Insights / Strategy

PUBLISHED: Jun 26, 2024 42 min read

Optimizing the Checkout Process

Ruben Quinones

Ruben Quinones

VP, Client Strategy

Tom DiDomenico

EVP, Digital Strategy & Technology


Ruben Quinones (02:07): 

All right. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, whenever you’re watching this. My name is Ruben Quinones. I’m from Amsive. I am excited about today’s session optimizing the checkout. The last few sessions we’ve had have been all geared at the retail experience or just retail and eCommerce. There were more media-focused. This one goes a little bit deeper into the funnel, right?  

You can bring as much qualified audiences as possible, but if you can’t convert ’em or you’re not able to optimize that experience, then you’re missing out on a lot of opportunity. So looking forward to this particular session, because I know this is a challenge for a lot of brands, is how do you optimize the experience? How do you increase your conversion rates, reduce the abandonment in the cart? And excited because we have a great partner with us joining us today. So with that, I’m going to start making introductions and then we’ll get right into it. I know we’re live on LinkedIn and on Meta and potentially YouTube. We’ll try to keep an eye on comments, but we’ll get right into it. So my first guest actually works with me as a colleague, gosh, for the last, I’m going to say 10 plus years. Tom, 10 years? 

Tom Di Domenico (03:39): 

But yeah, 10, 15 years. 

Ruben Quinones (03:41): 

I know we’re getting old. So Tom, what do you do now? Just, we used to work for 10 plus years. You worked at another agency. We acquired you–not you specifically, but your company a couple years ago, and you’ve been working on eCommerce brands for, gosh, two decades I would say? So why don’t you tell me what you do and your experience. 

Tom Di Domenico (04:11): 

Yeah, so I’ve been in the eComm space since about 2009 or sooner or earlier than that now. I’m currently the EVP of digital strategy and technology at Amsive. I so spend most of my time working with clients, get to get the most out of their digital platforms, working in those platforms. I’ve been, like you said, I’ve been in eComm essentially my whole career. So most of those that time spent, most of those platforms are the major eComm platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify and Adobe Commerce, AKA Magento. 

Ruben Quinones (04:45): 

Yeah. Yeah, I remember our Magento days. And so we work with all of those providers still. They certainly bring a lot of value to our brands, our clients that we work with, but we have a growing partnership with BigCommerce. Why is that? 

Tom Di Domenico (05:04): 

Yeah, we always say BigCommerce is sort of that middle of the road sweet spot. You’ve got the spectrum when it comes to eComm platforms. You’ve got very complex but very customizable on one end and simple and kind of limited and restricted on the other. BigCommerce sits right in the sweet spot there in the middle. They’ve really adopted that open SaaS approach, meaning they have more public API endpoints than other people would, which is what you essentially need in order to make those customizations that you want. Their B2B functionality is really best in class in terms of the different SaaS platforms. We also, and this sounds kind of cheesy, but we really love the people of eCommerce, and that’s a real thing I have made. That sounds–  

Ruben Quinones (05:52): 

Cheesy, but okay. Yeah. 

Tom Di Domenico (05:55): 

Well, if you’re in the eComm space, I think it makes sense. Everyone in the eComm space, when you go to the shows, everyone, it is a really awesome community and I’ve got what I now consider to be friends at BigCommerce that I’ve been working with for years. So when it comes to working for your clients, doing the right thing for the client, having the right partner really makes all the difference. 

Ruben Quinones (06:17): 

Good stuff. I know you don’t want me to ask this, but fun fact. No, fun fact. 

Tom Di Domenico (06:22): 

I’m a boring guy. Don’t ask me the fun fact. 

Ruben Quinones (06:24): 

But maybe do you play teacher because it looks like you have a chalkboard or that’s the color chalk you could just start teaching. 

Tom Di Domenico (06:36): 

This is what happens when my wife lets me pick the paint color. It looks like a chalkboard. 

Ruben Quinones (06:42): 


Tom Di Domenico (06:43): 

Fun fact: I’m not good at interior decorating. 

Ruben Quinones (06:46): 

Alright, we’re going to bring in our next guest from BigCommerce. Lauren Spence, I appreciate you joining us today. Lauren, what do you do there? And tell me a little bit about BigCommerce. 

Lauryn Spence (06:58): 

Hey there. Hey Ruben. Hey Tom. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, Lauren Spence here. I’m the director of our agency partner program for the Americas. I’ve been with the company for about nine years now, so I’ve certainly seen it all, I would say. I go way back with Tom, as you mentioned earlier, just around long-term relationships at BigCommerce. That is a thing internally as well. And yeah, so BigCommerce, for those listening, Tom, I think you’ve described that quite nicely, but we’re very, very flexible, open SaaS, eCommerce platform for mid-market enterprise brands, really spanning across just about any vertical you could think of from simple to complex in both D2C and B2B.  

So ultimately, we’re here to help brands grow revenue across on the website as well as every channel where their products are listed online. And that’s by way of our acquisition of Feednomics. It’s an omnichannel feed management platform for BigCommerce, Shopify, Salesforce, and beyond. It’s eComm platform agnostic. So yeah, very excited to be here and thank you for having me. 

Ruben Quinones (07:58): 

Yeah, absolutely. I get a feeling your fun fact is funner than Tom’s a little bit. And yes. I’m curious, what is your fun fact? 

Lauryn Spence (08:08): 

I think, yeah, so this picture back here is a good giveaway. I maybe have an unhealthy obsession with Jim Carey, we’ll call it healthy.  

Ruben Quinones (08:18): 

Bring the picture over so we can have context. Or sorry, I didn’t. 

Lauryn Spence (08:24): 

I’ll try. 

Ruben Quinones (08:24): 

Just don’t break anything. I don’t, oh wait, that’s a lot bigger than I thought it was. 

Lauryn Spence (08:28): 

Oh, and I forgot I had a picture behind it, so that’s really fun. But there is a caricature of me as Ace Ventura. One of our partners drew this for me, Eric Young, EY Studios, and that is my boss Dan T as the monkey on my back 

Ruben Quinones (08:43): 

Very cool, alright. Just don’t break it. I don’t want to, 

Lauryn Spence (08:44): 

No, won’t break it. But I’m a big Jim Carey fan and have lots of little knickknacks like that. 

Ruben Quinones (08:50): 

Well, that’s a longer conversation Ace Ventura. You look younger than you are, or you just that into it. 

Lauryn Spence (08:56): 

I just got into it. And I am also a big fan of living color. I went to the archive, so. 

Tom Di Domenico (09:02): 

I mean, In Living Color. Those were the good and Carey days, right? Fire Marshal General.  

Lauryn Spence (09:08): 

Yeah, it’s all gold to me. 

eCommerce Conversion Rate Benchmarks 

Ruben Quinones (09:11): 

So let’s dive right into it. I figured we’d do some table setting. We can’t talk about optimizing the experience without understanding some benchmarks. That’s a question we all get is what’s a typical conversion rate. Now take this with a grain of salt. These are our category-level ones, and let me just make sure this is showing. Okay, there we go. So we kind of pulled together in the eCommerce space. I don’t know that this covers it all, but just to get an idea of by category-level where we stand as far as conversion rates are concerned. I don’t know if there’s anything missing here, if you guys know about otherwise. I think this kind of pretty much covers it all between 1 ¼ to 5%.

And then of course AOV is going to play a role. Obviously the higher the average order value, the lower the conversion rate. So there’s a lot of dimensions to it and nuances to this as well. And I would imagine maybe also newer websites, you don’t have that brand affinity. So lower conversion rates. Is there anything I’m not thinking about that could impact eCommerce conversion rates? Before we get into reasons for people abandoning, 

Tom Di Domenico (10:35): 

I mean, I would just say I love that f and B is now an eCommerce category as somebody who orders all their groceries online. The fact that food and beverage is a mainstream category and that was so awesome. No, I think you nailed it, Ruben. When you look at the categories, there’s a lot of caveats in there because it’s really generalized. You’ve got fashion and apparel, you’ve got everything from budget to luxury in there, and there’s obviously a direct correlation between price point and conversion rate on every eComm site.

So I think you nailed it. Those are sort of the takeaways. It’s nice to have the benchmarks and we get asked by clients all the time, what’s a good conversion rate? And the answer is never really a good one. It depends. And I think that really kind of illustrates that you have to nest that a OV chart inside each category chart to really get that answer. But 

Ruben Quinones (11:31): 

If it’s a 0.0001%, that’s not good. 

Tom Di Domenico (11:33): 

You’re doing something wrong.  

Lauryn Spence (11:37): 

I’d say confirm from the platform side. We run a lot of data and conversion metrics like this for our merchants selling both D2C and B2B, and I’d say that’s pretty on the mark in terms of where you see higher conversion metrics and categories like fashion apparel where there’s definitely more of that impulse buying or the likelihood of I’m buying something that I might return later, I want to see if it fits, versus home appliances…No one’s impulse buying a refrigerator. Those are thousands of dollars you want to take time.

And also there’s other considerations and are there the right payment options. So there’s just so many factors that go into it, but I’d say those are good benchmarks and realistic expectations to set. And it definitely matters what your category is as well as what type of business you are. Right? D2C, B2B or mixture of both. 

Reasons for Cart Abandonment 

Ruben Quinones (12:29): 

Yeah, no, absolutely. And then beyond that, it’s like, well, what channel are we talking about as well? New versus returning email versus direct traffic, organic, et cetera. So again, take these as a grain of salt, but at least it kind of gives you some benchmarks to look at either by category or by AOV. So let’s actually explore what are the reasons or the most recent data out there as it relates to why people abandon the cart. So this is being our right.  

We typically look at this, I think they put out a report every two years I want to say, and not as much has changed, maybe a few points here and there as it relates to payments. But either shipping costs are too high or there is no guest checkout. I don’t trust the site. I don’t know if that’s something that we still hear in this space, but again, that goes back to brand affinity. I think the credit card decline has gone down maybe in the last two years, and I don’t know that there’s anything that brands can do for that, that’s just a user error. And then we will dive into I guess the too long complicated checkout process. But again, kind of setting the table to kind of understand, well, what are the reasons people are actually abandoning the cart? And again, 68% end up abandoning once they’ve added items. Anything else to add here? I think this is self-explanatory. 

Lauryn Spence (14:12): 

I’d say, yeah, none of these shock me or surprise me. It’s probably worth talking about a few. I mean that top one around delivery expectations in shipping. I mean, if we think about how all of us shop today, the Amazon’s other big box retailers of the world like Target, Walmart, you name it, it feels like same day or two day shipping is ubiquitous, right? That’s something that is almost an expectation now and we’ve all been conditioned into it. But yeah, I’ve seen the studies, yes, over year, over year and that these continue to be pain points. So it’s interesting. These kind of don’t change. 

Tom Di Domenico (14:50): 

They’re still persisting, very persistent for many years. I think some are getting better. You talk about starting with the basics of having a technically-sound checkout. You talk about uptime and errors and things like that. I think as the world has moved more into the SaaS space, there’s just less of that. Thankfully I say from my side of the table, we’ve been able to offload that to the platform side, which has really helped. I mean, hopefully there aren’t too many people that are still on legacy proprietary eComm systems. If you are, there’s a whole better world out there you should explore, but I shouldn’t make those generalizations.

There are those use cases where it is applicable and makes sense, but if you are in that situation, invest in good application performance monitoring something like a new relic so that those things are surface to you. You don’t have to be testing it yourself every day and it’s sort of automated even if not a great, they are customizable more and more now, right? There’s plugins and apps and all sorts of things you can add to the checkout now, and those need to be tested and validated and all of that as well. 

Technical Aspects of Checkout Optimization 

Ruben Quinones (16:18): 

So Tom, I think you hit on right, what is it the 17% that kind of encounter an hour? So you hit on, I guess, updated plugin security. Maybe on the marketing side, what are the top things I might need to know that hey, development needs to do a QA every X amount of time, or they need to make sure they have this login? What does that look like? 

Tom Di Domenico (16:48): 

Yeah, I mean I think again, it depends sort of what platform you’re on. If you’re on an on-prem platform versus a SaaS platform, the answer’s all the time. If you’re on something that’s a little bit more automated, you obviously want to do a ton of prep before Black Friday, Cyber Monday to ensure you can, or whatever your particular seasonal spikes are to make sure you can handle high volume. Otherwise it really, it’s probably based around your upgrade and your development cycle, right? How often are you making changes to it? If you don’t touch it, chances are it won’t break. But at least from a SaaS perspective. So, you know, I think it really sort of depends on, you know, how frequently you’re making updates to that checkout. 

Ruben Quinones (17:36): 

And I would think there’s several ways to go about it as far as getting alerts, I know there’s alerts for when the site is down. I don’t know if there’s alerts when the checkout process has an issue, but obviously if you get X amount of orders typically, an alert, an order alert. 

Tom Di Domenico (17:54): 

There’s a couple of safeguards there. So I mentioned New Relic and APM monitoring. So with tools like that, you could create what’s called synthetic tests that simulate a user going through the process and it will alert you if it fails at any point. You can also create smart alerts in Google Analytics where if there’s a deviation from your usual traffic or conversion or goal events or anything within a certain threshold, it’ll alert you. Sort of like a low code way of doing it. There’s lots of options out there. 

Ruben Quinones (18:27): 

Tom, what were those tools you mentioned that will simulate a user checking out? 

Tom Di Domenico (18:32): 

Ah, synthetic testing. So there’s a bunch of ways you can do that. We generally use New Relic for that on our team, but there’s other options too. Even some simpler ones like Pingdom, things like that. 

Ruben Quinones (18:44): 

Very good. And I don’t know if, I guess that falls on the responsibility of the marker or the agency, right? 

Lauryn Spence (18:54): 

Yeah, typically, I mean there’s ways you can obviously preview and test and check out various apps you can set up for alerts, but we have a very partner first approach and majority of our customers, given that we are a SaaS platform, a lot of those cost savings are being reinvested with agencies such as Amsive to really optimize ongoing site experience, marketing, very growth oriented services. And this exactly falls in that bucket. It is a full-time job. The brand should focus on selling the products, not keeping the lights on or worrying about these issues. So that’s where I feel there’s just such inherent value from the Amsive side to monitor that and really optimize that, test it to ensure that the actual brand is keeping up with buyer expectations and that there’s no errors. 

Ruben Quinones (19:43): 

Yeah, no, it makes sense. So that’s one point just looking at and kind of fool proofing as much as possible, the checkout process from a technical standpoint. Talk a little bit about I guess what you can control. And you would think, well, you can’t really control shipping costs, but you could control where you show it in the process. And I guess me being more on the media side, I’ll kind of just check that box in knowing that if you set that expectation upfront, think about the dollars that you don’t have to spend to retarget to individuals that are abandoning the cart. So depending on how much money you’re spending on the media side, that can add up a lot. So are there any other benefits, I guess, and that’s the only one I can kind of think of is managing those expectations upfront so they don’t go through that process and feel, I guess underwhelmed when they realize, oh, I can’t buy this product. Is there anything else I’m not thinking of? And that’s fine if not. 

Lauryn Spence (20:50): 

I mean, I would just say I really agree. I think you just don’t want any surprises in checkout, right? No hidden additional fee or something in the shipping category. I feel like we’re all conditioned for that to be free anyway. So if you can’t do that as a business, I would definitely look into discounting. Maybe even showing it is discounted. There’s psychological levers that you could do looking like you’ve discounted the shipping price a certain level, so it feels like they’re getting that savings in the checkout flow. 

But over-communicate throughout that process even before they add something to cart, right? They’re going to want to know when they could expect it deliberate. And then I’d say the other piece of that coin, make sure that your inventory and systems are all up to date in sync. You don’t want them to add something to the cart only to find, they can’t actually complete that checkout. So that’s another frustrating experience that kind of goes hand in hand with the shipping. Like, oh, can’t actually ship this, we’ve sold out. 

Ruben Quinones (21:49): 

Yeah, that’s a good point, right. Sorry, go ahead, Tom. 

Tom Di Domenico (21:52): 

Price, shipping price and shipping time, right? Again, going back to Amazon has kind ruined it for all of us, right? We go to on the PDP, it’s telling you you’re going to get it tomorrow or Wednesday or whatever day. Huge benefit to consumers for that. 

Ruben Quinones (22:08): 

And is there, again, I’m impromptu question here, in the line of questioning, but is that an ability to do that within BigCommerce? Is there a plugin for that or you able to set that up front? Okay. Yeah. 

Tom Di Domenico (22:20): 

So I think shout out to Shipper HQ who I think most people are using in the space today for that functionality and a whole lot more when it comes to shipping. They really are sort of the go-to for that. 

Lauryn Spence (22:33): 

Yeah, really native capabilities they’re built in. And then as well as the ability, I think the flexibility to display that in different places on PDPs throughout checkout. That to me is the most important. Not just communicating the delivery expectations. It’s where and when. That’s really critical. 

Payment Methods and Digital Wallets 

Ruben Quinones (22:50): 

Yeah, so this basically user experience, especially if it’s a first time purchaser, you don’t want to create that negative experience and then, yeah the media dollars as well. So those are two big critical points actually that you can control just by setting up the expectation and providing those costs upfront. A big barrier in the industry obviously is to battle the big gorilla in the eComm space. You mentioned Amazon and reason why I may even just ship directly to Amazon is because it’s just easy. They already have my account, et cetera. So how can we make that a little bit more frictionless if, what is it X percent or it’s too complicated, 22% say it’s too complicated. Do we uncomplicate that, I guess. Tom, talk a little bit about guest checkout. 

Tom Di Domenico (23:48): 

Yeah, I mean I think this could be a two day long conversation about all the things you can do to simplify the checkout, but that really is the key, right? Keep it simple. First I would say if we’re talking sort of the standard D2C type checkout here onsite, do a lot of UX testing on that. Make sure all the little things work. You usually have step one shipping, step two billing, make sure if somebody hits the back button, it doesn’t take them back to the cart, it takes them back to the last step. Things like address auto complete, like the pet peeve for me, if you’re a brand without address auto complete, we just can’t be friends.  

Just don’t make me tab into four different address lines to fill out my address. But then there’s all those expedited payment methods and checkout options right now. And I think that’s where we’re really just seeing all the consumer interest and success. And you mentioned Amazon, Amazon Pay of all of those things like Apple Pay, et cetera, Amazon Pay is the one I think we actually see the most consumers use for most of our clients, which is always really interesting. Lauren, I’m not sure what you’re seeing on your side if it’s similar. 

Lauryn Spence (25:08): 

You’re nailed down the head. I think payments is ultimately what’s going to unlock the most flexibility and going to drive most conversion. So anyone listening today, what’s nice about this is a very agnostic piece of advice. You want to make sure that you’re using a payment provider that’s not going to create a whole lot of friction in the checkout. And so one of the biggest things that we see in terms of cart abandonment, number one is the site asked me to create an account the second I have to go in and start putting my email and all this other stuff. It is just such a headache. That’s what makes me bail, makes a lot of people bail from that process. 

So a lot of ways getting around that or offering these digital wallets that Tom had mentioned. So Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, we even have options for buy with prime integrations. If any of these brands are also using fulfillment by Amazon, you can have that button. It’s not prime experience. So they’re kind of getting that shipping expectation met, but also OTPs. So people just being able to have that one-time password, have that code into their phone, boop boop and go, right. 

Ruben Quinones (26:14): 

Down with the OTP. Sorry, I had to say that.  

Lauryn Spence (26:18): 

Yes, definitely down with OTP. 

Ruben Quinones (26:22): 

What is an OTP? Just for the folks. 

Lauryn Spence (26:25): 

Oh, sorry. Yeah, I didn’t mean to kind of start some acronym. Bingo, one time password. So think of multifactor authentication. So instead of creating an account and entering all my information, it’s a way of starting the checkout process. You’ll enter your OR phone number, it’ll send you a code. You use that special code in the checkout, you just click it from your text message and your payment and shipping options are already autopopulated, I mean the checkout process is essentially going to be less than 15 seconds. And then same honestly goes for a lot of digital wallets too. If there’s Apple Pay anywhere, I’m done, I’m buying the product, it’s too easy. Just get the biometrics.

So I’d say there’s a lot of benefits there. Sure. I mean I know a lot of people want brand or want their customers to create an account. You’re wanting to get that first-party data, get more information for retargeting, but it’s better to ultimately get the sale, I’d say at the end of the day. And there’s other ways of going about getting that first-party data more meaningfully through loyalty programs and other targeting methods. 

Tom Di Domenico (27:39): 

Since you started the acronym game, I guess, what about BNPL, Lauren? How do you feel about that? 

Lauryn Spence (27:45): 

Love it. It’s also dangerous. I’ve got a Peloton right next to me. 

Ruben Quinones (27:52): 

You can say the acronym, but you actually have to say what it means. 

Tom Di Domenico (27:55): 

I did! Buy Now, Pay Later. 

Lauryn Spence (27:59): 

Buy Now., Pay Later some, well-known ones, affirm and Klarna. There’s some out there, but that’s a game changer. We were going back to the high AOVs or other categories. Let’s say you’re selling mattresses, home products, things that anything like over a couple hundred dollars I’d say would justify a Buy Now, Pay Later option or even luxury items like sunglasses. I’ve seen that being offered to justify a really bougie spend on something so small, but it just makes it so frictionless, especially when it’s interest free payments that feel like nothing over a long period of time. That’s a big game changer and something everyone should be considering really across varying AOVs. 

Ruben Quinones (28:44): 

Yeah. So lemme take a step back. You guys got very excited and you started throwing acronyms and so there’s a few things that I want to extrapolate from everything that was said. So guest checkout, and you can do this in incremental steps too, right? I mean maybe that alone and gosh, I remember one of our first CRO projects, I want to say seven, eight years ago, was actually a guest checkout process, 50 to 60% conversion rate difference between introducing that versus not. And you can test this, right, Tom? So we think that CRO is just for landing pages, but correct me if I’m wrong.  

Tom Di Domenico (29:28): 

Yeah, no, I mean CRO, we do all sorts of AD and multivariate testing. We can test 10 different elements on a page simultaneously, different traffic splits based on different segment types, traffic source, et cetera. So yeah, I mean if you need to prove it out to your boss or someone else who doesn’t agree, there’s definitely the tools to do that. 

Ruben Quinones (29:52): 

That’s a great thing about digital. It’s like you can theorize, why don’t you just test it? And I always say on the SEL side, I’m like, well, why don’t you spend a couple hundred dollars on a paid campaign so you actually know what your keyword research should be. And by the way, as I’m thinking, there’s also site search on site. Alright, not to deviate from the checkout process. So there’s the guest checkout experience. Then we talked about really payments as a whole. Could it get overwhelming by introducing too much, by any chance? 

Lauryn Spence (30:34): 

I think so. I think it’s best to go with some leaders in this space. I would definitely try and figure out who your customer base is, again, through testing, what are they gravitating towards? And probably lean in with the top two or three options. I don’t know. So then there’s another school of thought of, hey, if they’re all there in a nice easy view and it’s still above the fold in the page and I can just click it, that might increase the likelihood of someone buying, right? And by the way, from the merchant point of view, processing through a CH and some of these wallets, it’s actually a lot cheaper than credit card transactions. So there’s inherent benefits for you as a brand and doing that and providing those options. So I’d say that kind of depends on the category and preference and who your buyers are. So I hate that that’s an answer all the time. If it depends, it really does. 

Tom Di Domenico (31:24): 

I think on a broader level, that’s the right answer. When I think we see companies get into trouble when they stop designing and building for the masses and it’s like they’re trying to accommodate every possible use case and edge case. And then it’s so watered down and the user journey that you’ve created is not really well-defined. And that’s where everything just gets more complicated and you get away from that whole keep it simple thing. Yeah, 

Lauryn Spence (31:57): 

It’s like, hey, do you really need the crypto BitPay option? 

Tom Di Domenico (32:00): 

Probably one person using every year. Do you really need every user to see that option and have it as a distraction? Probably not. 

Lauryn Spence (32:08): 

Yeah. I will say just on the payments, again, kind of back to some of the shipping expectations, like having those buttons be on the PDP pages, having very loud calls to action buy now and making it very clear and very actionable on what they’re doing. I think that also helps increase conversion. And also making sure the image of what they’re buying passes through. You’d be surprised people forget what they’re buying because they’re watching tv, they’re multitasking, they’re doing this, it’s all on their phone. It’s another benefit. All of these tools are mobile optimized now. So the benefit is SaaS. So making sure those things run through.

And for some reason if you can’t work with one of these OTPs or wallets, and let’s say you need to have a traditional process for whatever reason, there’s other things you can do having progress bars on the bottom of each step so that they know, okay, I’m about to be done. I’m about to finish. It’s all about setting expectations and making them feel like I’m making progress. I know what’s next. What’s going to get someone to convert? You’re leading them to water. 

Ruben Quinones (33:13): 

Interesting. Yeah, you’re right. You don’t want that blanket all approach of it depends, but it sounds like if you kind of marry the idea of it almost like guest check out. I don’t see how that doesn’t help. I just don’t see how that doesn’t help. But you could test it, but testing framework, you never really know what payments your audience prefers until you start introducing it. But then what is the right balance between overwhelmed and introducing something that we think is going to convert well? So it’s almost like doing a, well, let’s actually do PayPal and this digital wallet in this scenario versus this scenario. And I guess on the backend they’ll see what they’re using. 

Lauryn Spence (34:03): 

They will actually…I actually, quick note on this, you reminded me because you mentioned PayPal. I do think not all solutions are created equal, right? Let’s take OTPs as an example. It’s all about the user data. So PayPal is about to go live with Fastlane, that’s their OTP, and they’ve got a user network of 430 million users across varying eComm platforms. So it’s a massive network. So if you look at how likely are my shoppers to convert, if I have an option like that where their information is already saved, you do need to consider that, right? You should back a couple horses. I’d say PayPal is probably going to be a clear winner in this space once that goes live.

There’s a lot of different options out there, but I mean that’s something to consider. We did a study, in fact, just kind of going back to testing folks that were using our optimized one page checkout coupled with a wallet, leading wallet like Apple Pay or PayPal or Stripe, something in the leading category, checkout conversion rates were about 70.9% visit to order conversion rate were 3.1%, which is a lot higher than the internet average. 

So it does make a difference. And again, not all platforms create equal. We have an optimized one page checkout to make that easier, which folks like you can customize, opened, sourced it. You can make all the tweaks you’d like, but it does make a difference to go with some leaders and figuring out who that is for your audience, I think matters. 

Ruben Quinones (35:35): 

And I just literally just thought of this and you guys, I’m bouncing off of you. Again, this is live. Some of these questions aren’t even questions I’ve provided, but I guess correct me if I’m wrong, you could go into your analytics platform to understand not only the browser, but the device and the type of phone. So you can make assumptions that, oh, Apple Pay makes sense because 70% of our audience is using this device, it’s coming to the site, versus Google is a Google Pay. I don’t know what their payment provider is, but am I thinking of that? Right? Right. 

Tom Di Domenico (36:16): 

Yeah, I mean that data definitely exists in even the most basic analytics platform. I think where you do have to do some testing though is, so Lauren made a great point earlier about putting Apple Pay on the PDP right on the product page. But where you have to do some testing is like, okay, that might increase conversion rate, but decrease your average order value because people are buying from the PDP and not going to a cart where you can upsell them something. And then you have to decide which is more valuable financially and from a data perspective, more a capture perspective. So there’s some analytics and some math that needs to happen there. I mean, as a customer prefer having Apple Pay on the PDP, but when it comes to driving revenue, there’s some formulas there to look at. 

Ruben Quinones (37:09): 

So we would think the best practice is to have it on the PDP rather than later on in the process. Is what I’m hearing. 

Tom Di Domenico (37:14): 

From a purely conversion rate perspective, yes. With somebody’s browsing multiple pages and going to a cart where we can have personalized upsells, for example. 

Lauryn Spence (37:28): 

Right. Cross-sell upsell promotions, your AOV. Yeah, just on the conversion you’ll make that higher, that AOV, maybe not so much. 

Tom Di Domenico (37:39): 

And then which sort of opens up a whole other question about how do we feel about upsells in the checkout. I don’t know where you guys stand on that. Again, I prefer fewer distractions. The better when it comes, once you have somebody in at that point in the funnel, I’d say there’s probably some exceptions, warranties on the fridge you’re buying or whatever, an upsell that might make sense.  

Lauryn Spence (38:03): 

Yeah, I feel like it has to be a recommended product that makes sense to buy it with the thing. So if I’m buying some type of special cleanser, if there’s a moisturizer that’s coupled with it that I was missing or forgetting, or the applicator for a makeup, things like that, that makes sense. But I do, I get kind of annoyed when there’s upsells in the cart, just blatant upsells. I’m like, oh, this feels spammy. 

Ruben Quinones (38:32): 

Especially if you mentioned before, we forget what we’re, it’s like ’em just buy it. They don’t know what they’re buying. I’m going to challenge our thinking here because again, I just come up with stuff on the spot. Is there, I don’t even know if this is even possible, Tom, gut check me, but is there a way to know, alright, they’re coming from this device, they’re on an Android, so they’re going to get this experience because they’re on, you could have a separate stream that is so you’re…Okay.  

Tom Di Domenico (39:05): 

Well, in general, that’s how the mobile wallets work. If you’re not on Safari on an Apple device, we don’t show an Apple Pay logo, ‘cause it won’t work. So that piece of it is sort of out of the box in most cases. Same with product type. There’s some product types. I think there’s some, I can’t remember the details, but there’s some exclusion with digital products and PayPal. So if there’s a digital product in the cart, you don’t show certain checkout methods and things like that. But if you wanted to personalize or customize the entire journey based on that, you definitely could. 

Ruben Quinones (39:45): 

Got it. So there’s some out of box solutions for that, but then if you’re seeing a pattern of if they’re coming from this browser or this device, generally they seem to convert better when there’s these offers and or these payment types. 

Tom Di Domenico (39:59): 

Yeah. Generally I think it’s more by device type, right? Mobile versus desktop, et cetera. So PayPal did an interesting study a while back, mobile versus desktop checkout stuff and the promo code field on mobile. By collapsing that field by default, there’s actually a really significant increase in conversion rate because when you have it open, it draws attention to it. And then people like me say, oh, let me go try to Google and find a promo code. And then you lose people once they do that. So there’s a whole bunch of device type specific things like that that we usually do as part of this sort of the CRO work that we do. 

Ruben Quinones (40:41): 

Interesting. Yeah. Lauren, you mentioned, so with PayPal and Fastlane, that has not been released yet or–? 

Lauryn Spence (40:48): 

Early beta? Yeah, we’ve been able to run some tests with our merchants, but it’s not fully in GA. 

AI in eCommerce Checkout 

Ruben Quinones (40:55): 

Got it. Okay. And didn’t ask this before. Again, impromptu question: with AI, are we seeing anything with AI implications in the market as it relates to checkout? And if we don’t, that’s fine, just because it’s a hot topic. Maybe there’s AI in your CRO testing and kind of introducing, I know that’s available, right?  

Lauryn Spence (41:29): 

Yeah, so we actually just released a bunch of new AI capabilities and features within BigCommerce. One of ’em are AI based promotional capabilities. So you can make, actually have targeted promotions with various custom fields based on the products and those attributes have a promotion for that specific product generated. If these things are added together or if there’s recommendations of products you do want to sell together, maybe not in the cart, but down below that screen once you add something to the cart.

And then there’s frequently bought together products, has some AI based recommendations based on that shopper and their interests, coupled with the data of others that have bought that product before. So we’re partnering with Google for their AI capabilities to release a lot of this. And so yeah, I mean a hundred percent AI is going to continue. I mean, think about chat bots and think about wanting to ask a few questions in checkout to make sure I’m getting my questions answered. I mean, there’s AI there, right? It’s going to continue to permeate more and more. But those are just a couple examples. 

Tom Di Domenico (42:42): 

And I think we’re just seeing it every part of the tech stack now. I mean, yes, checkout fraud detection, all that stuff, but product recommendations, neurosearch, Algolia has got some cool stuff now. The PIMS have all really been implementing them. Akino just came out with a bunch of tools. 

Ruben Quinones (43:01): 

You’re just name dropping stuff. You’re going to have to slow down. What? 

Tom Di Domenico (43:05): 

Lauren knows what I’m talking about! 

Lauryn Spence (43:07): 

All the partners, all the AIs. 

Tom Di Domenico (43:12): 

Yeah, so the product management applications like Akino, who we work with, have all sorts of cool AI stuff baked in now for product enrichment purposes. And like I said, AI is everywhere. We’re all being inundated with the AI hype, but it’s got some really awesome use cases right now in eCommerce. 

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Multichannel Checkout and Product Discovery 

Ruben Quinones (43:34): 

So at BigCommerce there is some AI applications being baked in and or being evolved. And then obviously on the Amsive side, we’re kind of agnostic, but we’re kind of always, I know we have a Slack channel. We have several Slack channels about ai. So currently always observing what’s going on in the marketplace. 

We’ve been mostly concentrated on onsite checkout. I at least wanted to kind of tease potentially what we might do in the future because the checkout doesn’t just live on site. And maybe it might be good, Lauren, to kind of go through this slide and kind of talk about the significance and tell me if this is maybe too much to go through in two minutes, but talking about the diversification of how people are checking out and how they’re not just checking out on the website. 

Lauryn Spence (44:34): 

Absolutely. Yeah. I’ll give you my 60 second version, but essentially the gist of these pie charts is just sharing that the lion’s share of commerce is not happening on branded sites. It’s happening on third-party channels and marketplaces. And if you look at the graph on the far right, what that’s really sharing with you as the brand is, hey, you are responsible for at least half of the direct traffic that’s going to come to your site. You’ve cultivated through loyalty programs and personalization and awareness, but the other 50% of that traffic is going to come from advertising on various channels or via SEO affiliate links and other areas.  

So that’s why it’s hard to talk about checkout in a vacuum of just this cart page. It’s all about product discovery, and you need to make sure that you are where your shoppers are based on that user base and being in the right channels and that you’re either one advertising there so that they click back and come to your website and you can personalize an experience and when I’m over there or ensure that your products are set up to be purchased through that channel, whether that’s TikTok shops, Google, Target, plus, you name it. 

So yes, it doesn’t just live there. You got to be thinking about the entire omnichannel network. 

Ruben Quinones (45:49): 

And obviously since Feednomics is part of the family at BigCommerce, we’re hoping to do a session in the next few months, I think. 

Lauryn Spence (45:58): 

Yeah, it makes sense to do a session just because that kind of strategy is hard, especially in a cookieless world where there’s a lot of challenges as marketers with advertising. Really truly the only way to combat a lot of these challenges with the saturation is clean product data. And that’s exactly the value that Feednomics offers and optimizing feeds for the right schema partnered with an organization like yourself. So, and I think worth a whole session just talking about how they help with product discovery and conversion across all channels. 

Concluding Thoughts and Future Sessions 

Ruben Quinones (46:29): 

So that’ll be in the queue. It’ll definitely be happening. So just keep an eye after that. So I guess with that, some parting thoughts. Who should I go with first time? Tom, I introduced you first. So you’ll go first now. 

Tom Di Domenico (46:45): 

Okay. I would. 

Ruben Quinones (46:47): 

Just circle. 

Tom Di Domenico (46:48): 

To keep it simple, I think when you look at, we were saying how a lot of these things haven’t changed, that’s one of them. For years we’ve been doing things where you enter the checkout and the main navigation and the header disappear, just eliminate all the distractions, the upsells, all of that stuff. Just kind of get rid of it. When someone is at that point in the funnel and they’re ready, just take the order and move on. Don’t get greedy and use Address Auto complete. Very cool. 

Ruben Quinones (47:20): 

All right. So Tom, I’m going to let you go unless you want to stick around and listen to Lauryn.  

Tom Di Domenico (47:26): 

Kick me out when you’re ready. 

Ruben Quinones (47:26): 

Back to your chalkboard. Lauryn, parting thoughts. 

Lauryn Spence (47:33): 

Yeah, yeah, I appreciate it. I’d say we’ve covered a lot today. So if there’s one takeaway, focus on the lowest hanging fruit, what can you do today to simplify the nuts and bolts of checkout your whole eCommerce business centers around this part of the funnel. So making sure that that works seamless, it’s frictionless, it’s fast. Invest in having the right payment methods and try and avoid forcing folks into creating accounts. Make that simple. 

And if you’re someone today that’s not working with a modern SaaS tech platform like a BigCommerce, and you’re not able to test or make these types of changes quickly, that’s something to think about. Looking beyond reasons to evaluate other platforms, ultimately what’s going to drive your business, that’s the most important component. So it’s worth the investment, worth looking at. Look at the low-hanging fruit, and I promise it will make a difference. 

Ruben Quinones (48:26): 

I didn’t do this for Tom, unfortunately, but if people want to follow you, I guess they can go on LinkedIn. It’s Lauryn Spence. 

Lauryn Spence (48:33): 

Yes, yes. Feel free to reach out, DM me if anything sounded interesting. I’ve, like I said, been in commerce for over a decade. I’ve run my own eCommerce business at the time. It turns out I’m better at telling people what to do than doing it myself. I don’t have time for that, I’ve got two kids, but certainly have been the trenches. Know it well, and happy to talk shop with anyone that wants to discuss further. 

Ruben Quinones (48:56): 

Lauryn, thank you so much. I appreciate you spending time with us and dropping some words of knowledge and acronyms as well. Appreciate that. 

Lauryn Spence (49:04): 

Always here to do it. Thank you so much. 

Ruben Quinones (49:07): 

Bye. Alright guys, that concludes another eCommerce session. This one in particular was optimizing the checkout. I do want to make a plug for our next one. If you stick around in three weeks, well not stick around. You don’t have to stick around. You can just log off and log back in, in three weeks. We’re going to have, I forget the name of it, it’s creating compelling CTV ads to drive eCommerce sales, something like that to that nature.  

So Connected TV has become so big, we’re all talking about it, but how do we make it compelling to a user to take action and actually purchase online? Or what’s some compelling creative that would work in the CTV space? So excited to have a partner, one of our partners come aboard and drop some knowledge on that end. So want to thank you for tuning in. If you have any ideas for topics down the road, we’re going to be doing this every three weeks. Feel free to drop a comment or just send a direct mail. So whenever you’re watching this, wherever you’re watching this, did you a good morning, good afternoon, or good evening and that’s it. Take care. 

Interested in optimizing more of your eCommerce strategy? Check out our previous LinkedIn Live, Harness Deterministic Data to Drive eCommerce Growth, or let’s talk about achieving more for your marketing—and your business.