RST Software
Editorial Team
Ross Krawczyk
Reviewed by a tech expert

8 checkout optimization tips that will increase your marketplace sales

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The facts speak for themselves: almost 70% of shoppers abandon their carts and leave your marketplace without buying. Since this might be the most fundamental truth and most demanding challenge in the ecommerce industry, it bears repeating: only three out of ten visitors who add a product to their cart will actually buy it. Frustrating, isn’t it?

CoreSight research estimates that in 2022 this might have cost US entrepreneurs around $120 billion in lost revenue. Don’t be one of them. Discover our eight checkout optimization tips that will prevent your visitors from abandoning their carts and increase your marketplace sales.

What is the add-to-cart rate?

This is the share of consumers who added at least one product to their shopping cart in the total number of visitors. This parameter is crucial in evaluating product attractiveness and pricing, web page UX and marketing effectiveness.

The average add-to-cart rate is around 5%. Obviously, it tends to fluctuate from region to region and from category to category. If your rate is over 10%, you can call that a job well done.

Cart abandonment in your marketplace

From a technical and behavioral point of view, cart abandonment is when a customer does not complete the checkout process or cancels an order during the checkout process after putting some products into their cart.

But let’s look at this action, or should we say, lack of action, from your point of view. You built your state-of-the-art marketplace platform with decent UX, product display and payments flow, etc. You created a successful brand with a page visited directly or via search. You earned your position in Google, and Bing. You spent a fortune on Facebook and Google Ads.

You invested a lot of time and effort bringing in visitors who are interested enough to add a product to their carts. And now, despite being potentially interested in buying, most of them do not make it to the next stage.

The reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Disappointing as it may sound, this is not all your fault. Some reasons are objective and originate from natural internet consumption patterns. Others are easier to fix, so it is a good idea to understand the whole picture.

A bar chart representation of reasons for abandonments during cart & checkout (2022 data)
Source: Baymard Institute

“Just browsing”

 59% of people who add a product to their cart are simply not ready to close the deal yet. They might be browsing the internet in search of a desired product or new gift ideas. They might be comparing prices, and even have a few marketplace cart windows open. They might be saving the results for later. In such cases, cart abandonment is a natural process and largely unavoidable.

Extra costs can cost you a lot

Extra costs account for almost 50% of all cart abandonment. They normally include shipping, taxes, and other extra fees shoppers were not aware of when adding the product. You can assume that it is the total cost that is vital for the conversion, not the price of the product itself.

Some marketplaces gain consumer loyalty by providing them with free or low cost shipping. If you cannot afford to be one of them, maybe you should offer free shipping for higher order values. And if even that is not possible, follow eBay’s route and show shipping costs alongside the product’s price, much earlier in the purchasing process than the shopping cart summary.

And speaking of shipping… Don’t forget about same-day, 1- or maximum 2-day delivery time. Fast shipping options are the most effective way to prevent shopping cart abandonment. If possible, display the delivery date instead of delivery speed.

New user or no user?

 23% of cart sessions fail due to a membership requirement. One in four visitors just wants a product and not a new user account. We know having new leads might be beneficial in your future marketplace marketing activities, like email marketing, but do not gather this information at all cost. If you force shoppers to register, you might be killing your conversions. Offer a guest checkout option – it’s as simple as that.

Other reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Less known but still important factors include website and credit card form credibility (18%), length of process (17%), errors (13%) and insufficient payment methods (9%).

As you have probably noticed, the percentages do not add up to 100%, because visitors abandon their carts for a variety or combination of reasons.

What is checkout optimization?

The checkout process is the last step of the customer journey, when they finalize their purchase and provide their payment information. A standard checkout consists of: billing info, shipping info, shipping method, preview order, payment, and order confirmation.

Optimization refers to improving the steps and user experience involved in the checkout process of a marketplace platform. The goal behind checkout optimization is to make it as effortless and efficient as possible, and as a result reduce cart abandonment and increase the conversion rate.

How can you optimize checkout?

Although there are no identical marketplaces in terms of assortment or UX, there are certain steps each business owner can take to reduce cart abandonment, and improve checkout pages and overall customer satisfaction. Removing unnecessary steps, reducing friction, and improving usability can boost sales considerably. Let’s look at some tips in greater detail.

Tip #1: Implement “one click” checkout

When a decision is being made, every letter makes a difference. Visitors need to type in a lot of personal information: names, emails and shipment addresses, phone numbers, etc. Obstacles such as misspellings, or connection errors can cause friction.

“One click” checkout is a different approach. Shoppers only need to fill in their personal and payment information once, and it is stored within the payment processing service for future use.

The 1-click checkout technology simplifies the buying experience. Consequently, it results in fewer abandoned carts and higher revenue.

“One click” checkout was first implemented by Amazon in 1999 and adapted by Barnes & Noble for Apple’s iTunes one year later. Since the patent expired in 2017, you can now add it to your marketplace. “Add to cart” requires one click. So should checkout. Keep that in mind.

Feel free to check one of our previous article and learn more about the one-click checkout solutions.

Tip #2: Deliver a “mobile first” experience

When it comes to website traffic, almost 70% originates in mobile. This is the most important reason marketplaces begin designing with mobile users in mind. Mobile first approach does not mean having a responsive page that happens to work on smartphones. It means having a webpage built for smartphones.

Menus, buttons, and hyperlinks should be bold and adjusted for small screens so that they provide shoppers with proper clickability. Navigation should invite scrolling and swiping. Pages should be optimized for quick loading.

Rumor has it that “mobile first” might be a more popular phrase among developers than “it works on my local machine” these days. Is this true in your company?

If not, you might want to read our guide for building a mobile first marketplace or get interested in our extensive UX/UI product design services offering

Tip #3: Implement trusted payment gateways and credit card processors

Payment gateways and credit card processors are critical components of your marketplace. They establish credibility, ensure the security of sensitive information, and provide a positive user experience for you and your customers. In a broader sense, they help build trust, enhance customer confidence, and contribute to the overall success of your marketplace.

Trusted payment gateways use encryption and other security measures that reduce the risk of data breaches, sophisticated fraud, and unauthorized access.

Shoppers are more likely to purchase when they see a well-known logo such as PayPal, TrustCommerce, Ayden, Stripe or They are all in compliance with industry regulations and standards when it comes to online payments.

Believe it or not, assuring customers that their information is secure can also be done by showing symbols such as antivirus software, padlocks, seals, and other security icons.

Tip #4: Reinforce sales with psychological triggers

If you want to fully understand the complexity of the human mind, a PhD in Psychology might not be enough. But we have collected the most popular and useful techniques for you that should prevent shoppers from abandoning their carts in your marketplace.

Scarcity and urgency

According to famous psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, people are more likely to take action in transactions when the products in question are in short supply. “Low in stock” labeling is a very popular and yet effective way to make users complete an order.

Loss aversion

It has been proven that the perspective of “having something” is less motivating than the threat of “losing something.” In other words, if you are afraid of losing something, you’ll try to prevent this from happening. In your marketplace, this may involve discounts, extras, etc. This phenomenon has been described as FOMO, which stands for “fear of missing out.”

Color psychology

Psychologists agree that humans are color-sensitive creatures, and the right choice of colors can significantly affect shopping decisions. It is well known that red conveys urgency, while a sense of trust is inspired by blue.

Use red, orange, or yellow to convey a sense of urgency and consider changing your CTA buttons colors to make sure they stand out.

Social proof

Social proof messaging is not a new term in marketing. Marketers know that product ratings, customer quotes, celebrity endorsements and widgets like “X people are currently looking at this product” etc. convince the unconvinced and boost sales effectively.

Decoy effect

Decoy effect occurs when consumers change their shopping preference when given a third choice. In other words, when your customer has two options, for example smaller and cheaper or bigger and more expensive, they are more likely to choose the former. However, shoppers might change their minds when there is a third option in between them. They feel lucky to have won something, or to have been offered a better option.

You have probably encountered the decoy effect a thousand times, e.g., when visiting a coffee shop or the movie theater. This is the thinking behind it: “I do not need a large popcorn. A small will be just fine, but since a medium is not much more expensive than the small, I’ll have the medium popcorn.”

Tip #5: Cross-sell and upsell

Both of these tactics convince shoppers to spend more in your marketplace. They might seem similar at first sight, and they are often confused.

Cross-selling encourages visitors to buy more than they planned. You offer them additional and complementary goods related to the initial product. The aim is to maximize transactional value on your side, but it offers benefits for consumers, too. Cross-selling allows them to encounter new products related to what they intended to purchase and gain package deals or discounts.

Upselling is a marketing strategy based on pushing higher-end or premium versions of the same product, as well as upgrades or add-ons that increase order value. It is assumed that the upselling margin should not exceed 20% of the value of the original item. If performed reasonably, both upselling and cross-selling can bring benefits to your marketplace and customers at the same time.

Tip #6: Simplify your checkout flow

You may also be familiar with an abbreviation KISS (Keep it simple, stupid), which is a general principle in UI and UX. Checkout flow should be as smooth and straightforward as possible. Bad design, an excessive number of steps or complicated payment options may result in cart abandonment.

The checkout page should be clear, free from distractions and possibly different from the main page. The visitor should focus on the purchase and only the purchase. A transparent and user-friendly flow indicator should keep your shoppers informed where they are and how many steps are left to finalize the transaction.

Reduce the number of fields to an absolute minimum. . Hide “address line 2.” Hide “enter coupon” – you do not want your visitors to start looking for a way to get one at this point. The general rule is: the less information a visitor has to type in, the lower the risk of cart abandonment.

Avoid disappearing inline labels and use floating or persistent labels instead. Otherwise, customers might forget what information is required in a specific field.

Integrate with a 3rd-party address suggestions and autofill API, so your customers only have to start typing, and the system will fill out the rest: full street name, postal code, region, country etc.

Tip #7: Optimize your marketplace loading times

Standing in line is so 1960s. Since the invention of high-speed fiber optic internet, shoppers do not want to wait. Let’s face it – we are an impatient species that craves instant gratification. The same applies to websites.

In a survey conducted by Unbounce, nearly 70% of online shoppers admitted that page speed influences their likeliness to buy. Fast loading pages are not only promoted by consumers but also by Google, which recommends load times of less than 2 seconds.

Source: Unbounce

First, check your marketplace loading time using performance monitoring tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix and Pingdom, or simple browser extensions and plugins.

Next, consider the following options to reduce it:

  1. By compressing and saving your images in the correct format, you can optimize the size of the site and thus the loading time.
  2. Do not overload your website with plugins and third-party scripts.
  3. If you get repeat visitors, you can increase the speed of your website by enabling browser caching.
  4. Reduce the distance data has to travel by using a content delivery network (CDN).
  5. And last but not least, choose a hosting service that is fast and reliable.

Tip #8: Integrate a real-time live chat support,complex AI-powered chatbot or a buyer-to-seller chat

Shoppers abandon carts for any one or more of the reasons we have listed above. With real-time messaging at their hands, customers can get immediate answers to their questions concerning products, delivery time, payment, security, etc. A fast and appropriate response increases the likelihood of a purchase.

Customers should be able to communicate with vendors via real-time buyer-seller chat. Direct communication clears doubts, builds trust and improves your overall marketplace conversion rate.

A recommended list of features should include file attachment uploads (with size limits), multiple chat option, conversations history, web push-notifications, typing indicators, user blocking, quick-login, registration, and more.

An AI-powered chatbot is a software that combines Artificial Intelligence and other advanced technologies like Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to respond intelligently to consumer inquiries.

Unlike humans, however, AI chatbots can operate 24/7. Keep in mind that a significant part of online shopping takes place at night. These bots are 100% scalable and can run countless conversations simultaneously.

How RST can cover your marketplace optimization needs

This is just an overview of the most basic steps you can take to optimize the checkout process and keep consumers on your site. You have invested a lot of time and money to get their attention. Don’t let it all go to waste in abandoned shopping carts.

RST team is highly experienced in building marketplaces that actually sell and will be happy to assist you with yours. Simply contact us via the form, and we’ll take it from there.

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