreciate this.
  6. [UX] Don’t hide all the footer and menu links for “CRO”: Reduce them, but don’t remove all of them. Please don’t. If your product and site is good, people will buy. Don’t ruin your website’s usability listening to random ‘CRO folks’. User Experience should be at the center of all!
  7. [UX] Do add visible steps of the checkout process: This way, customers can see what information is needed ahead of time, know what is excepted and also can navigate back to a previous step if necessary.
  8. [UX] Don’t create TOO many steps: Shoppers want a fast, easy and convenient checkout process and the more steps, the more time-consuming purchasing becomes. This results in loss of conversions as customers can’t be bothered to navigate through all the steps needed to purchase their items.
  9. [PAYMENT] Don’t focus only on a few payment solutions, the more the better: Providing customers with more payment options means you are less likely to lose sales due to shoppers not having a specific payment method available.
  10. [CRO] Don’t use the same color on your buttons: Proceed/Next buttons should be unique and prevail. All the rest are less important. A Checkout Best Practice is to choose bright, stand-out colors for CTA buttons that lead the customer down the trail to purchase — all of the other buttons require less thought and are a lot less important. This is not “rocket science” optimization but… it works!
  11. [CRO] Don’t add confusing parameters on the shipping/payment costs: Make it as simple as possible. If the customer has to spend a lot of time figuring out what they are eligible for and the cost they must pay, they will abandon the checkout process altogether and you lose sales.
  12. [CRO] Don’t use confusing coupon codes: Confusing zeros and O’s is a common issue and may make really frustrating to submit an order.
  13. [CRO] Don’t – just don’t – include hidden fees during checkout: It will radically make your eCommerce conversion rate collapse. (And, you’ll deserve it).
  14. [UX] Don’t hide your (phone) support number: This is crucial. Phone support works really well because it makes people feel safe that a human is there for them to help. Make sure it is visible both on mobile and desktop. Additionally, consider adding chat support to make the visitor feel even safer during the checkout process.
  15. [UX] Don’t add TOO many pop-ups/messages/triggers: Just use 1-2 max — you don’t want to distract the user from completing the order.

The more you give, the more you’ll get.

Like it or not optimization is a never-ending task in eCommerce. So invest time and effort into fine-tuning your checkout page design, based on global best practices and based on your analytics. One thing is 100% sure in eCommerce reality: if you don’t spend time running experiments and testing things, your eCommerce conversion rate (aka your sales) will not get better. On the other hand, if you do take the time and invest the effort, it is still not a sure thing that you will get rewarded, but you will definitely have more chances. Remember, the competitor is one tab away…

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