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Top 10 tools to optimise basket completion

Picture this – you’ve nailed driving customers to your site. Your traffic graphs are trending upwards from all the right territories (90% of your traffic is not coming from one IP address in China or India), your ad campaigns are getting a good CTR (click-through-rate), but your conversion rate is stubbornly refusing to follow suit. 

Hopefully, you have Analytics and Tag Manager or a similar package running step-by-step tracking and conversion goals configured to show you just how many customers are adding items to their baskets, which is great. But have you looked at your funnels to see where in your purchase journey your users drop out?

Before you do anything make sure you know your checkout process inside out. Document it. Screenshot it. On desktop and mobile because a pain-point on one may not necessarily be present on the other. If you can, do the same for your competitors’ websites to see what they do differently, or look at other sites that are popular with your target demographic.

1. The obvious first – optimise for platform

It’s no longer appropriate to simply resize your desktop form fields for mobile users. Take into account Full Name v First Name, Surname fields, scroll options instead of radio buttons, and form field tab order. If your form tabs from First Name to email to last name (yes, we’ve really seen this) it can really confuse customers who are naturally expecting a sensible sequence and results in the wrong information being entered into fields, form errors and frustrated users.

2. Step by step checkout tracking

Let’s assume you have got Google Analytics and Tag Manager installed. Google is great at helping you out to show you over the phone how to properly configure your tracking and goals. You do need to know the various URLs for your checkout pages in advance so have these in a document somewhere beforehand and it will make it all a lot simpler. As a minimum you’ll be able to see which checkout pages have the highest exit rates, if you can narrow this down to tracking on each and every field of your checkout you’ll be armed with all the data you need to see where your customers give up and work out what to do about it. 

3. 5-Step checkout

The shorter the journey, the easier and quicker your impatient and busy customers can make their purchase. 5 step checkouts should be the maximum, but don’t confuse this with 5 pages or 5 click checkouts. A lot will depend on your platform and your ability to customise your payment journey, but to make it visually shorter for customers a progress bar is a great way to show them how much more they’ve got to fill in. If you can keep this to 5 steps it looks manageable.

  1. Basket summary including clear voucher / coupon code field
  2. Name, email, phone, shipping postcode / address lookup form
  3. Billing details with checkbox to auto fill from shipping
  4. Payment options
  5. Confirmation page & option to create account

4. Postcode / zip code address lookup

Address lookup and validation

Providing an address lookup tool in your checkout removes up to 6 form fields from both shipping and billing pages as well as reducing keystrokes by up to 80%. And the benefits don’t end there. The address selected by the customer is then formatted with 100% accuracy into the address form validator to ensure your warehouse has a valid address to ship your products too and reduces the chances of failed delivery. Fewer mis-labelled shipments means fewer customer complaints, fewer customer service contacts, lower costs. It’s a win-win. And at around 2.6p per lookup, the impact on your bottom line is fractions of a percent. Try out our address auto complete tool on our demo here:


5. Payment methods

When selecting your payment providers of course there is a cost implication in transaction fees as well as an administrative consideration for managing multiple incoming payment channels. You’ll need your Analytics again to prove a business case for adding support for additional payment providers, such as PayPal, Apple Pay and/or Android Pay. PayPal has the reduces the customer need to provide card details to yet another online retailer, giving a perception of better personal security, but if a significant amount of your traffic is coming from these devices (including Mac OS desktop devices) then adding single touch fingerprint payment method reduces your checkout journey still further. Let your analytics be your guide.

If you’re using Shopify to power your eCommerce, then Shop Pay, Shopify’s own payment gateway, then you can seriously accelerate checkout with their 2-step verification payment process to auto-fill your customers payment and shipping information with a simple 6 digit verification code via SMS. Not only that, but customers can then chose to save that information securely with Shop Pay and it will work with any other Shopify store they buy from that’s also using Shop Pay.

6. Branded on-site or hosted payment pages

Payment pages are tricky things. The larger names in PSPs (Payment Service Providers) have good integrations and functions for back-end but aren’t always great front end performers, leaving you with sometimes ugly looking payment pages from the hosted defaults that work with limited success on mobile devices. Always brand these as best you can with your branding, colour schemes and logos and keep the process within your domain structure to enable on-site analytics to provide you with a clean, clear funnel of data for your conversion.

7. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) credit card scanning

OCR Credit Card Scannin
OCR Credit Card scanning
OCR Credit Card scanning

If alternative payment providers aren’t a serious option for you then it’s worth looking at OCR Credit Card Scanning options. It’s been around a lot longer than you’d think but doesn’t always get the credit (happy accident pun) it deserves now that fingerprint options are becoming so prevalent. If you haven’t come across it, the concept is simple. On your payment details page you can provide users the option to scan in their credit or debit card using their devices camera. They simply select the option and hold up the front of their card to the rear facing camera et voila! The image is scanned and all the detail – name, card number, start and expiry dates are pushed through and OCR algorithm and inserted into the payment details fields faster than a share price drop after a data security breach.

8. Form entry error handling

There are few things more off-putting in a checkout than one that gives you a handy ‘please complete all required fields’ message but doesn’t automatically scroll you to the field you’ve missed or that throws you right back to the basket should your payment method fail, deleting all the personal detail info you’ve provided. Whilst error handling and instances of errors can be minimised by using some or all of the solutions we’ve talked about here, there is still no excuse for not having well thought out error management. Make sure your users cannot tab past a required field. If one is missed you should ensure the page is scrolled back to the field and that it is properly highlighted, making it as clear as possible. If they’ve missed more than one required field auto-scroll to each one in turn – but also look at analytics to see how often it happens and consider amending the form to make it more user friendly in the first place. Are you requiring fields that aren’t really necessary? Are they properly marked as required?

9. Abandoned basket remarketing

The majority of cloud eCommerce packages now include an Abandoned Basket remarketing tool out of the box but if yours doesn’t, you really ought to get onto it as soon as you can. Back in 2016, while working as an eCommerce Manager for a grocery company, I meticulously prepared a business case for the development of an abandonment reduction process. Analytics played a huge part of the background along with some finger-in-the-air estimating of what percentage of abandoned baskets could be saved and what additional revenue that would generate. Within a month of finally implementing the process, which included an on-site basket warning and timed email reminders, I was able to report on a recovery of abandoned orders of 50% – 5000 extra orders per week. If you can tailor your process to include your branding, appeal to your audience, you can easily bring them back to make their purchase – but don’t forget, you need a good checkout experience too, to get them all the way through and wanting to come back.
Here’s some great examples of Abandoned Basket emails :

Abandoned shopping cart email example 3 Abandoned shopping cart email example 1

Abandoned shopping cart email example 2

10. Social account log-on / account linking

This is very much demographic dependent and can be off-putting in the wrong environment, but equally, it can very much appeal to the social butterflies of the millennial and Gen X shoppers. It also opens up a range of additional marketing tools where you can heavily remarket to your users on their preferred social platform.

Social Sign-in account linking

We’re not saying you should have all these tools in your checkout. You could. Many do, but use your analytics data, demographic profiling and business experience to consider what is appropriate for your business, budget and customers. Each tool on its own will provide a marginal gain in the quest for increased sales conversion, some gains will be larger than others and which ones are right for you is something you need to assess. There is always a trade-off between cost of development and implementation versus long-term benefit – but remember to take into account your wider business as well – is a tool going to be of value to other areas of the company such as warehousing, finance, customer service. Fetchify’s address lookup tools are ideal for front-end customer facing UX, but can also be integrated into back-end admin systems giving you a broader application and value across the business to increase data accuracy wherever it is used.

About Fetchify

We are a pioneer in SaaS address lookup and data validation solutions. We process millions of data transactions each day for thousands of clients ranging from small e-commerce startups to large household brands such as Heinz and RBS. Our flagship products Address Auto-Complete and Postcode Lookup reduce friction on checkouts, leading to increases in conversion rate of up to 40%, and helps reduce failed deliveries by as much as 75%. Since launching in 2008, we have differentiated by our ease of integration and exceptional support.