Checkout Pages 101

Of all the areas of e-Commerce no single piece seems to get nearly as much attention and focused concern as the checkout page. Rightfully so, in many cases the checkout page is the key visual and functional conduit for a customer to move from window shopper to making a purchase from the site. It must seamlessly path the customer from choosing a product to entering the payment information and finally submitting the purchase. While simple at first blush, the checkout page is anything but.


The Basics…


Checkout pages need to be clear, concise and not attempt to hide anything from the customer. Any appearance of deceit will quickly result in a loss of confidence and eventually revenue as the customer chooses to purchase from another site. Make sure that there are not too many steps the customer has to trek through to be able to purchase from your site. Once a customer has decided to move forward with their purchase and they are converting from the shopping cart to the check out pages you need to collect information in order to process the order, how you do this is critical to the customer conversion.


Removing unnecessary barriers is surprisingly a commonly forgotten piece of the e-Commerce process. There is no need for a 6 step check out process with numerous confirmation and data entry pages. Make sure these steps are followed:

  • Ask for the customer name and address in a logical form, cascading down the page as to avoid confusion.
  • Before the customer submits the billing address information, ask if they would like to use the same information for the shipping address
  • After the addresses have been confirmed request the payment information, it’s critical that this page not be cluttered by other offers so they don’t have the option to leave the page at this important intersection.
  • The last page that should be showed before the payment is submitted is a confirmation page, this page should contain:
  • The billing and shipping address
  • The name on the order
  • Truncated billing information (i.e. last 4 of the credit card number)
  • The shipping option which was chosen
  • The total which will be billed to their card
  • A clearly identified “Submit/Purchase Now” button.

Mistakes to Avoid:

Keep the coupons or discount offers off the checkout page, this is a common design flaw. While intended to convert the customer and minimize the abandonment of the shopping cart it actually does the opposite. Customers can feel as though they’re being cheated which is not at all what you want. Reduce the opportunity for them to abandon the checkout process by making the number of decisions the customer has to make as few as possible.


Checking out should not take very long, and this time we’re referring to the amount of time the page takes to load. Having a page that loads slowly can lead the customer to think the order did not go through and they just abandon the page or sometimes even worse they try to reload and submit again. Make sure the messaging on the page (as the transaction is being processed) informs the customer of the amount of time the transaction can take and not to reload or resubmit the page.



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