ConversionXL Founder Peep Laja Breaks Down
the Techniques Used on the Best Checkout Pages
[Tweet “hi @peeplaja @conversionxl i just watched your free vid on checkouts on @copyhackers – loved it!”]
Hey, this is Peep Laja, I’ve wrote a popular conversion blog called ConversionXL and I run the conversion optimization agency called Markitekt. Today, we’re going to talk about better checkout pages.
Checkout pages are critical. It’s when people who have scrutinized your products finally arrive to the place where they have to take out their credit card and give you money. Now, if your page sucks, you’re going to lose them and no money, so it’s critical. Also, what many people don’t understand is that small effects on your checkout page can have huge impact on your bottom line.
Just the other day I was working with a client who … It was an e-commerce site. Their checkout page, where they ask for money, it converted it 84%. So, 84% of people who landed on that page fill out the form and pay them money. If we were able to increase that 84% to 90% then we’ll, in that, this particular case, it will be 461 more orders, 87,000 more dollars and overall 24% growth in revenue, huge impact; small numbers, from 84% to 90%. Small changes can make a big difference. In this case, we’re going to talk about checkout pages for SaaS companies and e-commerce companies. This is not about persuading people that your product rocks. They’ve already gone through your site, they’ve made up their mind that, “Yeah, I’ll probably buy it.” So, this is the last step.
Now, many things you have to do to have the best checkout pages. First thing, focus on clarity. Do people understand which page they’re on? Be clear that this is secured checkout, fill out this form and you’re good to go, you’ll get your product, you’ll get your account. So, clarity is super important. You need to show the product and the final cost because you don’t want to trick people into giving you money. They want to be absolutely clear what they’re signing up for all that, so you need to definitely show the product, the cost, how much money they’re about to be charged, if they’re charging a recurring fee, then of course, what is the monthly recurring revenue, obvious stuff, right, and, “What do you need me to do? Focus, there needs to be only one single focus on this page, fill out this form then get something. That needs to be clear, so you need to … you want to start with a call to action what they should do next. The important thing about this clarity and focus is that you need to remove everything that is not directly contributing to people taking action.
Now, if you have a blinking banner, not very rare, they’re promoting your whatever auto-product, get rid it of it. You have navigation, clickable navigation? Get rid of it. Nothing should be there. People shouldn’t be thinking about going back, browsing some more, whatever. They should be thinking about taking out their credit card and giving you money. That’s it. Anything in your design that is not directly about people giving you money should go.
So, focus, super important. No distractions.
Second thing, a super good tool that I recommend is SessionCam. ClickTale also does the same thing, where you can watch user session replay videos. Basically, you play videos of people using your site. This is not like user test. These are actual people with actual money. If you watch these session replay videos of people browsing your site and coming to the checkout page, you will start to see a very typical pattern, how people use your checkout page. It goes like this, they scroll down, they scroll up, they scroll down, they scroll up. Why? Of course, they’re estimating whether filling out your form is worth the hassle. Is it going to be painful? Is it going to be long?
The critical thing here is that your checkout process needs to be as easy as possible. By easy, I mean people shouldn’t type very much. They shouldn’t type very much. Any optional field should go, don’t have any optional field. Only ask for what is absolutely critical. Fax gone, organization name, company name, like, if people want to put their organization on their anyways, whatever, they can just lay in there, go in their profile settings and do it, so none of that crap.
Great example that I love, gumroad.com, if you go gumroad.com, I think, /demo, you can see their checkout process. It’s as friction-free as it gets.
Behavioral scientists lead by B.J. Fogg from Stanford University, they’ve come up with this behavior model, how you can influence people to do certain things. Basically, what is consist of is motivation, people motivated to do something, that’s what’s the rest of your site have probably has done, and ability; how easy it is to do something. The easier it is to checkout, the less effort it requires, the more people will checkout. Third thing is trigger, so that means your call to action. Form as short as possible. If people are on mobile devices, tablets, smartphones, in the U.S. on the typical sites today 30% and the trend is up, like 75% increase year by year on most sites. Those people don’t want to type at all. Great example, surely you use Amazon. If Amazon sends you a promotional email, take out your smartphone, click on an email, you land on a product page, and then go through the checkout process. See how much you need to type, how many clicks that is – it’s amazing.
Here is one strong recommendation: if you are a business with recurring customers, meaning that your e-commerce store people, you want people to come back and buy more stuff, start storing credit card details. Yeah, it’s PCI compliance, all that BS, but it’s not so good for your return customer conversions. When they don’t have to enter their credit card number, it’s just one click, check out like it is the case with Amazon, your conversion is going to best, so super important. Form fields as few as possible, just every additional field loses you money. No drop downs. If you have like … Some companies do this where you have to choose payments methods, Visa, MasterCard or whatever, I don’t know why you can’t figure that out, that stuff should be automatic, then there’s a drop down. No drop down. Everything instantly visible. Automate as much as possible, like start with the zip code and then pre-select the country and state and all that stuff. As little typing as possible and your conversions would go up.
Field order, start with fields that are easy to fill in; your name, your email address, people know their name. When you have your, you know, you want to ask for credit card details, some people start with the credit card detail field, not the name field. Now, the problem is that credit card number field is complicated. That’s the hardest field there is. You should not start with that. It’s a psychological phenomenon where if we start something, we need to finish it. Once we’ve typed in our email address and our name, we’re so much more likely to fill out credit card number field as well. Multiple payment options, you need to of course maybe test how many offer Amazon payments with PayPal, Google Wallet, what not, so alternative payment options tend to increase your conversions or revenue, 10%, 15%. It’s good to have it, it wouldn’t cost you anything.
When people are assessing a page, they’re always playing a game called, “What’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong with this picture?” They’re looking for flaws. This page in particular, people are concerned with privacy and security, so you need to beef it up. Trust symbols tend to work most of the time, sometimes not, and it’s also preferable to use names that people have heard of, BBB for that you’ve been in business, depends on your audience of course, older people care more about this stuff. Security, so what I recommend a good tip is you have your form fields, the line where you ask for credit card details, the number, I mean, make that a different background color so it stands out like a security, you know the lock icon there and say, “We use 20, 256-bit security SSL blah, blah, blah,” and VeriSign logo, whatever you want to use there. People feel, “Oh, yeah, this is secure, this is confident,” so they wouldn’t get uneasy about giving you the credit card details, it’s especially if they’ve never heard about your, if you’re a new company. Same with Trust, you know it’s a good a idea when you also put their email address and all the pertinent data. Tell them why do you need to stay there. They’re so much more eager to give you this data if they know that you’re not going to spend the hell out of them.
Also, what I recommend is that you provide some sort of reassurance just using your plain spoken words, not the security Trust stuff but, “If something goes wrong, if you’re not happy with our product, service or, you know, we’ll make it right. Promise, it’s going to be good.” Something that comes from your heart. Your own words. Put it there on that page as a reassurance. Look at Groupon. Groupon has a Groupon promise thing whenever you go to their checkout page. Pretty good example.
Also, on every checkout page, you need to have your email address, phone number and a link to start live chat. No proactive chats just if people want. People want to feel that if they need help, they can get it. They’re not going to call you. Most people are not going to call you, but they need to be able to if they want to. Especially, they need to feel like they’re able to. They’re not going to call but they need to feel that they’re able to. If you’re doing phone tracking, put a different special phone number on your checkout page, so if somebody is going to call you from the checkout page, you know this is an important call. This person is about to give you money. Very important.
The call to action needs to be specific, no Submit. Avoid the word “submit”. The call to action best kind that finishes the sentence, “I want to. I want to get my stuff. I want to create my account. I want to complete my transaction.” You might want to experiment with putting the word “secure” in it: “Process my secure order.”
Most of these stuff is going to work for most sites, but maybe not for you. Set up tests. Cut down all the fields, well that you will need to test, cut off as many fields as you can. Simplify, remove distractions, clarity, add a multiple payment options, beef up the credit card details line with security, good call to action, start with the name field and you’re good to go. Thank you.
If you now go to conversionxl.com/firedup, you can download my book called “How to Build Websites that Sell” for free, it’s yours or you can go buy it on Amazon, but conversionxl.com/firedup, the book is waiting for you free. Thank you so much.