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5 strategies for checkout optimization

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Anatolli Iakimets

Director, Product Marketing

Published on:

Today the average checkout completion rate hovers below 50%. This indicates that more than half of potential customers abandon their purchase at the final step. For brands, this represents a substantial amount of revenue left on the table. By failing to streamline and personalize the checkout process, businesses are missing out on the opportunity to significantly increase their conversion rates and, ultimately, their bottom line. Addressing this gap could lead to a direct increase in completed transactions and enhanced customer satisfaction.
In this blogpost we will cover generic checkout optimization strategies as well as go beyond them into checkout personalization to get the most out of your commerce store.

Checkout Optimization Goal: Power Trio

Checkout optimization is a strategic process focused on fine-tuning three key metrics that are crucial for ecommerce success: Conversion Rate, Average Order Value (AOV), and Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). By optimizing these "dials," businesses can ensure that they not only attract more customers but also increase the revenue from each transaction and enhance the overall value of each customer over time.

Conversion Rate

Optimizing the checkout process to maximize the conversion rate involves streamlining the user experience to reduce friction and abandonment. This could include simplifying forms, providing multiple payment options, and ensuring the checkout page is fast and responsive. By making it easier and more appealing for customers to complete their purchases, businesses can significantly increase the percentage of visitors who turn into paying customers.

Average Order Value (AOV)

Increasing the AOV involves encouraging customers to spend more per transaction. This can be achieved through strategic upselling and cross-selling, offering bundled products, or providing incentives like discounts on higher cart values. By enhancing the checkout experience with personalized recommendations and offers, businesses can drive up the average amount spent each time a customer checks out.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

To boost LTV, focus on fostering longer-term relationships with customers beyond the initial purchase. This involves using personalized follow-up communications, loyalty programs, and regular promotions to encourage repeat business. Optimizing the checkout experience to include membership or subscription options can also contribute to increased LTV by turning one-time buyers into recurring customers.

Checkout Optimization Strategies

Here are five generic optimization strategies designed to enhance your checkout conversion rates, regardless of your product or business type. These approaches are universally applicable and aim to streamline the purchasing process, ultimately reducing cart abandonment and boosting sales:

Simplify the Checkout Process:

To prevent potential customers from abandoning their carts, minimize the number of steps and form fields in the checkout process, requesting only the essential information. Including a progress indicator can also help by showing customers exactly where they are in the process and how many steps they have left to complete their purchase. This clarity can reduce frustration and encourage them to complete the transaction.

Enhance Mobile Experience:

With a significant portion of online shopping done on mobile devices, it’s crucial to ensure that the checkout process is fully responsive and easy to navigate on smartphones and tablets. Optimizing input fields for touch controls and increasing the size of buttons can significantly improve usability. A mobile-optimized checkout minimizes the likelihood of errors and can speed up the transaction process, leading to higher completion rates.

Offer Multiple Payment Options:

Different customers have different preferences when it comes to payment methods. By including a variety of options like credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and others, you cater to a broader audience. Integrating one-click payment solutions can also be beneficial, as they allow for quicker transactions by minimizing the need for customers to enter their payment information repeatedly.

Utilize Personalization and Recommendations:

Personalizing the checkout experience can lead to increased sales. By displaying personalized messages or last-minute offers based on the user’s shopping behavior and cart contents, you can make the experience feel more tailored to the individual. Additionally, suggesting related products or add-ons as upsells or cross-sells just before the final checkout step can increase the average order value.

Improve Trust and Security:

Customers need to feel secure when making online transactions. Clearly displaying security badges, SSL certificate icons, and privacy policies can reassure customers about the security of their information. Transparent communication about additional costs such as shipping, as well as return policies, can help prevent last-minute surprises that might lead to checkout abandonment. Ensuring that your checkout process is seen as trustworthy can significantly affect your conversion rates.

One size fits all approach is not good enough anymore

Checkout optimization is crucial for enhancing the online shopping experience and increasing sales, but it's essential for brands to recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't yield the best results. Each segment of the customer base has unique preferences and behaviors that need to be considered when designing checkout processes. Instead of applying the same strategy across all platforms and devices, brands should tailor the checkout experience to meet the specific needs of different user groups. This targeted approach can significantly improve user satisfaction and conversion rates by aligning with how different customers prefer to shop and complete their purchases.

For instance, transaction data from Bold indicates that the optimal checkout flow can vary significantly depending on the device being used. Specifically, a three-page checkout process tends to convert better on mobile devices. This could be due to mobile users preferring a more structured approach that gradually guides them through the purchasing process, perhaps due to smaller screen sizes and the touch-based interface. On the other hand, a one-page checkout is more effective on desktops, where users benefit from seeing all the options at once and completing their purchases quickly. This difference underscores the importance of adaptive strategies that optimize the checkout experience according to the specific circumstances and preferences of each customer segment.

Checkout completion rate by device type

Going beyond one-size fits all with Checkout Flows

Checkout flows: optimized checkout experiences individually designed to serve a specific set of shoppers based user-defined criteria, such as the device they're using, their screen size, or the items in their cart.

Below are some of the examples of checkout flows that can be used to optimize conversion, average order value and customer lifetime value.

Optimized Payment Flows:

This checkout flow dynamically displays different payment options based on the cart value to better match customer preferences and increase the likelihood of purchase completion. For example, 'Buy Now, Pay Later' (BNPL) options are shown only when the cart value is high enough to justify this method. This approach can help streamline the payment process by offering more suitable payment solutions to customers based on the total cost of their current purchases.

Social Flow:

The social flow is designed for customers coming from social media channels. This flow enables users to complete their purchases without leaving the social media platform, significantly reducing friction and abandonment. By embedding the checkout process directly within the social media experience, brands can leverage impulse buying and streamline the path from product discovery to purchase.

Checkout from Blog:

This flow allows customers to buy multiple items directly from a blog post without the need to add each item to the cart separately. By integrating a seamless checkout process into content-rich pages, this method facilitates a smoother transition from reading and discovering products to making a purchase, enhancing the user experience and potentially increasing sales from content marketing efforts.

Optimized Upsell:

This flow strategically uses upselling techniques before, during, or after the checkout process, depending on the products in the cart. By analyzing the items a customer is purchasing, the system can suggest additional, complementary products to increase the Average Order Value (AOV). This targeted approach ensures that upsells are relevant and timed perfectly to maximize the potential for additional sales without overwhelming or annoying the customer.

Checkout from Video:

Reducing friction in the buying process, this flow allows customers to purchase products directly from a video. By embedding interactive elements into video content, customers can click on products featured in the video and proceed to checkout without navigating away. This method is particularly effective for demonstrations, tutorials, and influencer marketing, as it captures the impulse buy instinct and streamlines the path to purchase.

Checkout from QR Code:

Aimed at bridging the gap between physical and digital shopping experiences, this flow increases the conversion rate by enabling checkout from physical media such as flyers, magazines, and ads. Customers can scan a QR code to access a simplified checkout page where they can quickly complete their purchase. This method is excellent for promotional events, physical stores, and print advertisements, making it easier for customers to buy products from a variety of media.

Checkout from Email:

This flow is designed to increase conversion rates, especially for abandoned cart recovery, by reducing friction in the checkout process. By sending a personalized email with a direct link to a pre-filled checkout page, customers can complete their purchases with fewer steps. This method is particularly effective in recapturing lost sales, as it simplifies the decision-making process for customers who showed initial interest but didn't complete their purchase.

Making it possible with headless checkout

To implement and fully benefit from these diverse and optimized checkout flows, adopting a headless checkout architecture is essential. Headless checkout decouples the frontend presentation layer from the backend ecommerce functionality, providing the flexibility to design and deploy customized checkout experiences across various platforms without being limited by the backend system. This approach enables a more agile deployment of checkout processes tailored to the specific needs of different user scenarios.

Benefits of a Headless Checkout:

Flexibility in Design and User Experience:

Allows for complete customization of the checkout interface to fit the brand’s aesthetic and optimize the user experience for different devices and contexts.

Faster Iterations and Updates:

Speeds up the process of testing and implementing new checkout flows or making changes to existing ones without needing to overhaul the entire system.

Improved Performance:

Enhances the speed and responsiveness of the checkout process by reducing the reliance on heavy backend systems and allowing for more client-side operations.

Better Integration Capabilities:

Facilitates easier integration with various payment gateways, third-party services, and custom extensions that can enhance the checkout experience.


Supports dynamic customization of checkout pages based on user behavior, cart contents, and other data, enabling more effective upsells and personalized experiences.

By leveraging a headless checkout system, businesses can create a more adaptive, efficient, and user-friendly checkout process that can significantly improve conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

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About the author
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Anatolli Iakimets

Director, Product Marketing

Anatolli Iakimets is a Director, Product Marketing at Bold Commerce

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