Consumers around the globe have embraced ecommerce. Earlier this year eMarketer found that worldwide retail ecommerce sales reached more than $4 trillion — a 27.6% growth rate for the year. According to UN trade and development experts UNCTAD, ecommerce’s share of total global retail sales jumped to 19% from 16% in 2020.
The convenience ecommerce provides for consumers is undeniable. What it means for brands is they face mounting pressure to provide a unique, remarkable and consistent shopping experience to keep customers happy.
But what constitutes “remarkable?”
Many would rush to focus on design and imagery, great UI, or standout merchandising. The checkout experience is often overlooked because it’s traditionally seen as either a risky area to experiment with or the ability to make changes was not an option in older custom platforms and newer SaaS platforms.
Don’t get me wrong. Product imagery, UI and merchandising are all worth testing and optimizing. Still, from a brand’s perspective, the checkout stage is where a brand builds a long-term relationship with their customers. Whether through purchases, loyalty points, gift cards, pick up options or returns, everything comes back through the checkout interaction.
When you create a consistent, powerful checkout experience it carries this long-term relationship. It’s where the consumer becomes a customer. And without a frictionless checkout flow, you’re leaving money — and a deeper, ongoing relationship — on the table.
Elevate the checkout
Before you can build an ongoing relationship with your customers through the checkout experience, they need to make a purchase. Data indicates 88% of online shoppers abandon their cart during checkout. This means that the majority of people who might be interested in you will leave without spending anything whatsoever.
The best way to improve this is to make the checkout experience absolutely flawless without risking the functionality or stability of your ecommerce platform.
Here are four key areas you can focus in on to enhance your checkout experience and increase sales:
1. Use A/B testing to optimize checkout flows
Let’s focus on the most powerful use case for the new checkout experience: The power of A/B testing. The safest way to optimize your app experience without committing to drastic changes is through A/B testing. Iterate on your checkout experience to identify where design is causing dropoff of engagement, and continue iterating until you’ve developed a seamless, remarkable customer journey.
One reason headless commerce is gaining so much traction is because you can build any experience you can imagine. Paired with A/B testing, you can continuously improve the checkout one individual piece at a time to uncover how to convert your customers at the highest rate possible. Consider the following tests:
- Explore the difference between one page to five page checkout.
- Remove data fields to get consumers to purchase completion faster.
- Collect consumer data ahead of the checkout.
- Try rolling out upsell flows.
As Joel Farquhar, the VP of architecture at Pivotree, recently told Bold Commerce in an interview: The biggest benefit for clients leveraging headless commerce is gaining agility in their sector, he says. “It puts them in a position where they can rapidly improve the user experience across many customer touchpoints without large code deployments…with headless, I can easily integrate a variety of services whether it’s in ecommerce or payment or rating reviews or A/B testing tools.”
With headless, you can create powerful, catered checkout flows that will ensure you have optimal conversion while still offering all the features your complex business needs.
2. Build your checkout to solve for complex omnichannel experiences
Consumers today expect the ability to shop at their convenience be it starting from a mobile device then switching to a desktop to complete an order then picking up in store — all while having a consistent brand experience.
The checkout is the one interaction that you have with your customers that should be consistent no matter how a customer interacts with your brand. With social commerce and the rise of IoT, omnichannel is so much bigger than just in store and online now.
For some retailers, this creates intense technical demands that can leave teams wondering: Should we replatform our ecommerce store?
You don’t have to do that all at once. A headless commerce approach means retailers can build a consistent checkout experience that allows for pricing consistency across all channels, access to real-time inventory information, displaying in-store availability by location, managing buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and more. Seamlessly integrate one checkout, one price, one promo, one payment, one order across your organization. The bonus? Returns and refunds are simplified as all orders and subsequent payment information are stored in one location.
With a consistent checkout experience, a headless approach then creates space for other feature rollouts across all channels, like:
- Offering subscriptions, loyalty programs or accepting gift cards.
- Alternate payment methods
- Creating different checkout flows for marketing, voice or in-store kiosk.
- Layering in the ability to manage B2B pricing, different shipping costs and net terms with integrations to reduce the complexity of managing different systems.
- Integrating a fraud system.
Shaping your enterprise checkout experience like this can be an incremental step as you migrate onto another platform seamlessly or even upgrade downstream systems. The checkout is the one area where no matter what new or traditional consumer engagement you have, it needs to be simpler, easier and more convenient for your customers.
3. Use APIs to unlock future innovation in your checkout
With the explosion of new touch points and consumers expecting brands to enable frictionless commerce at every experience, checkout is where brands can orchestrate the experience with the operations platform.
Bold’s Checkout APIs allow you to extend that brand experience right through the checkout experience.
Not only do they solve for the basic use cases, but once you nail down the default checkout experience, you can reimagine new ways your brand can interact with your consumers.
Do you want to build a full custom checkout flow to power your clothing advisors to curate outfits? Could your strong content strategy enable commerce through content as a new touch point? Is voice a natural way for you to reach more customers?
With Bold’s Checkout APIs you can build a consistent checkout experience for these channels and any other you can imagine. When Harry Rosen moved to a headless approach, they identified the role of checkout going far beyond transacting payment.
“I think we really believe in the idea that headless commerce is going to allow us to think elegantly about the customer journey and what we didn’t want to do is focus on a platform that met our needs today but that we were turning into a Frankenstein,” says Ian Rosen, EVP Digital & Strategy.
4. Connect your brand features with your checkout for a seamless experience
Whether operating in the B2C, D2C, B2B, or a combination of these spaces, your checkout should meet the nuance of every touchpoint in the customer journey.
If you need net term payments, a white labelled credit card, tax calculations based on exact location, fraud protection, age verification, integrated compliance management, or upselling after the checkout, Bold Checkout Experience Suite can ensure your checkout reflects your brand features.
And with more integrations — such as loyalty points, gift cards, timed payments, marketplaces, and pre-orders — added regularly, the customization of your checkout experience is endless.
The sky really is the limit
A lot of thought, time and resources goes into the design of your ecommerce channels. Your ecommerce checkout will impact how satisfied customers are with your offering, how likely they are to follow through to spend, and the probability of their long-term advocacy and loyalty.
Once your current customer needs are addressed, your checkout should allow you to expand your imagination and support unlimited customer journeys, all while unifying your tech stack and giving your customers a simple, easy and fun experience at every touchpoint.
Special thanks to our friends at Bold Commerce for their insights on this topic.