The state of checkout: Optimizing is more important than ever

See what’s driving ecommerce retailers to upgrade their checkout experience.

For ecommerce merchants, the checkout process can be an all-or-nothing prospect – if your site visitors don’t convert into sales, you risk leaving a lot of money on the table. According to PYMNTS’ Checkout Conversion Index from the fourth quarter of 2019, $97.8 billion worth of sales were lost because of checkout friction.[1] Find out the most important challenges facing merchants today, and learn how they’re reducing friction in their checkout processes to increase conversions.

The state of checkout conversions

According to a report from ADI Consumer Electronics, conversion rates were at an average of about 3% in December, 2019 – with lower conversion rates for more expensive products — and Monetate’s quarterly benchmark report found that the average direct order value was $103 for the same time period. These numbers were equivalent to trends outside the U.S., with an overall European conversion rate of 1.84% and an average order value of €185, according to Wolfgang Digital’s KPI Report for 2020[2]

These low conversion rates are a problem so ubiquitous among ecommerce merchants that it can be easy to grow complacent about them. According to the Baymard Institute, 69% of online shoppers who add a product to their cart never complete their purchase.[3] But just because this is a universal issue doesn’t mean that cart abandonment can’t be effectively reduced. The Baymard Institute has also found that most cart abandonment can be solved or mitigated with a few improvements to checkout design and flow – in fact, their research shows that ecommerce sites can gain a 35% increase in their conversion rates just by improving their checkout design.[4]

Your customers have a need for speed

Pure and simple, checkout is getting faster. According to PYMNTS, by the fourth quarter of 2019 it only took 144 seconds to complete an online checkout – a full five seconds faster than checkout took in the first quarter. This dramatic increase in speed shows that merchants are taking the ease of their customers seriously, and recognizing that the faster the checkout process, the more sales their customers will complete. If you’re trying to figure out how to make your checkout faster, start by looking at your form fields. The Baymard Institute’s research shows that the average U.S. checkout contains as many as 14 forms, but the ideal checkout flow only really needs seven.[5] Amazon Pay helps merchants avoid unnecessary forms by letting customers speed through checkout using the payment and address information already stored in their Amazon account.

Mobile shoppers are well connected

According to PYMNTS, mobile shoppers convert less than desktop shoppers, by approximately 3%. But that’s not the full story. Research from Adobe shows that mobile shoppers and desktop shoppers are often one and the same — just in different parts of the journey. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Adobe found that across 4,500 retail sites, desktop users made 59% of the purchases but only accounted for 37% of traffic, while as mobile users were 58% of traffic but only made 36% of purchases.[6] This means that mobile shoppers are omnichannel, doing research in one place — like their smartphones — and then moving to their desktops to complete their purchases. As you focus on increasing conversions for your mobile shoppers, you’ll want to make sure that your mobile site is seamlessly connected to your other experiences, from desktop to voice. For those shoppers who prefer to use their smartphones for the whole shopping process, Amazon Pay can help them through checkout in just a few clicks – and keep them connected to other channels by storing all of their information in the same place. If you’re looking for ways to keep mobile shoppers on your site, check out 5 ways to reduce mobile cart abandonment.

Offer customers a choice

Of the 667 web merchants whose data PYMNTS analyzed for their fourth-quarter 2019 report, the top 30 merchants accepted an average of eight payments. That’s in stark contrast to the bottom 30 merchants, who offered three fewer payment options on average. What those numbers make clear is that when it comes to that final leg of the shopping journey, your customers want to be able to choose exactly how they pay. But that doesn’t mean you should incorporate any old payment option just to get to the right number of payments – you still need to be selective about what you include in your checkout process. Select the payment options that are the most convenient for your customers, in order to maintain a frictionless checkout. By offering a third-party payment solution like Amazon Pay, you’re giving hundreds of millions of Amazon customers the choice to use their payment and personal information while avoiding the hassle of starting a new account, making the checkout process simple and easy.

Learn more about how Amazon Pay can help streamline your checkout and stop cart abandonment with this infographic.

[1] PYMNTS’ Checkout Conversion Index, 2019.
[2] Wolfgang Digital’s KPI report, 2020.
[3] Information retrieved via Amazon Pay blog and Baymard Institute website, 2020.
[6] 2019 Holiday Shopping Trends, Adobe Analytics, 2020.