The temptation for ecommerce businesses is to spend the vast majority of their time and money optimising the top of the funnel shopping experience on their website - beautiful and effective designs, exquisite branding, copy you can’t help but say yes to.

But the pure fact of the matter is that the vast majority of shopping carts will be abandoned. During our research we’ve seen reports of average shopping cart abandonment rates of nearly 80%. That’s incredibly high, and you don’t need to do the calculations to realise the value of transactions lost through abandonment.

The obvious question to ask yourself is “how can I prevent shopping cart abandonment?”. Look no further - we’ve listed 10 ways you can improve your site’s online checkout process.

Get Off To A Good Start

1. Offer a ‘Guest’ Checkout Option

Account creation can be a great tool for repeat checkouts. But by forcing users to create an account you can significantly hurt your conversion rate. We’ve seen first-hand how the removal of a guest checkout for one client led to a significant drop in conversion.

Customers are becoming more savvy about where and when they hand over their personal data. An easy way around this is to prompt users to create an account directly after they finish checking out as a guest.

At this point the user’s primary goal is no longer trying to check out as quickly as possible and the email field can be pre-populated meaning all they need to do is choose a password – easy!

2. Show Customers a Progress Bar

Showing users how far they are along in the process has numerous benefits - not only are you able to manage expectations, but its been shown that people have a desire for completing goals (gamification).

And you can go to the next level with this by including things that the user has already done (select items) on the progress bar, so they feel as if they’ve already made progress (you’d rather be on stage 2 of 7 than on stage 1 of 6, right?). Take the example of Amazon, for instance.

Make Addresses Easier

3. Use an Address Finder

Typing an address into a checkout form is tedious, especially on mobile. Therefore, enabling the user to easily find their address just by typing in a small part of their address, such as their postcode, and then populating the rest of the information simplifies the process massively and will only have a positive impact on your abandonment rate.

4. Display The Most Common Countries First

If you decide not to use an address finder, you’ll probably have a country list dropdown in your address form. Country list dropdowns often have as many as 200 different options, this can make it difficult for users to find the correct country.

You can make it easier for a lot of your users by showing them the most common country choices. If 90% of your transactions are carried out in the ‘United Kingdom’, what’s the point having ‘Afghanistan’ at the very top and the result everyone is looking for near the very end?

5. Remove Unnecessary Fields

If a field form is optional there’s likely little value in asking your customer to fill it in. In many cases you’re requiring the user to have to think more, while making the form appear longer.

Examples of this could be ‘title’ or ‘county’. Take some time to go through the form and check that each field is of genuine value for you. Look at the form below - would you want to fill all of that out? Bad Apple.

6. Duplicate Delivery Address to Billing Address

Having to write your address twice is tedious (again, especially on mobile). Therefore, being able to duplicate it can save the user loads of time. This makes the process easier for the user and eliminates a potentially large barrier to conversion. Most sites are already doing this but it’s important to get the easy things right! Here's an example from River Island.

Improve Your Price Page

7. Include ‘Secure’ Messaging

Many users still worry about using their credit card for payments online - it’s essential to reassure them that your site is safe and secure. This can be done very easily by including some additional messaging as well as logos from companies your users know and trust to be secure. Cafe Press do this well.

8. Consider Making The ‘Promo Code’ Box Less Prominent

Depending on your business objectives it may be important for you to have a prominent promo code box. But if constant promotions aren’t your thing they can be a distraction and send customers off on a hunt around the web for a code.

If that’s the case you should consider making the promo code field less prominent - it can lead to increased average order value (and greater revenue).

The best way to know is to test it. It’s fairly easy to set up an A/B test of different variations of promo code field prominence. In the example below (Marks & Spencer) the promotion code field remains hidden until the user clicks the drop down arrow.

9. Show How Much More Is Needed for Free Delivery

Getting users to spend more and letting them know how to get a good deal? Sign me up! Letting users know that if they “spend just £12 more for free delivery” will encourage them to buy more products while feeling like they’re getting something for free. Prima Leisure does this well.

10. Offer Multiple Payment Options

Although a very large number of transactions are made by card, it can be useful to offer other payment options such as PayPal or amazon pay. This is especially the case if your brand isn’t very well known or trusted.

Some users may not want to enter their payment details into a site they’ve not used before, therefore giving them another option may encourage them to buy when they may have been unsure otherwise.


It’s likely that the abandonment rate on your site is north of 50% - even without knowing the revenue your business generates online, we know that’s a whole heap of money lost. It’s easy to see why shopping cart abandonment is among the biggest sources of loss for online retailers.

The main culprit under your control? Issues with your online checkout.

It’s impossible for us to tell you now how much fixing your checkout process will save your business, but the value could be significant. And there’s almost certainly something you can do to improve the checkout on your site, perhaps even today.