Navigating the stages of the online shopping journey involves a carefully orchestrated sequence of steps, each crucial to sealing the deal. From getting customers to the e-commerce store, enticing them to add products to their carts, progressing through the checkout page, entering payment details, and finally hitting the buy button, the journey is filled with opportunities for customers to veer off course. One specific metric that shapes e-commerce destiny is the checkout completion rate*. Let’s unravel the significance of this metric, decode its calculation, and uncover strategies to propel e-commerce checkout to new heights.
What is the checkout completion rate?
The checkout completion rate is the percentage of e-commerce checkouts that result in a purchase. It tells e-commerce teams how many online shoppers initiate and complete the checkout process within a specific timeframe. This means they made it past the online cart and onto the checkout page.
Cart abandonment rate also includes abandoned checkouts. When e-commerce teams look at the number of incomplete transactions, they should see the same or more incomplete transactions for cart abandonment vs. checkout abandonment because customers could abandon earlier or later in the process.
The checkout completion rate provides insights into how effective the checkout page is. Should the checkout completion rate go down, it could indicate that the checkout page needs to be optimized or the changes recently made do not keep up with industry standards or customer expectations. Continuous monitoring of this metric allows online stores to identify patterns and inconsistencies, enabling a more profound understanding of the checkout process elements that resonate with customers, and why customers bail at the last second. This valuable information can be used to enhance the checkout experience and help brands find ways to get more customers across the finish line.
How to calculate checkout completion rate
Here is the formula for checkout completion rate:
Checkout Completion Rate = (Number of Completed Transactions/ Number of Initiated Checkouts) × 100
This calculation yields a percentage that reflects the proportion of users who, after initiating the checkout process, proceed to make a purchase over a given amount of time.
Why is checkout completion rate important?
Cart abandonment is a huge issue for e-commerce retailers. Over 70% of all online shoppers abandon their shopping carts on average. Before customers finalize their purchases, they must complete one more final step in the online shopping journey. If something about the digital shopping journey or the checkout process hinders customers from inputting their delivery address and payment information and completing their purchases, e-commerce teams need to act fast to correct it.
Here’s a breakdown of why tracking and understanding the checkout completion rate is important to e-commerce retailers:
A pivotal factor influencing conversions is the customer experience. When site visitors can easily navigate the platform, comprehend offers, and seamlessly complete desired actions, the e-commerce store is more likely to achieve a higher conversion rate. Evaluating the customer experience on the checkout page means taking a closer look at how easily customers can complete the final steps in the checkout process. Is it obvious where customers can enter their payment information and address? What can you do to make it faster and more efficient?
Monitoring this rate provides a direct reflection of how well the customer experience at checkout aligns with the expectations and preferences of the target audience. Learn more about Generative AI for the customer experience.
It takes a lot of digital marketing efforts and investment to get shoppers to an online store and even more to get shoppers to add item(s) to their online carts. So losing a potential sale at the very end of the online shopping journey is a huge loss for retailers in terms of marketing ROI. The more shoppers retailers get across the finish line, the lower their customer acquisition cost and the higher their customer lifetime value. Tracking the checkout completion rate and fixing issues at checkout can improve all of these metrics without increasing the marketing budget or changing marketing strategies.
Online shoppers might drop off at checkout because they physically can’t proceed with entering their address and payment information due to technical issues with the website. Even a slight dip in the checkout completion rate can indicate technical issues with the website and/or checkout page. Technical issues can be greatly frustrating for online shoppers, especially if they are excited and ready to buy. Most will not return. So it’s paramount that retailers address technical issues right away.
Effectiveness of marketing strategies
Driving significant traffic to an e-commerce store is a commendable feat. But, the overall website conversion rate becomes a critical indicator of the quality of that traffic. A low conversion rate may signify that the incoming visitors are not qualified, meaning they are less likely to convert into customers. Additionally, it can highlight issues with the resonance of the marketing messages with the intended audience. Understanding these dynamics helps businesses fine-tune their marketing strategies for optimal impact.
While marketing strategies may better explain why customers fall off well before the checkout page, the digital marketing and customer experience sets the customer up for how inspired and confident they feel at checkout. Not to mention if a brand does not attract qualified customers to their e-commerce site from the start, they won’t get the conversions they want. So while these factors appear earlier in the customer journey, they can influence the checkout conversion rate.
Trust is a cornerstone, especially for online businesses. If visitors lack trust in the online store due to factors such as design flaws, lack of trust signals, unclear information, or a shortage of reviews, they are less likely to convert, even after they’ve made it to the checkout page.
The conversion rate becomes a tangible measure of the level of trust the business has established with its audience, guiding efforts to enhance transparency and credibility.
What is the average e-commerce checkout completion rate?
The average checkout completion rate or the percentage of checkouts that result in a purchase is 47%. That means that more than 50% of online shoppers who make it to the checkout page, still do not complete their purchases on average. A checkout conversion rate below 30% indicates the need for improvement. Anything above 62.6% puts that retailer in the top 20% of e-commerce stores.
12 checkout page optimization strategies
According to the Baymard Institute, e-commerce sites can gain a 35% increase in conversion rate through better checkout design. Below are strategies retailers can implement to enhance the experience.
1. Continuous testing
Implement A/B testing to experiment with different elements of the checkout process—test variations in form fields, button placements, and overall design to identify the most effective configurations for the checkout page.
2. “Buy now” button
Add a “buy now” button to all listings. That way customers interested in a certain item can bypass the online cart and go directly to the checkout page. Less steps means less chances for customers to abandon their purchases.
3. Performance monitoring
Regularly monitor the performance of the checkout process by tracking metrics such as page load times, exit rates, and form completion to identify areas for improvement.
4. Dynamic personalization
Leverage customer data to personalize messaging in the online cart. Persado Dynamic Motivation uses Generative AI, the Persado Motivation AI knowledge base to be exact, and session data (i.e. browsing behavior, buying history, preferences, etc.) to serve personalized messaging in the online cart in real time no matter if the user is anonymized or not. While one shopper may see “Awesome choices!” the next will get “Your basket is ready.” Brands that use Dynamic Motivation in the online cart, typically see a 3-5% increase in e-commerce sales on average.
While the majority of this dynamic personalization can be found in the online cart and not on the checkout page, a personalized online cart experience that matches the personalized shopping journeys customers have grown to expect, makes customers feel seen and “sets the mood” for more completed transactions at checkout. Dynamic Motivation can also be applied across the entire website and email.
5. Payment options
Online shoppers have grown accustomed to having a large variety of payment options at checkout. 60% of online shoppers will not complete their purchase if they don’t see their preferred payment method offered. Retailers should provide a wide range of payment options such as credit cards, PayPal and Venmo, buy now pay later options, and more.
6. Address autocomplete
E-commerce websites should offer address autocomplete using address verification tools. This helps customers input their mailing addresses faster and verifies and standardizes addresses to reduce the number of lost orders.
7. Securely store payment and address information
If customers decide to create an account, they should be given the option to securely keep their credit card information and address on file to complete future purchases faster. Like creating an account, this should be completely optional.
8. Prominent CTAs
Ensure that calls-to-action (CTAs) are clear, prominent, and strategically placed throughout the checkout process. Users should naturally understand within seconds of landing on the checkout page the next steps to complete their purchase.
9. Mobile-friendly design
Prioritize a mobile-friendly design for the entire e-commerce platform, especially the checkout process. Cart abandonment is even more prevalent for mobile shoppers. A seamless mobile experience is critical as a growing number of users make purchases from mobile devices.
10. Secure checkout
Highlight the security measures in place during the checkout process. Display secure payment badges and encryption information to reassure users about the safety of their transactions. Trust signals go a long way when customers are asked to input personal information.
11. Simplify the checkout page
Checkout isn’t the place for upsells, product recommendations, and banners. Eliminate any unnecessary banners or form fields that may distract customers from completing their purchase.
12. Display a product summary
Product summaries are standard for the online cart, but often don’t appear on the checkout page. It’s best practice to display a short summary of the products the customer is purchasing in order to reassure them that they selected the correct size, color, etc. They should also be able to remove products on the checkout page without having to go back to the online cart page.
Find more checkout page optimization strategies to boost conversions.
Final thoughts on checkout completion rate
It’s one thing to lead a customer to the “add to cart” phase of their journey (more on “add to cart” rate), but quite another to get them to finalize their purchase. To get there, e-commerce brands need a profound understanding of the intricate factors guiding potential customers to that all-important “checkout” or “buy” button. Succeeding in retail e-commerce demands not only a grasp of the customer journey, but also a strategic optimization of it.
Recognizing potential pitfalls is imperative for brands striving to maximize their checkout completion rates.
Consider the transformative impact of Persado Dynamic Motivation, a pioneering solution leveraging dynamic personalization powered by Generative AI to propel customers forward in their buying journey by speaking to them as if the brand knows them personally. It’s a powerful tool for brands committed to optimizing the online shopping experience.
Embark on a journey of enhanced customer engagement and increased revenue by requesting a risk-free trial of Persado Motivation AI.
*Metrics and terminology can vary from organization to organization and from industry to industry.