One of the most important elements of user experience on a WooCommerce site store is its checkout flow. Put simply, checkout flow is the way that customers are influenced to proceed through the various stages of the buying process, ultimately ending in a successful sale. Since checkout flow is such an important factor in making sales, it’s vital that you optimize it as best you can.
A well designed checkout process makes it as simple as possible for customers to make a purchase, resulting in enhanced conversion rates and sales figures. On the other hand, a poorly optimized checkout flow will limit sales by causing customers to abandon their purchases more frequently.
So how can you optimize the checkout flow on your WooCommerce store? This guide will cover everything you need to know about a WooCommerce custom checkout experience, including how different elements of the checkout flow affect the user experience, strategies for improving checkout flow, and useful plugins that can make your checkout flow even better.
What Is Checkout Flow?
Checkout flow refers to the steps that a customer must take to move from the beginning of the purchasing process to the end. The concept of checkout flow also encompasses the customer’s experience during this process – the smoother their experience, the better your checkout flow is.
Common stages of the checkout flow include:
- Adding products or services to their shopping cart
- Navigating to the checkout page
- Editing their shopping cart by changing quantities or removing items
- Entering customer information such as payment details and shipping address
- Payment processing
- Order confirmation
These stages aren’t necessarily the only ones in your checkout flow, but they form the backbone of the basic purchase process. Adding too many extra stages can risk overcomplicating your checkout flow, which may lead to customer frustration.
Why Is Checkout Flow Important?
Checkout flow often has a direct correlation with your conversion rates and sales figures. A smooth, frictionless checkout flow can lead to more sales since it removes obstacles for the customer to complete a purchase and improves their customer experience. This positive experience can also contribute to higher customer loyalty.
The reverse is also true – a slow, difficult checkout process has a negative impact on your conversions. Poorly optimized checkout flow can lead to confusion or frustration for customers since it impacts their customer experience. In addition, the longer it takes a customer to complete a purchase, the more chance they may get distracted and abandon their cart.
If your site has a poorly designed checkout flow, then it’s also less likely that customers will choose to shop with you again in the future even if they do eventually complete their initial purchase.
To put it simply, a well-optimized WooCommerce custom checkout process can help your store to thrive, but a poorly optimized flow will hold it back instead.
How Can Checkout Flow Impact Sales?
Your checkout flow incorporates various stages and elements, all of which can impact sales and customer experience in different ways. Specific aspects of your checkout flow that can lead to a poorly optimized checkout flow include:
- Site Navigation – A site with a clear layout and easy navigation makes it easier for customers to find the items they want, go to the checkout, and complete a sale. A confusing, complex site layout increases the risk of frustrating customers, leading to abandoned purchases and less likelihood of repeat visits.
- Checkout Forms – The more details your forms require, the longer it will take for your customers to complete a purchase and the more likely they will abandon a purchase.
- Cart Management – If customers need to edit their cart contents, easy cart management improves their experience and improves the chances they will complete their purchase. Unclear cart management or a lack of cart management tools (like quantity options) makes it more likely the customer will abandon their purchase.
- Payment Processing – Fast payments with multiple payment options increase the chances of a sale; limited payment options or slow processing will frustrate customers and could reduce the chances of future sales.
- Pricing Information – Showing details on additional costs like shipping or taxes upfront means your customers won’t face any nasty surprises at checkout. Failing to do so may frustrate customers when they reach checkout, meaning they may abandon their purchase.
- Account Creation – Customer accounts can provide a smoother checkout flow for repeat visits by saving their details and reducing the details they need to provide. However, requiring account creation before a purchase could act as an obstacle that stops a customer from completing their purchase.
Strategies To Optimize WooCommerce Checkout Flow
The key to an optimized checkout flow is to make the purchasing process as smooth as possible.. This can mean many different things, such as making the overall process quicker, simplifying specific checkout flow elements, or giving customers greater control during the checkout process.
For example, one way of speeding up the purchase process is to enable one-click or express checkouts. This means that instead of adding items to a cart and then manually navigating to the checkout, customers are given an option to immediately purchase items from catalog or product pages. Express checkouts mean that it’s less likely shoppers will abandon or forget to complete their purchases since they can immediately buy items with little effort.
Another option is to simplify your checkout forms to only require the basic, necessary details required for the purchase. Removing unnecessary fields will avoid frustrating customers with a drawn-out checkout process, leading to a smoother flow and customer experience.
Saving customers’ details for their next visit is also a great strategy for improving checkout flow for repeat customers. One way of doing this is by allowing customers to create an account to save their details and manage their orders.
However, it’s often more effective to ask customers to create their account after purchase rather than beforehand. Requiring account creation before their purchase lengthens the checkout process, but asking them to create an account afterward has the benefit that they will already have entered their details – all they’ll need to do is add a password.
Finally, ensuring that your WooCommerce store has a clear, intuitive layout means that customers will be able to navigate through the purchase process quicker and more efficiently. In particular, you should ensure that your cart management and checkout links are prominently displayed on each page.
While these are a number of useful steps to take to optimize your checkout flow, implementing them all yourself can require a lot of time, effort, and know-how. If you need assistance in optimizing your WooCommerce checkout flow, then consider getting in touch with an expert such as our team at WooNinjas who can customize WooCommerce for the best possible checkout experience.
Plugins For Optimizing WooCommerce Checkout Flow
One of the best ways of optimizing your checkout flow is to use some of the many great plugins, extensions, and add-ons available for WooCommerce. Plugins can add all manner of useful extra functions and features not available in standard WooCommerce stores, and many of these features can be extremely helpful in optimizing checkout flow.
The following list includes some of the best plugins you can use for optimizing checkout flow on WooCommerce. However, if you have any features in mind that aren’t listed here, you could always turn to our team of WooCommerce customization experts like WooNinjas to create a custom solution for your store.
2Checkout For WooCommerce
2Checkout For WooCommerce is a plugin that adds various additional payment options to your WooCommerce store. The plugin allows your store to accept payments in 30 different currencies and also supports 15 different languages, making it a great option for WooCommerce stores serving international customers.
In addition, 2Checkout enables custom payment gateway icons, titles, and descriptions, allowing you to adapt your payment gateway however you see fit. All of these features are great tools for improving checkout flow since additional payment options mean that customers won’t face difficulties making payments. Meanwhile, customization options allow you to signpost payment gateways more clearly to aid navigation.
Custom Checkout Fields For WooCommerce
Just as its name suggests, the Custom Checkout Fields for WooCommerce plugin from Algoritmika enables you to add, remove and edit custom fields on your checkout page. The plugin offers 19 different field types, along with additional options such as character limits, auto-complete functions, style options, visibility options, and fee options.
This extensive range of WooCommerce custom checkout options can help you streamline the checkout process by ensuring you get all the information you need from your customers at once. Advanced options such as visibility and fee options also allow you to tailor your checkout to different product types and provide customers with more transparency on pricing to avoid any frustrations.
WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor
Another option for customizing your checkout fields is the Checkout Field Editor extension from WooCommerce. Thisextension allows you to add, edit and remove fields on your checkout page, enabling you to customize your billing, shipping, and order notes sections.
The extension also allows you to freely move and reposition core checkout fields, allowing you to streamline your checkout process in any way you choose. Giving you more control over the information your checkout requires from customers means you can freely customize it with optimal checkout flow in mind.
Express Checkout for WooCommerce
Webpigment’s Express Checkout for WooCommerce plugin helps to reduce friction in your checkout flow by simplifying and streamlining your checkout. The plugin offers a number of features to make checkouts faster and simpler, including:
- Real-time quantity updates, allowing customers to change order quantities without reloading the page
- Fewer checkout fields, saving customers time when checking out
- Mobile optimization, giving a smoother experience for mobile customers
- An in-built payment processor, compatible with WooCommerce Payments, Stripe, PayPal, and more to give customers more payment options
The plugin also enables you to customize the logo, font, and colors used on the checkout page, ensuring it fits the branding of the rest of your store.
All of these features make Express Checkout for WooCommerce a useful tool for quickly and easily streamlining your checkout flow. The plugin de-clutters your checkout to allow customers to make their purchases faster and with less effort, meaning they’re less likely to abandon a purchase.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Sometimes, even if your checkout flow is well-optimized and streamlined to allow easy purchases, customers will still forget to complete a purchase or leave your store for other reasons. This is where Addify’s Abandoned Cart Recovery plugin comes in.
The plugin allows you to create scheduled follow-up emails to remind customers about abandoned items in their cart, motivating them to complete their purchases. You can also add coupons, discount codes, and other incentives to these emails to increase the chances of enticing a customer back to their abandoned cart.
There’s also a handy dashboard for monitoring abandoned carts and recovery details so you can keep track of which customers still haven’t completed their purchases.
While this plugin doesn’t strictly relate to checkout flow, it can help to minimize the impact of any elements of your flow that aren’t fully optimized. Giving you the ability to quickly and easily remind customers about their abandoned purchases increases the chance that they’ll come back to their purchase, improving your sales as well as their customer experience.
Direct Checkout for WooCommerce
The Direct Checkout for WooCommerce plugin by QuadLayers is another tool that streamlines the checkout process by removing certain steps and information fields. The plugin adds an option on each product page for customers to head directly to the checkout, rather than needing them to visit their cart first.
It also gives you the option to remove unnecessary fields from your checkout page and adds cart management tools within your checkout so that customers don’t need to navigate back to their cart if they need to amend anything. Streamlining the checkout process in this way provides a smoother experience for customers, leading them to a complete purchase much faster and reducing the risk of abandoned carts.
Improve Your Sales With A WooCommerce Custom Checkout
Optimizing your checkout flow is essential for the success of your WooCommerce store, as effective, streamlined checkout flows ensure that customers complete purchases without any obstacles or frustrations. Poorly optimized checkout flows can lead to abandoned carts, lost sales, and fewer repeat customers, but well-optimized ones will boost sales and customer loyalty.
As such, using the strategies and plugins listed above is a great way to boost sales on your WooCommerce store. If you have other ideas for optimizing your checkout flow that aren’t covered by the plugins above, then you can also get in touch with WooNinjas for a custom WooCommerce solution for a smoother, more efficient checkout flow – we’re always happy to help!