What is an Ecommerce checkout audit?

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12 Jan 2024

What is an Ecommerce checkout audit?

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your audience turn into customers. Especially when you've invested countless hours and resources in creating an optimised website, attracting customers, and showcasing your products. But if your checkout process isn’t user-friendly—all your hard work can be wasted.

An ecommerce checkout audit is a health check for your ecommerce flow, carefully examining every last bit of your checkout process. From the moment a customer adds a product to their cart, right up to the payment process. It's all about ensuring that buying from you is quick and easy. It keeps your customers coming back for more.

Online attention spans are notoriously short. A frustrating checkout process might quickly leave you with abandoned carts and have customers heading to your competition. An abandoned cart is when users add items to the trolly, and don’t complete the transaction.

The average rate for abandoned shopping carts is a shocking 70%. The good news is a better checkout design can boost conversion rates by 35%.

Who needs an ecommerce checkout audit?

Ecommerce checkout audits can be a game-changer in multiple scenarios.

Ecommerce retailers, managers and marketers can improve conversion rates and revenue. Especially during peak shopping times like the festive season. User experience designers and web developers can use checkout audits to make good design decisions. And security teams can ensure the checkout process meets legal and data protection requirements.

An ecommerce checkout audit is a must-have for any business that has a reasonable number of users coming to their website and clicking on products. But have an unexpectedly low number of people proceeding to buy.

However, a checkout audit is particularly useful for any business who is looking to:

  • Prepare for a checkout redesign: If you’re considering a checkout makeover, carrying out an audit before jumping into changes is a wise move. It helps you understand your existing process and gives you a benchmark to measure the success of your redesign.

  • Understand the user experience: An ecommerce checkout audit is like stepping into your customer's shoes. It gives you invaluable insights into how they use and navigate the checkout process. So you can make changes that matter.

  • Identify usability improvements: An audit will identify areas in your checkout process where users might get stuck or confused. Using this knowledge to enhance usability can increase conversion rates.

How to carry out an ecommerce checkout audit

Now you know why you should complete a checkout audit. But if you’re wondering where to start and how to implement an ecommerce checkout, our helpful tips below will get you started.

  1. Set clear objectives

If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you won’t know if you’ve been successful. Whether it's performance, design, accessibility, security, or a mix of these, clarity is key.

2. Website performance analysis

Assess how fast and efficient your checkout process is. Slow loading times are a major turn-off and lead to abandoned carts. And make sure your website infrastructure can handle heavy traffic – like busy shopping times, i.e. Black Friday, or after you send our promotional emails, for example.

3. Design and UX evaluation

Take a close look at your checkout page design. Is it intuitive and user-friendly? Pay attention to field placement, calls to action, the number of steps, payment options, pricing transparency, shipping costs, return policies and the overall checkout flow.

4. Check SEO and accessibility

Examine your checkout page for search engine optimisation (SEO). Especially for people using smartphones or tablets– and accessibility compliance. Otherwise, you’re pushing away a sizeable number of potential customers.

5. Security assessment

Online security is non-negotiable. The audit helps you spot potential vulnerabilities so you can ensure your customers’ data and payment information are protected…

Benefits of running a checkout audit

  1. Fewer abandoned carts and more conversions

Tweaking your website’s performance ensures your checkout process runs like clockwork. Customers love a quick and responsive checkout. This results in fewer abandoned carts, more conversions, and an overall great shopping experience. Suggestion: consider cardless payment options like PayPal or Apple Pay, to make the checkout process even fast and easier.

2. Happy customers

Your checkout page is the heart of a successful purchase. A user-friendly design, layout and navigation make the trip from cart to purchase simple. That equals happy customers and a healthier bottom line.

3. Better SEO rankings

A well-optimised checkout process can give you the edge in search engine results. With nearly 60% of organic search visits coming from mobile devices, mobile SEO bumps you up the search engine rankings and helps customers find you.

4. Become more inclusive

Accessibility ensures that everyone, including people with disabilities, can glide through the checkout process with ease. And you’re not just meeting legal requirements. You’re expanding your customer base and showcasing inclusivity.

5. Build Trust

By identifying and closing any weak spots in your digital defences, you can ensure your customers can shop safely. This trust factor alone can result in increased conversion rates and customer loyalty.

What do users expect during the online purchase process?

You might have the products they’re looking for and be a brand they connect with. But if your audience struggles at the checkout, they’re unlikely to become a returning customer.

Key elements users expect when purchasing online include:

  • Secure Account Login: Offer your customers a secure and safe account where they can log in with ease and store payment methods to make efficient purchases. With login options like Facebook and Google, customers can access their account quickly and easily, streamlining the process.

  • Shipping Information: Customers want to know how much they need to pay for shipping and be offered a variety of options when it comes to costs and delivery times.

  • Payment Information: From credit and debit cards to PayPal and Apple Pay, it’s important to offer as many payment options and provide as much information as possible to encourage customers to purchase.

  • Offer and Discount Opportunities: Make it easy for customers to input discount codes and pay using gift cards/vouchers.

  • Confirmation: Show clear confirmation messaging and responsive page speed times to ensure customers aren’t kept waiting after they’ve made a purchase.

  • Secure Checkout Page: Make sure all pages across your website are secure, especially the checkout page. The padlock icon in the URL bar is a clear indicator that the page is safe and secure.

Make sure you carry out a checkout audit regularly to ensure you keep your process up to date, and you identify any potential issues before they turn into major concerns. It’s easier to monitor and tweak continuously, rather than waiting for a larger problem that could potentially impact sales targets and conversions, but more importantly, the user experience.

In short, an ecommerce checkout audit is a powerful resource. By shining a light on the sharp end of your business, you can ensure a seamless and secure checkout process that satisfies your customers and keeps them returning for more.

Want to learn more about how an ecommerce checkout audit could help your business? Get 1-2-1 advice by speaking to one of our V-Hub Digital Advisors today

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