There are two ways to increase sales. Either by attracting more visitors to your website – or – converting more of your existing traffic to paying customers.

Depending on your budget, you may already be paying for online advertising through search engines and social media. But is pouring more money into it the answer, considering that there’s always room to improve your checkout process? Probably not. And why spend more, when you could reduce your customer acquisition costs just by testing and optimising a few things on your website.

One of the most important steps in your funnel is your checkout process, the journey a customer takes from landing on your website going all the way to paying for your products.

We’ve listed nine case studies here to help you convert more traffic into paying customers.

Clean Increased Conversions By 16%

With a conversion rate of 60% and 125k monthly visitors, The Clean Program wanted to ensure more people completed their checkout process. They managed to achieve a 16% increase in conversion by creating a 3-tabbed layout, adding interactive cues and customising their checkout to be consistent with their brand. Read full case study.

Single Page vs. Multi-Step Checkout

One-page or multistep checkout, what works better? It’s the great debate! On the one hand, one-page checkouts don’t involve multiple steps or page-loads. On the other, if you have too many fields, a multi-step checkout might make more sense. Which one do you use?

That’s what the folks at Elastic Path Software set out to find out when they reworked the official Vancouver 2010 Olympic Store. Through A/B testing, they found that the one-page checkout outperformed the multi-step checkout by 21.8%.

Optimize Checkout conversion rate

66% Conversion Boost With Faster Page Speed

Ever wondered how a slow load times affect conversion? Here’s something for you to consider – 1 out of every 5 customers will abandon your cart if it loads slowly. That’s a lot of revenue going down the drain for something you can control!

The people at Unbounce published a case study from Strangeloop with some eye-opening results. Their client had a five-step checkout and they wanted to test the effect of page speed on checkout conversion rates.

Strangeloop ran a 3-way split test, changing the page load variable for each one. For the first test, they sent customers to a fully optimized checkout and established a baseline conversion rate.

In the next test, they introduced a 2-second load delay to the first page. Conversions plummeted a massive 60% from the baseline.

In the final test, they introduced the delay midway through the checkout. The assumption here was that customers who are already halfway wouldn’t drop off because they’re committed. Yet, the results showed that only 3 in 15 ended up completing checkout.

Clearly, page speed matters a lot, especially in the checkout. By simply optimizing it, you can increase conversions by 66%!

14% More Revenue After Removing Navigation

The last thing you want to do is distract people from completing your checkout process. When you stuff your checkout with links, offers, and other products, you’re taking the focus away from the purchase. Attention spans are low these days, so it’s crucial not to distract customers just as they pay you.

In this case study, Optimizely examined what happens when removing the navigation menu and found that revenue per visitor increased by 14%!

VeggieTales checkout conversion rates

Notice how the checkout looks so cluttered. There’s a lot going on and numerous links in the header, meaning customers are just a click away from leaving the checkout. Compare that to the new checkout page and you can see why it makes such a huge difference in conversion rates –

VT checkout conversion rates

300% More Revenue By Establishing Trust

By making four changes to Century Hearing Aids’ website, CrazyEgg was able to raise their conversion by 220% and increase revenue by a whopping 300%! Now who wouldn’t want numbers like that?

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CrazyEgg focused on four areas; establishing trust, optimising traffic source, adding relevant product and adjusting visitor flow to achieve those numbers.

Trust is a major issue with many online sites. With so many phishing sites and hackers around, people need to know that their information will be safe with your store and that you’ll deliver on the promises you make. Doing things like improving the design, talking about product quality and adding product reviews, like Crazy Egg did in this case study, can go a long way in establishing trust.

eCommerce checkout conversion rate case study

Adding people increases conversion by 102.5%

Project management application Basecamp set out to improve their conversion rate by A/B testing their homepage. One of their tests was simple and involved putting a picture of a real person on their homepage. With that change, they managed to increase conversion by 102.5%.

Highrise conversion rate optimization

While this case study is specific to software tools, it the underlying concept works well for eCommerce stores too. Using real people establishes trust (see the previous example) and also allows customers to better envision your product. If you’re a fashion retailer, showing real humans use your products is non-negotiable.

54% Increase In Checkouts With These Two Words

Insound is one of the oldest online retailers of music-related products. In an effort to improve their conversion rates, they launched a new checkout process which looked great on mobile and tablet. Unfortunately, their users didn’t react well to the changes and their conversation rates took a nosedive.

In this case study by Optimizely, they walk us through the tests they conducted that lead them to change the text on a button from “Continue” to “Review Order”, resulting in a 54% funnel conversion increase. 

Recoup 30% of “Card Declined” Abandonments

According to this study by the Baymard Institute, ‘card declined’ errors can account for 2–5% of potential sales. Reasons can vary, from high card activity to sensitive fraud detection. Unfortunately, the card holder’s bank does not offer any explanation, and this doesn’t help retailers figure out a solution.

However, Baymard used a simple trick to recover 30% of those lost transactions. All they did was suggest that customers should use an alternate credit card or payment method.

Notice how they suggest using Paypal because that’s less likely to get declined.

baymard checkout optimization

A more advanced solution is using a fallback merchant account to process payments. So if a payment doesn’t go through on the first attempt, you can route the second attempt to the fallback. 

50% Decrease In Cart Abandonment

Forcing customers to create accounts during checkout just makes no sense, yet so many online stores do it. What’s more important to you, getting customers to sign up or getting them to complete a purchase? Obviously you want to make the sale, so prioritizing account creation over the checkout is the last thing you should do.

Online retailer ASOS changed one thing about their checkout which was adding the possibility to checkout as a guest. In this case study by Econsultancy, they highlight how ASOS was able to persuade 50% more customers to checkout. Econsultancy also included their analysis of why it worked so well and provide their best practices for a persuasive checkout process.

Do Your Own Testing

While these case studies give you an indication of what works for the companies mentioned, you’ll still need to your own round of testing. Each website is different and caters to different audiences. However, through testing different variations of each step of your checkout process, you’ll eventually find what works for you.