Biggest mistakes to avoid at checkout

November 27, 2021

Biggest mistakes to avoid at checkout

Why do consumers peace out during checkout?

Research from Baymard shows the main reasons for abandonment include:

  • Surprise extra costs like shipping or tax.
  • Account creation requirements.
  • Slow delivery.
  • Complicated checkout process.
  • Lack of trust with personal info.
  • Not enough payment methods.

Understanding what drives customers away is the key to knowing exactly what *not* to do. Here’s a closer look.

What mistakes can you avoid at checkout?

❌ Mistake 1: Not being transparent about all associated costs

49% of consumers say extra costs at checkout being too high is their main reason for cart abandonment.

It’s a huge turn-off when consumers find a price they are willing to pay, only to get to the checkout page and realize shipping and taxes boost the total cost significantly. 

While it’s challenging to provide an exact cost when shipping and taxes vary globally, it is possible to include a price estimation. 

Coffee brand Illy does this:

Before you get to the final checkout page, Illy gives you a quick estimated total, eliminating some of the element of surprise for final costs.

Another idea is to offer free basic shipping and transparency around estimated tax. 

Kate Spade does this well: free standard shipping, an estimated tax explanation, and an estimated total.

❌ Mistake 2: Not including a guest checkout option

The majority of online shopping today happens on a mobile device. 

Customers who shop on phones and are required to sign up for an account, pick a username, and verify a password are much more likely to abandon their carts. 

It’s time-consuming to enter several personal details on a small screen.

Not to mention, it’s annoying. 

The alternative?

Give the people what they want and offer a guest checkout option. Here’s what Nordstrom does.

Offering both guest checkout and account creation options places consumers in the driver’s seat and provides a smooth checkout.

If you do require registration, allow one-click social sign-in. 

❌ Mistake 3: Complicating the checkout process

If your checkout process is inconvenient or involves unnecessary steps, count on losing customers. 

The standard checkout process is sleek and includes nothing more than:

  • Registration (guest or sign-in)
  • Address
  • Payment
  • Review and place order

Additionally, within those pages, there are ways to simplify the process and optimize for convenience:

  • Don’t require a registration
  • Allow social sign-in
  • Don’t ask for any unnecessary details
  • Allow autofill for address and payment
  • Remove your site’s header and footer
  • Eliminate all information that is not directly related to checkout
  • Avoid pop-ups
  • Provide multiple payment options
  • Don’t offer additional products too early

Couture Candy is a good example of a brand with an excellent checkout process. 

Their website has a lot going on with how many products it offers.

And here’s a look at the formal dress page:

But, the second you make a selection and head over to the cart, you only see what’s necessary.


It’s also worth mentioning that it's wise to use a progress bar no matter how many steps your checkout process includes. 

Pura Vida does this.

It’s the same psychology that applies to online surveys. 

When people know how many steps it takes to get to the end, they are more likely to finish.

Mistake 4: Not reinforcing trust

If customers don’t trust your website to keep their data secure, they won’t buy from you. Period.

Don’t skimp on investing in securing your website and over-communicating your site’s security to your customers during checkout.


  • Adding trust signals throughout checkout (e.g., including customer support & return links, writing the words “secure checkout” where your headers and footers usually appear).
  • Mentioning your SSL certificate and other third-party validations.
  • Placing well-recognized trust badges on your checkout pages.
  • Including multiple trusted payment methods like Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, PayPal, etc.
  • Investing in secure and convenient payment apps like Shop Pay, Amazon Pay, or Bolt.
  • Offering buy now, pay later options with trusted apps like Affirm or Klarna.

Here’s an example of how Oura reinforces trust with the Affirm logo and a link to more info.

Small efforts to establish trust go a long way.

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