How to create a frictionless checkout

You’ve heard the predictions, ‘60% of US retail sales will involve web by 2017’ and ‘mobile traffic is set to overtake desktop in 2015’. But how do you turn these predictions into conversions? Working for PCA Predict I get to see first-hand hundreds of thousands of transactions processed daily from over 10,000 global customers, meaning I have a pretty good idea about which online retailers are getting it right when it comes to checkout conversions. Here are my four top tips for a frictionless checkout.

  1. I shop differently online

I am a retailer’s worst nightmare when it comes to my shopping habits. For example, over lunch I browse several different websites, add various items to the checkout and then… close the browser down and go back to work. I use it as an ideas session and to work out roughly how much I wanted to spend.

If only those retailers realised that the vast majority of us shop in exactly this way. I’ve come across a couple of savvy retailers who gave me the option to add the items to the basket or a wish list so that I could email the list to myself or a friend (particularly handy for dropping hints to my husband). Most ecommerce platforms offer ‘wish lists’ as a plug for as little as $10 a month, many with the option to take a free trial. It’s something to seriously consider, for the retailer it means the relationship is extended beyond the last click and for me, it’s a reminder to come back.

As well as using Google Analytics to monitor traffic, you should also be trying to understand the common drop-out points. The good news is that analytics and big data tools are now being developed to help you identify customer behaviour, and adapt your site accordingly to maximise ecommerce revenue.


  1. I don’t want to give you everything

It’s a fairly common trend these days for online retailers to offer a guest checkout, or ask new customers to simply click a continue button and complete their details at a later stage. Some international retailers are starting to push social sign in; one example is Asos, cheerleading the benefits as ‘quick sign in with no passwords to remember’.  Where-as other online retailers are starting to offer all customers, regardless of whether you are new or existing, the option of guest checkout.




The main lesson here is to keep user experience front of mind, yes capturing customer data is incredibly helpful in building a profile, but if it puts a barrier between you and the customer sale then it’s not worth it. The experts over at constantly tell us how much they love a simple and straight forward checkout, especially as form abandonment rates are the cause of constant headache for ecommerce managers – here’s a mantra to repeat over and over “Keep it simple to increase conversions”.

  1. You had better know my address

Some quick stats for you:

With all these changes (and that’s just in the U.S and UK alone – don’t even get me started on the rest of the world), you can see it’s vitally important that when a customer enters their delivery or billing address – your website recognises it. The frustration of getting it wrong can be seen all over Twitter.

In the UK the government has pledged to spend billions on new housing developments in order to support economic growth and create local jobs. All great news, just make sure you are using the most up to date addresses and postcodes on your website – upsetting someone who is super happy having just bought a new home is bad form.


Find out if your ecommerce site is using the latest address data with our New Postcode Checker – direct from Royal Mail‘s PAF® file.


  1. Me, my mobile and my fat fingers

In December 2014, Barilliance published an infographic which detailed cart abandonment rates over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. The Global Cart Abandonment Rate on mobile devices was 79% (80% of UK users abandoned and 85% of US consumers abandoned), makes you feel a bit queasy doesn’t it! But with more retailers joining the mobile commerce race it’s imperative you get it right first time.

The good news is that it’s not too hard to get the basics right – just remember to think of your own experiences first. For example, my dad has fat fingers so finds it incredibly fiddly to fill in forms on a mobile. A simple fix is to think BIG – big text fields and big buttons.

A ‘BIG’ winner in the UK is, with huge buttons, minimal form filling, multiple payment options and drop down menus for delivery times.



Thinking back to my mantra from before, winner of keeping it simple is U.S. retailer, Best Buy, who has implemented a really user friendly layout with lots of white space and only three screens to complete payment – if only more sites were like this.



In summary, creating a frictionless checkout not only creates a better UX for your customers, but when you understand and improve customer behaviour and data you can maximises your sales and marketing capability.

To learn more about improving the customer experience and data watch our ecommerce video. Or if you are just venturing into mobile commerce, then you should download our ‘Where to start with Mobile UX’ guide.

If you’ve got your favourite checkouts that you would like to share with us please post your comments below.