Elevating the online checkout experience to meet customer expectations

Modern-day shoppers are bombarded with competing online distractions. To make matters more complicated, they also have heightened expectations for rapid service and efficiency.

A solution? A digital, seamless checkout process tailored to meet growing demands.

From boosting security in online transactions to embracing new technology, here’s how businesses can revamp the checkout experience.

Consumer expectations in the digital checkout age

Shopper expectations at checkout are at an all-time high. With 91% of consumers reporting that a satisfying online checkout experience is crucial for their decision to return to a retailer,1 brands can begin to modernize the checkout experience by:

  • Optimizing for mobile. An estimated 60% of online sales are expected to come from mobile channels by the end of 2023, underscoring the importance of a mobile-first commerce approach.2
  • Adopting alternative payment methods. Mobile wallets and buy now, pay later continue to gain traction – over 50% of shoppers use digital wallets more often than traditional payment methods.3
  • Reducing checkout times. Faster online checkout experiences may correlate with more successful conversions. Across verticals, PayPal increases conversions by an average of 33% compared to other online payment methods.4

How do customer expectations influence business performance and customer loyalty?

Meeting customer expectations at checkout directly impacts conversion rates – 64% of consumers say they may not or would not purchase from a brand without an optimized online checkout experience.5

On the other hand, unsatisfactory online checkout experiences — whether due to mandatory account creation, unexpected shipping costs, or even a malfunctioning coupon code — can cause cart abandonment rates to skyrocket.

Given that 20% of consumers shop from a different retailer after abandoning their cart, failing to meet customer expectations at checkout doesn’t just hurt your bottom line. It may also lead to poor reviews and decreased loyalty.6

Tackling the challenges of traditional checkout methods

While traditional checkout methods were common in the early days of e-commerce, they now have the potential to lower customer satisfaction and conversion rates. Here’s why:

  • Longer processing times. Shoppers may become frustrated by the need to repeatedly enter information, navigate through several pages, or troubleshoot payment processing challenges.
  • Limited payment options. Fewer payment options can deter customers who prefer modern payment methods.
  • Security concerns. Older checkout systems may not be equipped with the latest security measures, raising customers’ concerns about data privacy and transaction safety.

Take the beauty brand Kiramoon, for example. By optimizing the checkout experience, the brand increased its transaction volumes — with a 6.25% higher average order value for purchases made using PayPal compared to other payment methods.

Ensuring security and building trust in online transactions

Secure and trustworthy checkout processes help build customer confidence. According to a 2022 survey, many consumers prefer online payment methods that don’t require sharing their financial details with merchants.7

Get started with these best practices:

  • Choose a secure payment gateway. It should employ advanced encryption methods and comply with international security standards like PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) to help protect data.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for transactions. This can add an extra layer of security.
  • Utilize advanced payment security tools. Predictive risk algorithms, secure data storage, and granular data analysis can help protect your bottom line.
  • Update privacy policies. It’s not just a legal requirement – when customers are clearly informed about how their data is used and protected, they may feel more confident in completing a transaction.

Streamlining checkout with user-friendly design

Secure and reliable payments are the first step to a seamless checkout experience. Next up are user-friendly, intuitive checkout pages.

Keep these tips in mind:

Opt for simplicity. Use clear, straightforward layouts and minimize the number of form fields to reduce complexity and increase speed.

Have clear navigation. Prominent buttons and steps help customers know exactly what to do next without confusion.

Remove friction points. Identify any obstacles that might deter a customer from completing their purchase, such as unnecessary pop-ups or complicated verification processes.

Embracing diverse payment options and customization

Not every customer will want to pay with a credit card. Some may want to split up the cost of a large purchase into manageable installments, while others may prefer the security of digital wallets.

Offering diverse payment choices — including digital wallet payment solutions, credit/debit cards, and buy now, pay later — can demonstrate your business prioritizes accessibility and inclusivity, allowing a broad range of customers to navigate and complete purchases easily.

The role of technology in enhancing checkout experiences

While brands should avoid overwhelming shoppers at checkout, new technology can simplify and accelerate checkout.

For example, artificial intelligence can optimize customer experience by analyzing behavior and preferences to offer personalized product recommendations.

Voice-activated shopping is another innovative solution, allowing customers to add items to their cart and complete purchases using voice commands.

For those with a brick-and-mortar presence alongside their e-commerce store, contactless payments can streamline in-store transactions.

As you explore these technologies, don’t forget the importance of mobile-friendliness. As average online shopping cart abandonment rates rise from 70% for desktop to 84% for mobile devices, you’ll want to e ensure any new implementations don’t compromise the mobile user experience.8 Check out this guide for more tips to decrease cart abandonment.

Leveraging data analytics for personalized checkout experiences

By tailoring the online checkout experience to individual preferences, data analytics is among the most powerful tools for personalization.

With data analytics, you can:

  • Customize checkout options. Use customer data to spotlight preferred payment and delivery options.
  • Predict and address abandonment issues. Identify cart abandonment patterns to modify checkout design or offer timely incentives.
  • Tailor promotions and discounts. By analyzing buying habits, you can offer targeted, time-sensitive deals that make checking out irresistible.

As 73% of shoppers expect brands to understand their unique needs and wants, personalization at checkout isn't just about unlocking their satisfaction — it's a competitive advantage that can boost conversions.9

Learn more about how efficient checkouts can help drive e-commerce success.

Go above and beyond customer expectations

There’s nothing more frustrating as an e-commerce brand than losing customers — and revenue — to abandoned carts.

Adapting to shopper expectations at checkout can remove friction points. From enhancing security to adopting new technology, strategic optimizations can create a more personalized, efficient online checkout experience. Learn how PayPal can help elevate your checkout experience


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