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As a ecommerce store owner, you have high-quality products and a beautiful web design that you are immensely proud of. The excitement is palpable as you watch the traffic flow onto your site. That said, the sales just aren’t coming in like you projected …

Even if your web page is beautiful and user friendly on the front end, you can lose sales if the checkout process is clunky or complicated. It can drive any sale away.

Many online merchants think that they’ve got a sale in the bag once their customer starts the checkout process, but abandoned shopping carts are a very real problem in e-commerce checkouts. According to Barilliance, up to 75 percent of sales can be lost during the checkout process due to shopping cart abandonment. This happens for a variety of reasons ranging from lack of trust, to the process taking too long, to the merchant requiring too much data input.

Your website’s checkout process is an important part of creating a positive experience and therefore, return customers, which is what we all really want. It’s where the customer feels most at risk and you, as a merchant, must earn their trust. Here are five proven keys to optimizing your e-commerce store’s checkout experience to build trust and increase conversions:

1) Account Creation And Data Validation

Many e-commerce checkouts force you to create an account before being able to check out. Yet, most consumers aren’t willing to create a permanent account from the get-go. They want to make the purchase quickly and easily.

However, as a business owner, you would like to collect the consumer’s data early on in order to effectively market to your customers. What do you do?

First of all, never force your customers to create an account. Doing so is a sure-fire way to lose sales. A great way to circumvent this problem is to offer an option to checkout as a guest. Once the customer commits to purchasing from your store, they will be required to enter their shipping and contact information.

At the end of the checkout process, you can offer to save their information for future visits. Chances are, if your customer has had a good experience, they will opt to save their information.

2) Make Your Customers Feel Safe

Instilling confidence in your brand and your site is as important as your design and ease of use.

Concerns about security can cause up to a 19 percent loss in sales, according to the Baymard Institute. Showing signs throughout the checkout process to increase your customers’ trust and feeling of safety within the process is crucial.

People want to know that their credit card and personal information is kept safe. There are a variety of ways to do this, but you’ll want to start by making sure your have a safe and secure checkout with SSL certificates.

SSL stands for “secure socket layer” and protects the internet connection and information being transferred. Consumers look for signs that the connection is secure, such as a safe checkout trust badge and that little lock symbol next to the URL.

3) Minimize Distractions During Checkout

The e-commerce checkout process is not a place that you want your customer to get distracted. Distraction is detrimental to the sale, so minimizing as many distractions as possible is a great idea.

Many companies will remove much of the navigation options that are normally available on the webpage and replace them with other links, such as delivery information, privacy notice, contact information, or live chat. These links should not navigate the customer away from the checkout page, but should open within a lightbox or modal window.

The idea is that you don’t make it easy to exit the checkout, but you do provide important information. The focus of the checkout page should be checking out.

4) Make The Checkout Process Short And Simple

Quick and easy is the name of the game here. Lengthy checkout processes cause frustration and allow distraction or a change of mind.

Include a summary of what is in the shoppers’ cart, as well as options to make changes to the order. Make each step of the checkout process obvious – your customer shouldn’t have to think too much and should encounter very little friction. E-commerce checkouts should glide along smoothly. Single-page checkouts are a great option here.

It’s also a great idea to show customers where they are in the checkout process by having a stepped checkout process. If you have four steps to checkout (such as order summary, shipping, payment, and place order) then show that on the checkout page.

5) Provide Multiple Payment Options

Brand recognition is one of the driving factors in creating familiarity and security. The greater the familiarity, the greater the trust. Your customers won’t necessarily recognize your brand (yet), but they will recognize the trusted payment options you offer, and that’s an important place to start.

Your customers are putting their faith in your brand when they order from your e-commerce store and they frequently already have a brand loyalty to their preferred credit card provider. Knowing that their chosen credit card is accepted and that their personal information is safe will make your customers feel much safer in the checkout process.

Trust, Simplicity, Ease, And Options Are Key

What kind of experience would you like to have at checkout? What kind of experience would you like your customers to have? Aside from your landing page, your e-commerce checkout page and process is one of the most important parts of your website …

It’s integral to getting your consumers to convert.

Building trust and minimizing risk to your customers is immensely important, as well as having a simple and a smooth step-by-step process. Even a small distraction and the slightest bit of friction can cause lost sales and abandoned shopping carts.

The checkout page should be the least difficult part of your customer’s shopping experience.