Fewer purchase cancellations: the user experience during checkout

When online purchases are canceled shortly before the purchase is made during checkout, the user experience is often the reason.

Fewer purchase cancellations: the user experience during checkout

Canceled purchases in online shops remains a complex problem for shop operators, especially because there can be so many different reasons for it. The elimination of this has therefore been one of the most important tasks of shop optimization for years now, even if not every reason is of a technical nature. The user experience often plays the decisive role in incomplete purchase processes.


There are already numerous instructions on how to optimize online checkouts, but they usually deal with technical issues and this makes sense at first. But if you don’t make any progress with this and reduce the rate of cancellations, you have to immerse yourself a little deeper and take a closer look at the user experience. What does the user experience of those willing to buy look like and where is there potential for optimization? To answer this question, shop operators have to deal intensively with their target group, because only they have the relevant experience. This is particularly important because user experience (UX) is often confused with usability. While UX is a subjective experience of a single person, usability is about objective user-friendliness. Both are closely related and can be described as follows:

The user experience is what subjective factors such as interests, needs and emotions make of objective usability.


How to detect UX problems

The UX is important for the entire shop, but the payment process is particularly sensitive. Here, for example, the question arises for the first time as to whether a potential buyer trusts the shop and becomes an actual customer.

Checkout UX optimization requires comprehensive data collection, which makes every little step traceable. Only once these data can be analyzed do the stumbling blocks that ultimately lead to cancellations become apparent. However, this only provides purely quantitative information about the distribution of cancellations in the entire checkout funnel, but does not yet reveal any information about the reasons. In order to get closer to an answer here, shop operators can have qualitative studies carried out in a Use Lab. It is important that the test persons are selected in a way that is as target-group oriented as possible. Even once this has been achieved, however, these are just laboratory results that provide clues. User surveys, which are set up so that only users who cancel checkout can participate, can then be used to evaluate these results.

Technically, this type of survey is triggered by a mouse-tracking procedure. If the user moves the cursor, for example, towards the button to close the browser window, a pop-up window displays the onsite survey. Further triggers could also be the back button or the URL input line.

Another source of qualitative information about the checkout UX is customer support. After all, users who have had problems completing an order, often turn to this support. Those who not only solve these cases, but also collect and document them, can derive important insights for improving the checkout.


What are the known hurdles?

There are several typical hurdles, but not every cancellation of a purchase can ultimately be explained. But that’s not so bad either, because in some cases there was never a real intention to buy. Users often just try something out, go on a digital shopping spree, compare shops or put their wish lists in the shopping cart without really wanting to buy them at the moment.


Typical cancellation situations during checkout are triggered, among other things, by:

  • the obligation to create a customer account
  • an inadequate choice of payment methods
  • an unexpected total sum (e.g. due to high shipping fees)
  • a request for too much personal data
  • a change in the availability of individual items
  • delivery takes too long
  • lacking information about the delivery date
  • the checkout process takes too long


The bottom line: the customer perspective counts!

The issue of customer accounts perfectly demonstrates how different the perspectives of customers and shop operators can be. While many customers are primarily interested in a fast and smooth ordering process, in which they do not first have to perform time-consuming registration, online merchants often think a customer account is the best way to ensure long-term customer loyalty. Providing the option of making purchases as a guest without a customer account alone can significantly improve the conversion rate.

This is also likely to reduce the number of mobile shopping cart abandoners, because with tablets and smartphones in particular, the mandatory disclosure of a lot of data is not exactly a pleasure. And those who are satisfied with their personal shopping experience are more likely to come back and perhaps create a customer account for their second purchase.