Sealing the deal: E-commerce copywriting and the perfect checkout page

checkout page

So you’ve spent your time and money optimising your site so that it ranks highly in the search engines. You’ve pored over every inch of its design to make it as attractive and usable as possible. You’ve made your product descriptions scintillating and convincing in equal measure. But your actual sales are failing to deliver on the promises made by your traffic counters? The root of the problem, may lie at the very end of the process.

Once your customers have found your page, browsed through your products, decided that you can be trusted and actually chosen something they want to buy, all that stands between you and a sale is your checkout page. And if it’s a stinker, there’s nothing stopping your prospective customer from backing out of the process entirely and taking their debit card elsewhere.

Here are a few reasons why a customer might find your checkout page to be a turn-off:

  • Uncertainty about what they actually need to do to complete the sale
  • Grammar and spelling errors/ typos that cause them to question the legitimacy and trustworthiness of your website
  • Too much content to read, distracting from making the actual purchase

Just as your product description pages are crucial in convincing your customer to choose to buy, your checkout page is essential in convincing them to pay.

What are the ingredients of a perfect e-commerce checkout page?

Econsultancy published a good post on the technical and design elements that make an effective checkout page last year. These included:

  • Speed
  • No forced registration
  • Security reassurance
  • Easy form filling
  • Progress indicators
  • Persistent basket summary
  • No distractions

In terms of the actual content and web copywriting that goes into your checkout pages, input should be fairly minimal. But get this small bit right, and you’ll reap the rewards in the form of additional conversions and increased sales. Some of the above points carry through into the checkout copywriting process. The speed with which the user can carry out the purchase for example and how easy the forms are to fill out will directly relate to how well the process is explained and signposted in the writing.

Effective e-commerce copywriting on your checkout page should be clear and it put things in concrete terms. For example: “To complete your purchase, fill out your payment and address details below, and then click buy.”

The labels for your user-input field should also leave no room for confusion. Instead of ‘address’, write ‘billing address’ or ‘delivery address’. State whether the debit card number should include spaces or not (something that even some top brands still fail to do, resulting in check-out frustration). Don’t give the user a chance to get confused, frustrated or bored during the checkout process or they may abandon it entirely.

Building trust through better copywriting

Your checkout content can also help greatly in reassuring the user about security and privacy issues. Instruct your copywriter on the specific security measure you use to protect your customers, such as SSL encryption, so that they can convey that information with a reassuring and authoritative tone.

Finally your checkout page should contain a call to action, just as your product descriptions could, along the lines of, “you’re almost there, just enter a few details to complete your order.” Doing so maintains the feeling of a personal touch at this late stage, as one might get from a sales assistant in a bricks and mortar store.

Crafting the perfect checkout page can work wonders for conversion rates, and isn’t that, in the end, what e-commerce is all about? If you need a little help optimising your checkout page for success, get in touch with Big Star Copywriting and we’ll get one of our star e-commerce copywriters on the case.

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