How to optimize the WooCommerce checkout process

Did you know that more than 75% of eCommerce users add an item to their cart and then leave the store without buying anything? As you can imagine, this has a huge economic impact. To avoid this, today we’ll show you how to optimize the WooCommerce checkout process in your site.

Shopping cart abandonment

Have you ever gone to an online store, added something to the cart, and then left without purchasing? That phenomenon of leaving an e-commerce transaction incomplete is known as shopping cart abandonment.

This has become one of the worst nightmares for online shops. Different studies show that more than 75% of customers never complete their purchase. Why? The main reasons are:

  • Extra costs such as fees or shipping costs
  • Users were forced to create an account
  • Complex checkout process
  • Security issues
  • Slow website

As you can imagine, cart abandonment has a massive impact on conversion rates. That’s why you must optimize your WooCommerce checkout process. It’s already hard enough to make people come to your store so once they’re in it you have to make sure that you don’t lose them.

How to improve the WooCommerce checkout process

Running a successful online store isn’t easy. Having excellent products or services to offer, installing the best plugins for eCommerce, finding an attractive theme that suits your needs, and providing a great customer experience isn’t enough. Those things are necessary but you’ll need something extra to stand out from your competitors.

We’ve already talked about some eCommerce tips to optimize your store that will make a big difference. Today we’ll focus on the WooCommerce checkout process, arguably the most important step.

If shopping cart abandonment affects more than 75% of users, reducing it will give you an important advantage to improve conversion rates and boost your sales. The checkout page is where you’ll finally close the sale so it has to be optimized. The key is to make the process as smooth as possible to convert the leads into customers.

Now that we know why the WooCommerce checkout process is important, let’s see how to optimize it.

Tips to optimize WooCommerce checkout page

Beautiful and simple design

The checkout is probably the most complex page in any store. There are usually numerous fields to fill in, prices, costs, discounts, shipping options, payment methods, and so on. And as a consequence, most of the users drop out here.

The key is to keep the WooCommerce checkout simple and remove every single distraction. Only leave the fields that are necessary to perform the sale and try to use auto-filling tools. Do you need the middle name, the title, and two phone numbers for example? Get rid of fields that don’t add any value to the sale and that may drive away customers.

Several plugins will help you with this. One of the best ones is WooCommerce Checkout Manager that will let you customize and manage all this. You can also edit the fields yourself with PHP hooks following this short tutorial.

The checkout page is where users pay so it should also be attractive and professional to generate trust.

One-page vs multiple-steps checkout

One-page or multiple-steps checkout? This is probably the million-dollar question in the eCommerce world. And the answer is….it depends. You’ll find that different companies and studies show how they’ve increased conversion rates using either strategy. So as you can imagine, there’s no right or wrong choice.

Some say that multi-step checkouts provide more security and perform better for more complex purchases while single page checkouts have fewer steps and are preferred in simple products/services.

The key is to keep in mind your audience, what you offer, and run tests. This is something essential for your WooCommerce store so don’t be afraid to test it out and optimize it.

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure customers can always see what’s in their cart and modify it easily. This is very handy and helps generate trust among users.

Security and payment gateways

The web is full of dodgy sites nowadays and scams are becoming more and more common. Security is one of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment so tackling this problem is essential.

Showing your shoppers that your site is secure is crucial to succeeding and this is even more important in the WooCommerce checkout process. If you’re asking your customers to enter their credit card details, you need to guarantee them that their information will be safe. Additionally, working with reliable payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe is also recommended.

The best solution for this is to provide users with signals that they can trust in your store. Some of the best ways to do this are by displaying SSL Encryption or other security certificates, credit card logos, payment gateways that you work with, your review score on other websites, and so on.

Once you’ve gained shoppers’ confidence, it’s a good idea to give the registered or recurrent users the option to store their billing information so they save up some time. Customer-oriented refund policies can also be very helpful to convince hesitant clients.

No hidden costs

Were you ever about to buy something only to find out at the checkout page that there was a mysterious fee that wasn’t mentioned before? Hidden costs are one of the elements that most affect trust because they make users feel cheated.

Always be clear about any shipping or transaction fees and show them upfront to avoid unwanted surprises. Don’t you hate when stores show you some extra costs on the last step of the purchase? Well, your customers hate it too.

Account creation vs Guest checkout

If you have a WooCommerce store, you’ll want information about your users. Their nationality, age, profession, interests, and so on are very valuable to customize offers and marketing campaigns. However, recent studies show that 31% of customers drop out because they have to create an account to purchase.

To put it in other words, those sites are losing nearly a third of their business! To avoid this, you can allow guest checkout. Of course, you still want those users’ details but you also want to close the sale. Instead of making it mandatory, simply add a page after they have placed their order to let them create an account.

Even though people usually buy online because it’s faster, they will create an account if there are good reasons to do so. Encourage your customers to create an account by offering discounts on future purchases, special offers, free shipping, or premium return policy for example.

However, remember that the account creation process should be easy and fast. Allowing Google or Facebook sign-ups is a great option. Most of the fields will be already filled in so you simply ask the users for the information that’s missing.

Asos’ checkout. Option to sign-up with social media or continue as a guest

How to optimize WooCommerce checkout – Conclusion

Shopping cart abandonment can affect your business terribly if your WooCommerce checkout process isn’t optimized. The good news is that you can avoid this and be a step ahead of your competitors by changing a few things.

Indeed, what works for one industry or store may not work for another one. However, all users want to buy quickly, feel that their information is secure and that they’re not being cheated with extra fees. These tips to optimize the WooCommerce checkout aren’t magic but they’ll help you increase conversion for sure!

Have you tried them out? What other things are you doing to improve the checkout process in your store? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below!