The 7 Things Every (Great) Checkout Page Needs

checkout page

It doesn’t matter how much traffic you are generating or how cool your site looks if you can’t make a sale. The number of sales you get will impact how well your business does.

So, what I want to focus on today is to teach you how to make your checkout page convert well. I know it’s only one part of your overall funnel, but it’s an important part.

Download this cheat sheet to learn 7 things every (Great) checkout page needs.

Here are 7 things that your checkout page needs…no matter what industry you are in:

The right number of form fields

You’ll hear people say that the fewer form fields you have, the better your conversions will be. In most cases this is true, but when it comes to checkout pages, I’ve found this to be false 72% of the time.

Just think about it… if someone is only asking you for your credit card number, expiration and CSC, it may make you feel like they are doing something that isn’t trustworthy.

cc fields

You are typically more comfortable with giving your name, email address, address and zip code before you give your credit card details.

So, instead of making your checkout page very simple with fewer form fields, test adding more…especially the ones like “billing address”.

What you’ll find is that adding more form fields can increase people’s trust. This, in turn, will increase the number of people who complete the checkout process. The sad news is, however, just because more people are filling out your form fields doesn’t mean you will make more money. With the increase in the number of form fields, the chances of your visitors making a mistake when typing in information also increases, which will lead to more credit card declines.

So, what should you do? I’ve found that the best solution to the typos problem is keeping the extra form fields and then going into your payment processor and unchecking verification boxes such as “verify address”.

authorize credit cards

This way if someone makes a small typo, the charge will still go through.

Change your visitors’ mindset

One of the simplest ways to get people to check out is to get them to understand that there is no risk. Yes, you can try to reduce their perception of risk by showing “money back guarantee” or “free trial” badges, but this doesn’t always work.

unleash your thin

If you look at the image above, you’ll notice that Unleash Your Thin does something really smart. They are using psychology to get you into the mindset of buying. They do this by making you read the text that states the benefits of the product yet shows that there is no risk for you if you aren’t satisfied. Plus, the check box makes you feel as if you are “approving” the product before you are buying it.

The strategy that Unleash Your Thin is using comes from the direct mail world, which typically employs this approach on promotional postcards. Test it out on your checkout page because it may provide you with a nice lift… this tactic helped my friend get a 16% lift.

Trust elements throughout your whole funnel

You probably already know that placing seals like TRUSTe or VeriSign Secured can help boost your conversion rate. But did you know that in most cases you won’t see a lift if you place those badges just on your checkout page?

security

If people don’t feel secure when they first visit your site, they’ll bounce right off it before clicking through to your checkout page.

You can combat this by placing security seals throughout your whole funnel. So, from your front end pages to your product pages to even your checkout page… you are more likely to boost your conversion rate if you use the secure seals on more than just your checkout page.

I myself haven’t seen a big boost from adding them to my checkout page only, but I have seen nice lifts when I added them to the whole site. Before you do this, however, there are a few things that you need to know:

  1. It’s rare that security seals boost conversion rates by more than 10%.
  2. If you can’t afford a TRUSTe or VeriSign seal, creating your own free generic version typically provides the same conversion boost.
  3. This tactic works better in spammy industries like finance or health.

Frequently asked questions

No matter what, a good percentage of your visitors will have doubts in their minds when they are on your checkout page. For this reason, you won’t be able to convert 100% of your visitors. But if you can address their doubts, you can increase your conversion rate.

By using Qualaroo on your checkout page, you can ask people questions like:

What else can we place on this page to convince you to buy?

You’ll get a lot of responses from people telling you why they are worried about completing the purchase. You can then take this data to create a list of frequently asked questions with corresponding answers and place it on your checkout page.

faq

When using this tactic on your checkout page, test placing the FAQ section towards the top of the page or below the page because placement can affect your conversion rate.

Two steps is better than one

Who says reducing the number of steps you put your visitors through increases conversions? The hoop theory article I wrote a while back explains why getting your visitors to make small micro-commitments typically increases conversion rates…as in a two-step checkout process.

You can leverage this on your checkout page by requesting your customers’ name and email info on the first page and credit card details on the second page.

two step check out

This typically will boost your conversion rate by 10%. It’s worked well on Crazy Egg, and when I ran that test on Timothy Sykes, he saw a 12% increase in conversion rate.

The reason it works is because people feel that they have already given you their name and email address, so they might as well give you the rest of their details. Plus, if they don’t complete the checkout process, you can email them and try to get them back to your site. You can even entice them with coupons or just create a remarketing campaign to get their attention.

Help your visitors through live chat

When most companies test out using live chat, they aren’t seeing an increase in conversion rate because of two main reasons:

  1. They don’t have someone on the chat 24/7, so people are leaving with their questions unanswered.
  2. They are placing it on every page of their site, which can distract visitors.

If you want to test live chat, you need to make sure someone is there 24 hours a day. If you can’t put someone there, test a service like Chatter Lime as they provide you with someone who will respond to each chat request.

livechat

In addition to that, test having the chat only on your checkout page. That’s the page that typically brings up the most questions and uncertainty. Plus, if you add it to your homepage, people will focus their energy on typing in questions instead of reading your marketing copy, which could have persuaded them to buy.

Social proof

Adding corporate logos or testimonials from your current/past customers can help reassure your potential customers that you are offering a good product or service. This may not seem that important, but there is a lot of crap being sold on the web… and people are buying it.

This is leading to terrible online shopping experience for people and to buyer’s remorse. By placing social proof on your checkout page, you can increase the number of buyers going through your checkout page.

logos proof

If you are going to use logos of companies who are buying from you, make sure you use logos of companies of all sizes, from big to small… this way you won’t neglect any customer segment.

In addition, if you are using testimonials, make sure you follow the steps in this blog post. Placing weak testimonials that don’t contain a person’s full name, location or even picture can hurt your conversions. So, if you are going to use them, make sure you do it the right way.

Conclusion

If you follow the tactics above, you should see a nice lift in your checkout page conversion rate. But just like with all forms of conversion optimization, you will have to A/B test everything.

Why? Because what works for one business won’t always work for another… even if they are in the same industry.

So, what do you think about optimizing your checkout page for conversions? Do you know of any other tactic that we can all use to boost our numbers?

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Comments

  1. Hi Neil,

    Letting your user understand that there is no risk is really vital. I lost many users just because of neglecting it for one of my project. Adding 30 days guaranteed money back gave me good results but I also added “take the product and get the money back” and it worked great!

    Vamsi

    • Vamsi, trust is essential. That is why a money back guarantee is vital to anything you are selling. Thanks for the great feedback 🙂

  2. Neil,

    That you for another great piece of content. There are a lot of opportunities to businesses to improve their ecommerce experiences, and like with most of your nuggets of wisdom, these ideas are spot on.

    -@MrRyanConnors

  3. Hi Neil,
    Awesome post, with a lot of great tips! 🙂
    I especially liked the one about Qualaroo, which I will implant on my website right now! I think this is an awesome tool. Do you have some numbers of how much this tool increased your conversion?

    Thanks again

    • Easily over 20% throughout all of the times I have used it. It’s a really good tool that is easy to use.

      Worth playing with. 🙂

  4. Joel Mwakasege :

    This is great, people want a product the can trust in. A security and money back guarantee are that way.

    I also love Brian trace approach, he goes out of his way to right even a whole e-book about a certain topic and introduced you to a product which fail directly under that category.

    That’s how I came to use one his landing page plugin premise.

    • Joel, I think trust is the most important element. Brian’s approach is great because it really cuts into the nitty gritty of a checkout. Thanks for your feedback 🙂

  5. This is invaluable information, thanks so much for sharing!

    Makes perfect sense to me. The golden nugget of unchecking verification boxes is awesome.

    Will be back for more…

    Have a blessed day. 🙂

    – Carol

  6. Hector Cuevas :

    Right on the money Neil. I’m gonna give these a shot with my new membership site launch… I’m using premise so testing these shouldn’t be too hard. Thanks

  7. Hi Neil,

    Anything which improves “trust” between you and your visitors is important for conversion.

    By mentioning a Physical address & Phone number, apart from the E-mail ID and Contact form really helps 🙂 Obviously, not on the Check-out page, but on the home page or on some hot-spot of your site.

    Thanks.

    • Nandita, great points! It’s all about creating trust and easing the buyer throughout the whole process. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  8. Sourav Saha @ Blogaholic :

    Wow! Another great post Neil. Neil just nailed it this time:)

    Actually I like that you talked about ideal number of form fields. Apparently this confuses people a lot. In this case adding short descriptions and examples next to labels also helps a lot.

  9. Great advices Neil as usual and perfect timing, I needed that.

    By the way, I only know 2checkout.com. What are the best checkout tools for you?

    Thanks.

    • I myself hate most checkout tools. I try to use my own in house stuff as the design is more flexible, which makes it easier to optimize.

  10. Hey Neil,

    I really enjoyed this blog post. I am going to give a few things a try on my sales page.I really liked the unleash your thin example and the name and email on one page and the credit card info on the other. I will let you know how they work out.

    Thanks!

    • Sarah, I look forward to hearing from you about your progress. Please let me know if you need anything else in the meantime.

  11. Awesome neil. We saw a boost in our conversions from your tip on adding corporate logos. Thanks for you do. This was awesome.

  12. I went through an entire check out process minimizing the options and here is you saying different :/

    Gladly no loses since we did add a lot of proving and help through out to strength the process.

  13. Sprigley Allan :

    Great Article Neil!

    I was wondering does including alternate form of payment such as a PayPal or Amazon buying option help with conversions on your purchasing page as well?

    Thank You

    • It really depends. I have had people tell me a specific method helps them convert better. I would suggest testing it out.

  14. Hi Neil. really good stuff you pointed out.

  15. Thanks Neil.. We are going meet over skype tomorrow. i m so excited..

  16. Thank you Neil this post is great Post is great. But one thing i must say you viewer please join Neil Patel university one solution for all kinds of problem. i love that, and really i learned lots of thing which no one discus,

  17. Neil, you are great. I have never found any blog like this one. I really enjoy reading your blog. I am inspired to start my freelance business. But i have no money to buy a computer due to my poverty. Would you lend me something like 300 dollars and a domain name and webhosting cost. I will return your money as soon as possible. I am a little guy but honest and i think you love the little guy. I will be grateful to you. Thanks

    • Have you reached out to friends or family? I myself don’t lend money as I get a lot of people requesting that each day. And if I lend money to one person I would have to do it with everyone and I wouldn’t be left with enough money to pay my bills.

  18. Sprigley Allan :

    Thank you for your response. I will let you know how it goes.

  19. Trust is absolutely necessary when it comes to checkout pages. Verisign and other marks make it better. My personal favorite however is live chat.

    • Brian, live chat is a great option as well. I have found that people like to be eased into a purchase sometimes. Live chat allows you to do that easily.

  20. Jason Goldberg :

    Good stuff as per usual Neil. I would say there are some interesting permutations on the 1 field for credit card that often test better than multiple fields. i.e.

    http://zdfs.com/toscani/paymentInfo/index.html
    or
    http://kenkeiter.com/skeuocard/

    Most importantly, on the payment fields… don’t do silly things like have a separate field for 1st and last name.

    While testing is always good advice, be aware that marketing experiments on the checkout funnel can be a bit dicey. I.E. I’ve seen numerous retailers fail PCI audits, because they had a testing engine installed on their checkout page, that cached a copy of the users input (i.e. the credit card number). There are PCI compliant approaches to A/B testing but not all are.

    Lastly, I’d add the most important feature to profitable checkout page needs (at least in the US)…. “A Guest Checkout Option”

    Cheers,

    -Jason

    • Jason, thanks for these great tips. I have found similar findings in my experience. It’s all about allowing the user get from point A to point B as quickly as they can. However, you still have to place marketing up there when trying to get people to return to your site.

  21. I wanted to share my experience with customer’s reviews.
    you can add facebook page link to the name of the customer so people can see it is a real person.
    or a video (like a short interview) 1 question : A: what did you like in our service? -B: I liked this and this… some people really like to talk about their experience and they can explain smth what they wont write. In writing its always different.

    thank you for the article! I always find smth new.

    • Irina, thanks for sharing your stats. Sounds like you are on the right track. Writing and videos definitely are different. It’s all a question of preference. Thanks for reading!

  22. Brodey Sheppard :

    I like it, I don’t sell but as always great read, It isn’t just for online stores though I related this to our product and getting better sales face to face, convincing the buyer that it’s a great product it’s worth the buy that you must have it.

    Great read, great content awesome work! Love to see blog about small businesses growing into large businesses and what is needed to make a small local business into a national/international business.

    • Brodey, glad you found the article helpful. I think these messages can be carried across a broad range of online marketing. It doesn’t have to be specifically about selling things as you pointed out.

  23. LinkedIn Groups WordPress Plugin :

    Thanks for the tip about ChatterLime, Neil. We have already implemented it on our checkout and FAQ pages. Check it out: http://www.linkedingroupsforwp.com/faqs/

    I’ll let you know how it goes for increasing conversions. Thanks again.

  24. You’ve pointed out some interesting techniques Neil. Like you mentioned above, it all comes down to testing to see what works best. I think adding unannounced bonuses can help too, and I bieve the correct term for that is known as stacking.

  25. Hi Neil,

    Great and insightful tutorial as usual!!

    This is an eye opener, most especially on the use of qualaroo and chatterlime.

    I’m working on a clients site and I think the use of the two tools will go a long way in helping me cement a creative and highly conversional checkout page.

    Thanks Neil for sharing.

  26. Alvin Chadwick :

    Neil, this was a well written post, thanks for sharing!

  27. Directory Sieve :

    I couldn’t agree more with this:

    “Adding corporate logos or testimonials from your current/past customers can help reassure your potential customers that you are offering a good product or service. This may not seem that important, but there is a lot of crap being sold on the web… and people are buying it.”

    People see fame comments of people and rush to buy things they don’t even need this is consumerism in the full meaning of the word..

    But it works so if you are trying to increase your sales adding reviews of your other buyers really help to get more sales…

    • I have found that it’s the best method. It’s all about creating a dialogue about your product that allows people to hear from others how useful it is. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  28. Ravi Peal-Shankar :

    Hi Neil

    Adding social proof to a check out page is a fantastic Idea!

    Kind regards

    Ravi

  29. Thanks Neil for your useful guide. As everyone said, the “Get the product and moneyback too” is working as always.

  30. Olivier Lambert :

    Thx Neil! Shared your content with the staff in my agency, will def be of use soon enough!

  31. Nômade Digital :

    Hi Neil.

    Man, your blog is fantastic.

    Many many times I stop creating my content and begin to think if I’m not sharing too much, or sharing something that I should sell…
    But most of the stuff you share here you could be selling!

    I can’t handle this very well: what to share and what to sell.

    Nowadays I have alredy created some e-stores, but all of them on WooCoomerce framework.
    I could apply som of your tips here, but other I’d need a programer or designer.

    But good to know, because I alredy know where to come back!

    I loved the one about Change Your Visitors Mindset – very well used on the exemple – and the FAQ, that is simple, but always overlooked.

    Thanks! 😉

    • Nomade, thanks for the great feedback. It really is a tough balancing act when considering what to share for free and what to offer at a price. I always follow my gut. If something can benefit everyone but is pricy sometimes it’s best for everyone to share in the payment of the good.

  32. Thanks a lot for this useful guide!

  33. Ujjwal Blogger :

    Hi,

    @Neil

    I like your blog because your blog post always having few practical information, probably that’s why your blog post always come first on the results page.

    In this blog post, I like the most your conclusion part which is just awesome, usually I also believe in A/B testing, which also make me quiet successful but still long way to go.

    Thanks.

    • Ujjwal, glad I could help. I try my best to keep the rankings up so people can find the free content I provide. Thanks for the support 🙂

  34. Barbara McKinney :

    Thanks for sharing these tips Neil.Building a good checkout experience is about several things. It’s about eliminating distractions to help the user focus at the task at hand. It’s about providing all the necessary information and help so that the customer understands all the stages of the process.

    • Barbara, great points. It’s all about getting people from point A to point in the most convenient way. Thanks for your feedback 🙂

  35. Jane Beaufort :

    Thanks for the heads up. I am definitely not born creative. I’ve been spending time on how my checkout should come and go. Well, these tips should be a great guide for me. Cheers!

  36. Stuart McLeod :

    Hi Neil,

    Nice post,

    I have a non related question though,

    Why do you not use blog categories on QuickSprout?

    Thanks

  37. I saw an interesting one on KissMetrics. Adding a progress bar for the checkout process to increase conversion(facebook also uses this to complete your profile). I am planning to use that on my own online shop and will be back with the results 😉

  38. Howard Davidson :

    Excellent post. I think that checkout should look friendly and user should easily do what they want.
    Thanks

  39. Frederik Krautwald :

    How would you go about creating your own generic version of a TRUSTe or VeriSign seal, as you advice?

    (Thanks for yet another fantastic article.)

  40. Bryan Knowlton :

    Hello!

    This is Bryan Knowlton over at the Daily Blogcast for Internet Marketing.

    I just wanted to let you know we discussed your blog post on our show and would love if you could help get the word out to your readers!

    Episode 005 – New Media Expo – Barges Unvieled – Facebooks 1 Billion mobile users -Twitter Stock Skyrockets – and more!

    http://dailyblogcast.net/2013/11/08/005-new-media-expo-barges-unvieled-twitter-stock-skyrockets-and-more/

    We found the article to be well written and decided to feature it in this episode. If you woud like to provide any additional comments, you can do that directly at the bottom of the page listed above.

    Since this is a Daily Podcast, we will definitely be visiting your blog from time to time to find more great articles to discuss. If you would like to leave us a comment, question or a voicemail, you can do that on the right side of the page at http://dailyblogcast.net

    Again, thank you for the blog post! Without it we might have not had much to talk about! 🙂

    You can subscribe (or let your readers they can) at http://dailyblogcast.net/itunes

    Thanks again!

    Bryan & Mark
    http://dailyblogcast.net – Because reading is hard…

  41. Nice Post Neil,

    Yeah it’s true that some changes in the check out pages possibility to increase in the conversion of the site. I’ll try to add “money back guarantee” strategy for my products. Hope, it will work.

  42. HI Neil,

    I tried going to Chatter Lime, but it looks like they aren’t around anymore. Do you know any other services that offer 24/7 live chat?

  43. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for a great article.
    You mention social proof as a important factor, what is your thoughts on implementing social media like facebook and twitter as social proofs? I mean anyone can buy 5000 likes to their page, so does the customer even value that kind of proof?

  44. Of those ways you mentioned, I prefer making a training course. I am preparing to advertise the course to audiences. I hope it will work well. Thank you for your post. It makes me more confident of my work.

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