4 Steps to Designing a Successful Checkout Process

Matt Briggs

As a site owner there is nothing worse than looking at your analytics and discovering that a large portion of your sites traffic make it to the checkout stage, only to drop off without making a single purchase.

It’s completely normal for a small percentage of users to exit the site with items still left in their basket. Maybe, they were interrupted during the checkout process, maybe they went back to add more items but spotted another deal on a competitor’s site – who knows!

So, what steps can you take to minimise this number?

1. Keep the number of fields a user has to fill out to a minimum

Rule number 1 – users don’t want to spend their precious time filling out reams of information just to buy something that would have taken just as long to pick up on the way back from work. You need to remove any fields that aren’t critical.


  • Collect additional marketing information after the purchase has been made.
  • Use postcode look up service to automatically fill out some address fields (make sure you allow the user to override these if needed).
  • Create a tick box, which allows the user to duplicate the shipping and billing information.
  • Offer PayPal as a payment method.

2. Don’t enforce registration in order to checkout

ASOS checkout process

A large part of checkout frustration stems from having to register an account before being able to purchase your goods.

Nobody wants another password to remember – they just want that ridiculously expensive perfume that they can’t really afford at the minute but hey, it’s on sale so who cares if they dip into our overdraft this month. New users should automatically be taken through the checkout process as a guest.


  • Give users an option to create an account once they’ve completed their purchase.
  • Explain the benefits associated with having an account and most importantly, make the process as easy
    as possible.
  • Implement a simple statement, such as ‘Would you like to save your details for next time?’

3. Employ a multi-stage checkout process

John Lewis Checkout Process

Traditional one-page check out methods have since been revamped due to A/B testing studies which suggest that a multi-stage process could achieve greater results. Take a look at some of the biggest e-commerce sites, you’ll struggle to find a single page checkout, and for good reason.

Multi-stage checkout processes drip feed data collection in a way that subconsciously feels like less work for the user, which creates a better user experience. This is a process that also facilitates mobile users. This is particularly pertinent now that more people are shopping online using mobile devices.

For larger value and more complex purchasing a three-stage checkout would usually be more effective. It allows the user to review their information and feel safe and secure knowing everything is correct before submitting their purchase. Payment gateways are also starting to realise the importance of fast, efficient, user-friendly checkouts.

4. Tell the customer what to expect next

Dom Pizza Tracker

We’ve all had that heart in mouth panic when purchasing something online only to not know what happens next. Did my payment go through? Will I get email confirmation? If I try and buy it again, will I get charged twice? Oh dear god what have I done?!

After a purchase has been made, providing informed details of what happens next will build trust with the customer and will be the defining point at which they choose to shop again with you.


  • Implement a ‘thank you for your purchase’ page detailing the next steps.
  • Provide a reference number and company contact details, just in case.
  • Let users know which company name will show up on their statement.
  • Give them timescales on delivery to manage their expectations.

Follow these simple rules when setting up your checkout process in order to improve your conversion rate. If you are still sat scratching your head, go through the checkout process of your competitors and you’ll soon find the problem.

Want to revamp your checkout process? Let’s have a chat! Call 01244 911 366

Matt Briggs

Operations Manager

When Matt isn’t streamlining operations at Limely HQ, you’ll find him playing squash, running marathons and supporting his favourite football team ⚽️

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