Implementing a custom checkout experience for your eCommerce store

Gibson Toombs

August 10, 2022

8 min read

Did you know that 65 out of 100 eCommerce checkout experiences end with the shopper abandoning their cart? There are many UX issues that lead to cart abandonment, but some of the most common ones are:

- Slow, cumbersome, and unresponsive checkout pages

- Pages that require too much customer information

- The unavailability of guest checkout

- Too many promotions, upsells, and cross-sell opportunities presented

- The lack of a progress bar

There are many things you can do to optimize the checkout experience and ultimately increase sales for your eCommerce website. However, if you’re using a templated, out-of-the-box solution, you may run into problems when trying to update the user flow or add new features and functionality. Thus, many of today’s most successful eCommerce companies leverage custom checkout solutions, allowing them to maintain full control over one of the most critical steps in the customer journey.

So if you’re looking for ways to curb shopping cart abandonment and increase sales for your eCommerce store, keep reading to learn all about the logic, benefits, and best practices of custom checkout implementation.  

When is custom checkout necessary?

For businesses with a straightforward eCommerce model, standard checkout solutions can usually get the job done. But for businesses that need to support complex internal operations and a more nuanced UX, graduating to a custom checkout experience is a no-brainer. Here are a few key signs that your business is in need of a custom solution:

  • Meeting unique customer needs: If your customers want the ability to ship multiple items to multiple locations in a single order, include gift messages, choose a specific delivery date, or add other instructions, a templated checkout solution likely won’t cut it.
  • Enabling B2B sales: Many B2B companies are digitally transforming their sales process—traditionally facilitated by phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings—via modern, self-service eCommerce portals. Since B2B buyers typically have specific requirements regarding order volume, production, payment, and delivery, implementing custom checkout is a step in the right direction.
  • Accepting new forms of payment: While credit and debit cards remain the most common methods of payment, alternative options like digital wallets, direct bank payments, and even cryptocurrency are quickly gaining popularity in the eCommerce space. To keep up with consumer expectations and maintain a contemporary edge, you may need a custom checkout solution that supports current and future non-traditional payment methods.
  • Delivering a branded checkout experience: While standard solutions give you some level of freedom over the look and feel of your site’s shopping cart and checkout pages, there are certain UX and UI elements that will be out of reach without customization.
  • Automating the transfer of data between systems: Once a customer clicks “Purchase,” their order details get sent to multiple locations, whether it be a third-party order fulfillment vendor, inventory management solution, ERP, or CRM. With a custom checkout solution, you can build out the best integrations for the job, so that data is transferred efficiently and securely between back- and front-end systems.  

Key technologies for custom checkout development

While there are many different approaches here, the two main technologies that businesses use to power their custom checkout experience are open source eCommerce platforms and payment gateways. Let’s take a closer look at each:

  • Open-source eCommerce platform: With open-source eCommerce, or PaaS (platform-as-a-service), developers can access the platform’s code base directly, giving your sales and marketing team complete control over the checkout process. However, keep in mind that this approach requires a high level of time, effort, and expertise from your development team—unlike SaaS eCommerce platforms, where non-developers can quickly and easily deploy pre-built checkout features and functionality. If your site is currently running on a SaaS platform, and you’ve already reached your customization limit, consider migrating to open source and/or integrating a payment gateway.
  • Payment gateway: Payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree enable online businesses to accept card-not-present purchases. To maintain consistency throughout the customer journey, rather than redirecting users to an external site for checkout, you’ll need a payment gateway that can integrate seamlessly with your eCommerce platform. Some payment gateways offer more customization capabilities than others, so it’s imperative to nail down your checkout goals and requirements before settling on a solution.

Best practices for designing custom checkout pages

To optimize sales and reduce cart abandonment, your custom checkout experience should be fast, secure, user friendly, and responsive to all browsers and devices. Other best practices for your design and development team include:

  • Keeping it simple: Use a minimal design with as few pages and steps as possible. And leave out any unnecessary fields like the customer’s phone number, gender, business, and so on.
  • Being transparent: Keep the total price—with shipping, taxes, and other fees—displayed clearly on the screen, from the begin to the end of checkout.
  • Including a progress bar: Research shows that 27% of online shoppers abandon their cart due to time restraints. To help prevent buyer anxiety, display a progress bar at the bottom of the screen that shows how far along they are in the process.
  • Allowing order customization at every step: Many online shoppers change their mind during the checkout process. Rather than making them start over in these scenarios, provide a checkout experience that allows customers to easily change product variants, increase order volume, add new products, and make other modifications any time before clicking the final “Purchase” button.
  • Offering both guest checkout and customer registration: If shoppers are required to create an account on your site before making a purchase, your cart abandonment rate will go up. However, account creation can make the process faster and easier for recurring customers, as they don’t have to enter their personal information each time they check out. Thus, it’s best to offer both options.
  • Minimizing promotions: Offering cross-sell, up-sell, and promotion opportunities during checkout is a popular eCommerce sales tactic. But if it gets laid on too thick, customers may get turned off and abandon the page.
  • Running tests and collecting data: Since every buyer and seller is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all checkout solution. But with A/B tests, user interviews, and data analytics, you can see what’s working and what’s not, and continuously refine the checkout experience.

Get started with custom checkout for your eCommerce store

With a custom checkout solution, you can reduce cart abandonment and increase sales for your eCommerce store. But when it comes to implementation, there are many different technologies and approaches to choose from.

How complex are your customization requirements? What eCommerce platform and payment gateway should you use? What other third-party integrations will you need? And how can you ensure that data is communicated effectively and securely between different systems?

Here at Codal, we help businesses optimize their eCommerce revenue by designing, developing, testing, and maintaining data-driven solutions. Over the past decade, our award-winning team has built custom checkout solutions for brands in various industries, from fashion, to fitness, to food and beverage. And we’ve worked with a wide range of technologies, as well as formed partnerships with leading eCommerce technology providers like Shopify and BigCommerce.

Codal has the tools, expertise, and resources to build user experiences that exceed customer expectations, streamline internal workflows, and elevate your brand’s digital presence. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with a member of our team today!

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