How To Design Better Ecommerce Checkout Forms

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Guest Updated: February 01, 2023

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changer for ecommerce. It generated lots of traffic to ecommerce websites, helped them generate more leads and revenue than ever before, and brought a huge exposure to the industry as a whole.

While generally a good thing for the owners of ecommerce sites, all the hype reshaped the industry in a way that left them no choice but to step up. If not, you’ll be left behind.

With the increasingly competitive nature of the ecommerce industry, you need to find a way to stand out.

And unfortunately, long gone are the days when driving traffic to your website was enough. Now, you need effective CRO (conversion rate optimization) strategies to convert that traffic into customers (ideally, recurring).

Want to increase your conversion rate in 2022? Start with your ecommerce checkout forms. Let this comprehensive guide walk you through a number of expert-level strategies on how to design better online forms that convert random visitors into repeat customers.

Table of content

Why Checkout Forms Matter

Checkout forms are vital to the success of your ecommerce site. Whether you sell clothes, comic books, or furniture, they are what stands between every customer and a successful purchase. Without them, you have nothing — zero customers and zero sales. In other words, without the checkout forms, your site is practically useless.

The image below will show you some of the statistics.

checkout forms

People abandoning their carts is bad for business. The good news is, you can do something about it.

In The $300 Million Button, Jared Spool, a co-founder of a school for UX designers, documents his journey of making millions of new revenue for a $25 billion retailer.

In theory, all he (and his team) did was tweak the checkout form on the retailer’s site. Once the changes were implemented, the problem went away, and the improved conversion rate resulted in a huge upside for the client.

His approach wasn’t simple per se. But neither was it rocket science. What made his efforts so effective is that they were systematic and logical. He also paid attention to the user behavior of all shoppers, including the site’s existing or repeat customers.

By addressing the concerns of the shoppers, Jared Spool and his team were also addressing what was fundamentally wrong with the retailer’s site. Here’s the rough workflow that they followed:

Step 1 - Identifying the Problem

First, they had to know what was wrong. And what the team found out was that the checkout form drove customers away. But while the team knew the form was the problem, they wanted to identify the specific problem with it. So together with his team, Jared Spool conducted usability tests involving people who needed to buy products.

Step 2 - Analyzing The Problem

What happened was that first-time shoppers hesitated completing the check out because the form required them to fill out a customer registration form. They had to type in their name, shipping and billing addresses, and payment information. And while all that sounds like necessary information, it was time-consuming and daunting for them.

Jared’s team found out that the first-time shoppers wanted to have a simpler process. The same case applied to repeat customers who forgot their passwords. These people wanted nothing more but to buy products. And yet, instead, they were supposed to follow through the following steps:

  • Type lots of text anew, or
  • Go through the steps of resetting their passwords

Step 3 - Fixing The Problem

Because people hated the Register button, the designers took it away for good. In its place they placed a Continue button with this message: “You do not need to create an account to make purchases on our site. Simply click Continue to proceed to checkout. To make your future purchases even faster, you can create an account during checkout.”

The fix was simple — Jared and his team simply installed a different button.

For something that didn’t require heavy alteration on the ecommerce site and in its operations, who could’ve imagined the results to be so divine?

The main result: a 45% increase in purchases.

Plus, during the first month after the fix was applied, an additional $15 million in purchases went straight to the retailer. As time marched on, the additional new revenue piled up to $300 million.

How To Design Better Ecommerce Checkout Forms

$18 billion — that’s how much ecommerce brands lose in sales revenue annually because of cart abandonment. And so considering how checkout forms are integral to an ecommerce business, you need to design your forms properly.

Below are the best strategies to maximize the conversion potential of the ecommerce checkout forms.

Structure Your Checkout Forms Well

Your checkout forms have to be logical and intuitive (easy-to-navigate) to shoppers. If you make it difficult for people to fill out your forms, they are quite likely to abandon their carts.

checkout forms

If you’re the one and only site that sells a specific product, you should have nothing to worry about in this department. It’s most likely, though, you’re not.

Tips on structuring checkout forms:

  • Keep them short - make checkout forms concise and cut the unnecessary fields. Shoppers dislike lengthy forms — even more so if they feature more than one page.
  • Group content strategically - while it’s always a good idea to create short checkout forms, it’s not a universal solution. If you have lots of information to present, be sure to group your content and be in line with its contextual effect.
  • Use the “right” input fields - ask only for the most necessary information that you’re going to use to fulfill the order like name, address, shipping details, and payment information.

Understand The Psychology Of Forms

Creating checkout forms is easy. But creating effective checkout forms is a whole different story.

Audiences tend to abandon online forms that they find confusing. To solve this problem, make your forms effortless to use.

Tips on using psychology on checkout forms:

  • Appeal to a target audience - Learn about your customers’ behaviors and create a form they will want to fill out. For example, if they’re the type of shoppers who enjoy reading information, design your form in a way that gives them what they want — plenty of information to read.
  • Don’t overcomplicate the process - creating forms that allow your customers to complete purchases with minimal input information and a few clicks will work to your advantage.
  • Make the purpose obvious - craft an irresistible title. Because it’ll be among the first things your customers will see, your checkout form’s title should be easily readable and understandable.

Make Your Checkout Forms Beautiful

People will also abandon their carts if a checkout form is hard to look at (for example, if the color palette is inappropriate or the text font is too big or too small).

These issues might sound superficial, but they are completely rational. Just think of it like this: if you’re in a place that annoys you, would you insist on staying there?

Tips on making your checkout forms beautiful:

  • Create visual momentum - include colors, images, videos, and even emojis at the right points. Your form’s graphic presentation can evoke positive emotions from your customers.
  • Use a responsive theme - considering how many people use their mobile devices to shop, your form should be mobile-friendly. Featuring colors and fonts that are not in sync will trigger negative responses.
  • Ensure effortless navigation - your customers shouldn’t have a challenging time going through a checkout form. Make sure the “proceed, “next”, or “continue” buttons are always visible.

Use Trust Badges

Using trust badges is an exceptional idea. These badges will significantly improve the way people perceive your brand. For an ecommerce site, trust is a chief factor in getting new customers.

trust badges
Use trust badges

Because of the security they bring to your site, trust badges will boost conversion rates. If you use them correctly, you’ll turn skeptical shoppers into confident buyers.

Tips on using trust badges:

  • Place them at certain places - make them easily visible. Place them at locations that won’t distract shoppers from completing purchases (like at the bottom of your checkout page).
  • Use the right types - types of trust badges include SSL Security, Money-Back Guarantee, Free Shipping and Returns, and Accepted Payment badges. Usually, this depends on the products you’re selling.
  • Honor your trust badge - put a trust badge only if you can live up to that badge’s offer. For example, don’t use an Accepted Payment badge with the PayPal logo if you only accept MasterCard and Visa.

A/B Test & Experiment

A/B testing and experimenting is a great way of knowing what works and what doesn’t for your target audience. If you want to identify a critical mistake in your operations, these approaches are very helpful.

The information you can collect from your users is endless. Which content, design, and functionality will be received well by the shoppers? Which phrase, colors, and themes sit well with them? Are there elements of your site that directly prevents them from completing purchases? Here are a few tips on conducting A/B tests and experiments:

  • Learn the top reasons shoppers abandon carts on your site - most online shoppers abandon carts because of additional charges (like shipping and taxes). Find out if this is also the case for you and apply the necessary fixes.
  • Test consistently - because testing isn’t a one-time deal, you should be patient. It involves testing for improvements repeatedly to find out the best results.
  • Know the more effective phrase for CTA buttons - the wording of the CTAs might seem equal to you, but it’s not actually the case. If you dig deeper into the marketing psychology, you’ll understand that the human psyche causes people to prefer certain words like Buy now and Get over Next, Continue, and other vague ones.

10 Best Examples Of Ecommerce Checkout Forms

Below are checkout forms from various ecommerce stores. Some of them are from stores that feature one broad category of items. The rest are from well-known online retailers and big players on the market.

Features Great Structure

1. Urban Outfitters

urban outfitters

Urban Outfitters, a lifestyle retailer, has a straightforward checkout form. As shown in the image of its checkout form above, they take shoppers through a basic shopping experience — no fancy images, texts, and other irrelevant elements. And if shoppers want to check out as guests and eliminate the hassle of registering for an account, they’re free to do so.

2. Revelry

revelry

Revelry is an online store that sells dresses. Their checkout form is just like Urban Outfitters’ checkout form — straightforward. They put images into play, though. Notably, they feature images of what a shopper wants to buy during the checkout process.

Comes with Psychological Appeal

3. Skullcandy

skullcandy

Skullcandy is an American company that sells a line of noise-canceling wired and wireless Bluetooth headphones, speakers, and more. Upon learning their target shoppers like to protect the environment, the company went on a mission to be environmentally friendly. Below the order summary as shoppers complete their purchases is a checkbox that says “Offset the carbon footprint of your order for $0.87”. So if the shoppers want to pay for this additional service, all they have to do is check the box.

4. Anthropologie

anthropologie

Anthropologie’s existing customers wanted to open a line of communication during checkout to reach out to their team before finalizing orders. So the online clothing retailer gave them what they wanted. Now, their checkout form includes a link to their contact number.

Beautiful Checkout Forms

5. Solo Stove

solo stove

Fire pits, stainless steel grills, and wood-burning stoves are among the items people can buy at Solo Stove. By selling ingenious outdoor products, its aim is to help shoppers create a good and beautiful life outdoors. And on their site’s checkout form (that pops up when a shopper has already added items to their cart), they stay true to their aim. Their checkout form is a representation of all things good and beautiful — visually appealing with easily readable texts.

6. Kings Comics

kings comic

Kings Comics sells popular comics and graphic novels, action figures, and the best variety of pop culture products. Their checkout form makes the hearts of shoppers — pop culture fanatics — happy. As their target audience would appreciate, the form’s simplicity is aesthetically pleasing. The form is not too vibrant, colorful, or confusing. It doesn’t distract them from what they really want. All these people want is to complete their purchases.

Uses Trust Badges

7. Ebay

ebay

On Ebay, you can find shoes, shirts, jewelry, laptops, chairs — basically, anything and everything under the sun. As a big name in ecommerce and as a platform used actively by millions of users worldwide, it’s easy for people to feel confident when shopping on it. And that’s not all.

In addition to ebay’s well-established online reputation, they also feature a visible trust badge that doesn’t beat around the bush. Their trust badge simply says people can “Shop with confidence” on their platform. If shoppers want to learn more, these people can easily click a link that can provide them with more information.

8. Lensabl

Lensabl

A great store for people looking for eyeglass frames, contact lenses, and replacement eyewear is lensabl. And it’s a great thing that on the site’s checkout form’s lower right end is a trust badge issued by Trusted Site.

This trust badge assures shoppers lensabl is a legitimate and trustworthy seller. It also grants these people the peace of mind to share any data to the site because a highly secure third party service provider will gather them.

A/B Tested & Experimented

9. Body Bliss

Body Bliss

Body Bliss is an online store that promotes the healing effects of aromatherapy. It also sells paraben-free skin care sets, hand sanitizers, waxing creams, and other products for relaxation.

After it conducted an experiment involving the reasons its shoppers abandon their carts, it discovered many people didn’t want to sign up for an account before they could make a purchase. And after hearing the voice of these people loud and clear, it made the necessary change. The image above shows that shoppers can “Checkout as a guest”.

10. Amazon

Amazon

As one of the big players in the ecommerce industry, Amazon conducted many A/B tests. And as a result of one, it removed distractions from its checkout page.

Amazon’s current checkout form is focused on shopping-related information. Compared to their original checkout form, it’s a lot cleaner. Their previous version featured other information (such as links to their About, Contact, and Home pages) on the upper portion. While they featured information that wasn’t completely useless, it stole the attention of shoppers from the important matter.

Notably, it discouraged shoppers from performing the one action they were about to do on the checkout page. Because of the distractions, they failed to complete their purchases.

Conclusion

Your checkout form can make or break your ecommerce site. So don’t simply go for an average design. Instead, refer to the abovementioned discussions to elevate your brand and create a one-of-a-kind checkout form that people worldwide will be proud to use.

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