5 Signs your online checkout process is creating a bad customer experience

You’ve worked hard to advertise your online shop and come up with killer products your customers will love. So don’t lose them at the last mile by offering a terrible checkout experience that causes a disconnect and makes so many shoppers abandon their purchases.  

Download the whitepaper "How the lines between ecommerce and brick and mortar  are beginning to blur" to learn about the state of the omnichannel experience.

What is a bad customer experience? 

In this case, a bad customer experience results from a customer being dissatisfied with your checkout process. Customers expect to pay quickly and seamlessly for online purchases. A lengthy process, high shipping costs, a lack of payment options, or a poorly designed mobile experience can all cause a bad customer experience during online checkout.  

1. You’re creating a bad customer experience by forcing people to create an account 

It seems like a great idea at first glance: Make visitors sign up and create an account in order to complete the checkout process. These are prime leads who have shown a serious interest in your products or services. It’s only natural that you would want their email addresses so you can send them marketing materials in the future. It’s only natural you’d want them to become a subscriber. 

But that thinking is all about you, not the customer. And that’s the problem.  

Customers don’t want to waste time typing in all their info. They may not want to go through the process of signing up if they only expect to buy from you once. So why are you forcing them to create an account? 

All you’re doing is turning them off when they want to give you money. 

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? 

What to do instead: Offer guest checkout as an option alongside creating an account. This way, those who are in a rush or are buying on a one-time basis have the option to speed through checkout. If they’re not bogged down by an unwanted sign-up process, they'll be more likely to complete the transaction. Those who want to sign up for an account still have the option to do so.  

2. Customers can’t pay with their preferred payment methods 

You use Visa for everything you buy, so you think that’s pretty much the only payment method you need to add, right?  

This is a big mistake many people make when setting up their online stores without realizing how much it might affect their conversion rates. 

Everyone prefers a different payment method. While some people do use Visa or Mastercard for everything, others don’t even own credit cards. Some prefer to use Interac Online or e-transfer instead of adding debt. Others prefer digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, where they store all of their financial info.  

And if you’re attracting global customers, then you need to take their local payment options into consideration, too. While credit cards are popular in North America, they’re not used as much in Europe and Asia. Millions of Chinese citizens, for example, prefer to pay with a mobile payment platform like Alipay or WeChat Pay.  

There’s also been a surge in POS consumer lending, which is an alternative to credit. Consumers can apply for and instantly be approved for a loan directly on your checkout page. They can then pay for their purchase in full on your site and pay back the lender over equal monthly installments.  

What to do instead: Promote and accept as many different payment methods as possible to ensure you’re not adding friction at the checkout for customers with difference payment preferences.  

3. Your shipping costs are out of control 

This is the biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment. Visitors find what they’re looking for, they add the products to their cart, and they get ready to go through the motions of checking out. 

But then, wait a minute... 

What the... 

Halfway through checkout, shipping is calculated. Suddenly, the price to buy has doubled! 

Nothing makes someone leave an ecommerce site faster than unexpected fees. Yet, many online shop owners continue to charge way too much for shipping. 

What to do instead: If at all feasible, the best option is to offer free shipping. If that doesn’t make sense for you financially, then offer free shipping for purchases over a certain dollar amount. Add a banner to your website promoting this offer.  

If you still can’t offer this option, then make sure you give customers the ability to see shipping costs way earlier in the checkout process, so they can have the real pricing information they need to make an informed decision. This one little change can turn a bad customer experience into a good one. Adding outrageous shipping costs at the last minute will only frustrate potential customers and give them a bad perception of your brand.  

4. You’re making customers wait way for their purchases 

Sometimes, customers are willing to pay more for shipping – but only if that means they can get their products ASAP.  

One of the main benefits of in-store shopping is that you get to take your purchase home with you right away. To compete with brick-and-mortar shopping experiences, ecommerce stores need to get better at shipping.  

The fact is no one wants to wait two or three weeks to receive their purchases. Some don’t even want to wait more than a couple days. More and more, ecommerce customers are expecting next-day delivery. If you’re spending too much time processing orders and shipping them, you could end up losing a ton of sales. 

What to do instead: Offer your free or cheap shipping that takes a week or two for delivery. But make sure you’re also offering a faster delivery option, even if it costs the customer more. For those who believe time is of the essence, they’ll appreciate the option and won’t mind paying for the convenience.  

5. You haven’t optimized your checkout process for mobile 

Statistically, it’s more likely that someone will interact with your ecommerce website on a mobile device than a desktop today. That makes it pretty darn important for you to optimize your checkout process for mobile 

Smartphones have smaller screens and are tougher to type on, which you need to keep in mind. People don't want to have to zoom in to click on your buttons or see your pricing. They don’t want to have to type in endless personal and financial information on their mobile phones – it's just too hard to do accurately on a tiny touchscreen. Talk about a bad customer experience.  

If you haven’t optimized your checkout process for mobile yet, you could be losing out on tons of sales. People aren’t going to put up with a difficult experience.  

What to do instead: Make a mobile version of your ecommerce website that makes it easy and pleasant for people to navigate on their phones. Cut out as much content as possible to simplify the process. Only ask for the bare minimum info on forms. Make sure your buttons are big and easy to click.  

Further, consider adding tokenization to the payment process, so repeat customers can buy in just one-click with saved credit card information instead of having to type in all their card info every time they buy. That’ll be sure to turn a potentially bad customer experience into a surprisingly good one. 

Implement these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to making customers a lot happier with your checkout process. 


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Solange Messier

As the director of digital marketing, I manage BNA Smart Payment’s online presence while promoting its (awesome) brand and reputation. Day to day, I plan, manage, and lead large and small marketing projects from conception to execution and work with the sales team to connect effectively with prospects.

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