4 Checkout Process Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Costs

Are you losing potential sales during the checkout process? You could be making these simple checkout process mistakes that cause your customers to abandon cart.

4 Checkout Process Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Costs

The checkout process for your customers is literally the last step in the sales funnel. Forget the cost of trying to drive up visitor numbers and convert casual viewers into shoppers. Invest your time and effort into improving the checkout process; minor mistakes here literally cost you money because these people are almost certain to buy your product unless you make a mistake.

Here are 4 checkout process mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

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The Oversell

When someone is in line at the store, you find the racks of items they have to file past on their way to the register. These are some of the most profitable items in the store, since they tend to be tossed into the basket as a temptation and run up with the main purchases. It is a mistake to try to recreate this effect in the online checkout process to the point that it slows down the checkout process.

For example, putting a reminder at the bottom of the screen of items they put on the watch list when someone is checking out isn’t bad. You’re reminding them of items they were interested in or set aside without getting in the way.

The mistake is when you interrupt the checkout process with pop ups with notices like “You’re buying X, do you want to buy Y?” You should have had better bundle deals visible on the product page to convince them to buy Y with X. Don’t put pop-up ads in the shopping cart process; you may actually draw them away from completing the purchase or annoy them to the point they abandon the whole process. If you do want to sell to them, include recommended related purchases in the email notification confirming their order.

Not Putting the Most Important Information Out Front

A common cause of shopping cart abandonment is that the final price is far higher than someone expected. This may put your customers through a loop and discourage them. They will also be likely to distrusts your prices entirely and shop somewhere else.

Perhaps they thought free shipping was included, so the $20 shipping charge seems excessive. You can reduce this by clearly communicating on the page the minimum quantities or qualifying products for free shipping. A side benefit of making this clear early on is that you increase the odds users will toss in qualifying secondary items in order to get the free shipping.

Users often abandon a shopping cart when prices seem higher than they expected because discount codes or coupons weren’t applied. This is solved by generating messages when someone is applying an expired coupon or trying to use multiple coupons when only one can be used.

Another option is giving coupons a special URL and informing people the discount will be applied to their order automatically if they click on that link. When the link expires, the landing page can tell them it is expired but ‘here are the discounts we are applying today’.

Forgetting That Time Is of the Essence

Time is of the essence in the shopping cart process. The longer it takes to checkout, the more likely you are to lose the customer. You want to make checkouts take as little time as possible; this is why one-click checkout processes that do everything else behind the scenes are seen as an ideal.

Don’t make people fill out fields that aren’t essential; just eliminating some superfluous drop down improves conversion rates one to two percent. Don’t make them scroll down a page if it isn’t necessary, which is why checkout screen ads are doubly dangerous. Never make them fill out a second set of fields unless essential to the order, such as billing information tied to one address while going somewhere else. Auto-fill as many fields as possible; one popular approach is auto-populating the postal code field. Another is copying data from the payment account into the shipping address while people have the ability to edit it in case it is incorrect. Use a WordPress Form Builder that makes this process as easy as possible.

One way to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates is keeping them on the same page as they checkout. You can improve conversion rates by showing them exactly what they are buying in the shopping cart screen where they can modify quantities instead of them bouncing back to the original product page and potentially leaving the site. You do still risk them opening another tab to look for coupon codes to enter or search for a better price, which is why you should include informational messages about the discounts and deals already applied to the price they see.

And look for ways to keep them on the page so they don’t leave. To reduce cart abandonment, OptinMonster provides time-sensitive behavior based offers like putting timers up on a page so they feel pressured to buy it now, or discounts to those who left the shopping cart midway to entice them to come back and buy.

Trying to Collect Data While Checking Out

Don’t try to collect marketing data while someone is checking out. This is like putting hurdles in front of someone walking up to the checkout counter.

If you’re going to ask marketing questions, put them after the checkout process like a popup after they checked out that says, “Thank you for your business, can we ask you what brought you here?” Send them a survey on their checkout experience as part of the product shipment notice. You could also send a survey a few days after the product was delivered to ask them what they thought of the entire fullfilment process, and you can send coupon codes or discounts as a thank you along with the survey email so that they are enticed to fill it out and buy from you again.

A variation of this mistake is trying to require someone to set up an account with your company as a condition of buying. People see this as requiring them to agree to be marketed to before they’re even a formal customer, and it causes many to abandon their shopping cart.

If you truly want to incentivize account creation, offer discounts for those who sign up for an account just as many stores offer a large discount if you sign up for a store credit card. You can streamline this process by letting people sign in and create an account with their social media accounts; this has the side benefits of providing a massive amount of information about the user and eliminating your need to maintain their user account.


Make sure that your refrain from committing these checkout process mistakes if you want to improve your conversion rates. Don’t oversell your customers when you’re in the process of completing an online sale. Put the most important information up front in the checkout process. Streamline the checkout process to minimize the data collected and speed it up as much as possible; use existing successful form templates to achieve this. And don’t try to collect marketing data while they are trying to checkout, though you can integrate that data collection into your system generated emails related to the sale.