Your online business really needs to get a working online checkout system

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Having a working checkout system for your online store can be the difference between making a sale and customers leaving items in their shopping cart according to a new survey from Stripe.

The payment processing firm partnered with the management consulting company Edgar, Dunn & Company to study 800 ecommerce businesses in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The ecommerce sites of these businesses were then tested across 26 different criteria related to checkout form design, mobile optimization, localization and buyer trust and security.

According to Stripe's new “The State of European Checkouts in 2021” report, 94 percent of the top European ecommerce businesses had at least five basic errors in their checkout that added unnecessary friction for customers and have likely led to decreased sales. Some of the most common issues discovered by the report include poor card information formatting and error handling, not offering popular payment methods and not allowing customers to save their payment details for future use.

Of the European customers surveyed, close to 40 percent said that they have doubled or more than doubled the amount of online shopping the do in the past year. While increased demand can be a huge opportunity for online businesses, it also puts additional pressure on them to successfully capitalize on it.

Checkout needs to be fast and intuitive

European customers expect a fast and intuitive payment experience and almost a quarter (21%) of respondents said they would abandon a purchase if it took more than one minute to check out. However, 44 percent of those surveyed said that it takes more than three minutes to complete an online purchase on average with 17 percent blaming a long and complicated checkout as the reason they've abandoned orders over the past year.

Some interesting details from a previous study commissioned by Stripe include the fact that offering address auto-complete can increase conversion by almost 0.8 percent while using specific error messages can increase retry rates. For instance, shoppers are less inclined to try a new card after seeing a message which reads “your card was declined” while they are more inclined to do so after seeing “your card was declined. Try a different card”.

When it came to the top checkout form errors, 42 percent of businesses made at least three mistakes when formatting payment information or displaying error messages, 61 percent didn't support auto-complete, 10 percent of checkouts didn't let customers use their billing address as their shipping address by default and 75 didn't allow customers to save their payment information for future use.

As consumers now do more of their shopping on their smartphones, 58 percent of respondents said that it is either “very” or “extremely” important for an online store to be mobile-friendly. Customers are also more likely to abandon their shopping carts if the checkout page doesn't automatically adjust to the size of the device they're using. While more than 50 percent of ecommerce traffic now comes from smartphones, carts are abandoned twice as often on mobile as they are on desktop.

Whether you've just started your own online store or have been running one for some time now, ensuring your checkout experience is the best it can be as well as error free will lead to more sales and happier customers.

Via ZDNet

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.