Online retailers face a consumer landscape in which shoppers are easily distracted, convenience oriented, increasingly sophisticated in their comparison shopping habits, and inundated with options. For those of you with kids, just imagine giving your child a can of Coke and a brownie, then trying to get them to focus on finishing a Lego castle with 2,000 pieces. It’s going to be a struggle.

Keeping the attention of your visitors during the shopping experience and on task through the checkout process is critical to reducing shopping cart abandonment rates.

You can help create a frictionless checkout experience to keep distracted visitors (children hopped up on caffeine and sugar) from abandoning their carts by:

1. Limiting distracting elements and links out of checkout.

Navigation bars on your checkout page divert shoppers from their primary objective, which is to complete their sale. When you do include navigation—or, in fact, any information other than a progress indicator and checkout steps—you’re giving already distracted consumers an opportunity to click themselves away from you. keeps consumers laser focused on the buying mission. No navigation bars, no unessential links.

2. Showing them where they stand.

No matter the number of steps in your process, progress indicators are a must. Number and label each step—and give shoppers the opportunity to review previous steps, moving back and forward without getting lost or losing any of the information you’ve worked so hard to get them to enter. It’s worth testing different types of progress indicators, but don’t forget to include one.



3. Increasing your ‘coupon intelligence.’

Everyone likes a coupon, right? Well, everyone except visitors who don’t already have one.  Even customers that already have one may decide to go check and see if they can get a better one!

According to research, 27% of people who abandoned their carts did so “to look for a coupon.” One case study tracked a 90% drop in conversion rates upon the addition of a coupon code field to the checkout page.

So create campaigns in which promotional code boxes appear only to shoppers who are likely to have the code—that is, people who received it previously via email. When they navigate to the site from that email, the code automatically appears in the box. For other traffic segments (people who are unlikely to have the code), hide the coupon box entirely.

Another alternative is to use a text link that requires an additional step to uncover the coupon entry box. This way, you avoid the Pavlovian response that can occur when visitors encounter an empty box just screaming to be filled—taking a piece of whatever margin you have left.