Easy Ways to Design a Trustworthy Checkout Process


Most ecommerce website owners put a lot of thought into their checkout processes. After all, this is the point where most virtual shopping carts are abandoned. However, sometimes it is easy to focus too much on less essential elements while completely ignoring the big issues. There are some checkout issues that are deal breakers for many ecommerce customers because they destroy the market’s trust in your company. Here are a few elements of a checkout process that will put your customers’ worries at ease and easy answers for common problems.

Up-to-date SSL certificate. Most browsers will tell customers when a site has questionable security or when the SSL certificate has expired. For many customers, this warning translates as “Run away! Fast!” They are afraid that your checkout is not secure and thus have no reason to trust you. Easy answer: Keep your SSL certification up to date.

Security seals. You have probably noticed these on your favorite ecommerce websites, little seals from Verisign, McAfee, and other companies that assure customers of the secure nature of the website in question. Most customers will not look for these, but many will. Even the ones who are not consciously looking may subconsciously notice these icons and trust you more as a result. Even worse, some ecommerce websites have these seals but place them in an out-of-the-way area where they are not noticeable (such as in the footer of the page). Easy answer: Get a security seal and place it prominently, like right next to your ‘checkout’ button.

Secure wording. In addition to having certificates, seals and other external assurances of security, you need to verbally reassure customers that you are a safe website. You may not think that people will take your word on it, but the fact is that many will. More important, this will add to a general impression of safety when combined with the other elements that we have discussed. Easy answer: Use the words “safe” and “secure” wherever your checkout is discussed, such as “Proceed to secure checkout” on a button.

No glitches. Error pages and other glitches not only destroy the customer’s trust, they often make it completely impossible to get through the checkout process. They are so frustrating that many customers will leave and never return—perhaps telling a few friends about their negative experience as well. Easy answer: Make sure your checkout process works consistently on all of the major browsers.

Privacy policy. You should have a written privacy policy in plain language that the average member of your market can understand. Link to this policy liberally, because some people will indeed check it. Again: customers may not take your word for it, but combined with other safety elements this can be a powerful thing. Easy answer: Create a page with your privacy policy and link to it on every product page as well as at checkout.

Clear requirements. Your customers should know how to fill out your forms, so name the fields in a sensible way. In addition, provide a picture showing them where their CVV (credit card verification) is located on their card. Easy answer: make sure the average person is not confused by any part of your checkout process.