The one thing every online business owner can hope for is more sales. And there are a million ways to drive revenue: getting more website traffic, writing a lock-tight sales page, using social media to promote your products, etc., etc.

But one part of the sales process that is often-overlooked? The checkout process.

In other words—everything that happens after a potential customer clicks “buy.” It may feel like once you’ve gotten your customers to click “buy,” your job is done, but there’s actually a minefield to get through before completing the sale.

In this post, I’m going to cover:

  • The main components of a healthy checkout flow
  • Why you should care about your checkout flow
  • How to optimize your checkout flow for more sales
  • How to take advantage of all these tactics using Teachable

What makes up your checkout flow?

Before we go any further, let’s talk about exactly what I mean when I say “checkout flow.” Basically, your checkout flow is everything that happens in between a customer landing on your sales page and deciding to buy and them actually buying your course.

The checkout flow has two main components:

  • Checkout page: This is what your customer is taken to once they hit the first “buy” button. Here is where they’ll enter their personal information and payment info.
  • Thank you page: This comes after your customer makes their purchase. Here is where you make sure to help prevent buyer’s remorse and promote your upsell.

And that’s it...but there are a lot of things you can do to make these perform better and create a more positive experience for your customers.

Why you should care about optimizing your checkout flow

Optimizing your checkout flow could have a huge impact on your business. An optimized checkout flow means that you'll convert higher and turn one-off customers into repeat customers.

Abandoned cart

Imagine how many times you’ve added something to your online cart and then...just left it there. Perhaps there was a surprise shipping charge, or at the last minute you simply thought better of spending your cash on that product. Or maybe you saw something fishy that made you reluctant to enter your payment information.

Leaving right before the moment of purchase is such a common phenomenon that it has a name: cart abandonment. And it’s a big problem for companies! The average United States e-commerce shopping cart abandonment rate during the second quarter of 2017 was 76.9% across all industries. Moreover, this number has never been lower than 67.5% since Statista started tracking abandonment percentages five years ago.

What that means is that more people don’t buy after hitting your sales page then do buy. Now, this statistic could cause you to curl into a ball of self-pity, but I recommend that you instead optimize your checkout flow to start convincing more people to actually purchase.

Happier customers

I’ve tried to buy products online in the past, and by the time I’ve finished jumping through all the hoops the checkout page threw at me, I was disenchanted with the process and less excited about my new purchase. I might even have started to distrust the company or its motives.

One goal we have at Teachable is to “delight” our customers. If you can wow your customers at every step along the way, they’ll be more likely to think favorably about you and your business and refer their friends.

How to optimize your checkout flow

The good news? If your audience has made it as far as the checkout flow, they’re primed to buy. These are the people who are most easy to convert, and all it takes is a little bit of strategy and optimization to help them over the edge, where they’ll start enjoying the product you created for them!

Luckily, optimizing your checkout flow is easy with Teachable. By tweaking your positioning and strategy, you can convert more customers and begin earning more money selling your online products. Here are a few ways that’s easy to do with Teachable (but I recommend you use these tactics no matter where your checkout flow lives):

1. Brand your sales and checkout page

Have you ever seen an ad on social media for what looks like a revolutionary product only to click over to a generic site that looks like it’s straight out of 2007? I don’t know about you, but sites like that make me lose trust in the business.

This concept holds up in your checkout flow. To help your potential customers trust you enough to carry out the purchase, make sure your branding is consistent from your sales page to your checkout page. This will help you look legit and not like some internet scam.

With Teachable, it’s easy to customize your checkout page to match your branding.

teachable checkout.png

2. Include progress tracking

Sometimes potential customers end up not purchasing—by accident! This can happen if they think they’ve made the purchase and couldn’t, or got confused along the way.

Make sure that people know exactly what they have to do in order to purchase your online course by including progress tracking. It’s easier to complete a process if you know how far along you are, and progress tracking can be especially helpful for a less tech-savvy audience.

If your audience isn’t well versed in buying online products, they may think they’ve actually made their purchase but they’re only halfway there. If you’ve grown up in the internet age, this might feel like a silly thing to worry about. The reality is, though, that it’s a real concern.

Teachable makes progress tracking easy, though. Here’s a look at what the checkout page looks like.

progress tracking.png

Notice how you’ve got two clear and defined steps so your customers know exactly where they’re at in the checkout flow and what they have left to do. Clear progress tracking keeps your customers from unintentionally dropping off.

3. Feature testimonials

Testimonials are my favorite part of any sales page, but they’re also useful on checkout pages. Testimonials allow you to brag about your business without actually having to brag about your business. And, on a checkout page, testimonials could be that extra thing that pushes customers over the edge can convinces them to buy.

Testimonials act as social proof and signal to potential customers that other people have been thrilled with their purchase, so they’ll likely be thrilled, too.

You might be thinking, “I’ve never sold my course before - I have nobody to gather a testimonial from!”

Don’t worry. If you’ve ever given advice on your topic, coached someone through getting started, or even have friends who are willing to vouch for your expertise you can gather testimonials.

Now, it’s unethical (and likely illegal) to make up testimonials—don’t do that. Instead, be straight forward. Don’t lie and say that the testimonial you collected was for a product nobody has taken. Instead say, “I’ve coached X people with Y. Here’s what they have to say about my approach to Y.”

Or consider extending free access to your online course to a few of your friends or influencers in your niche in exchange for a testimonial.

Pro tip: If you want to get really great testimonials, do not just ask for a testimonial. Instead, ask them leading questions. Ask things like:

  • How did taking my online course impact your approach to ….?
  • What was the biggest benefit of taking my online course?
  • How has taking my online course impacted your business?

Teachable makes it easy to add a testimonial to your checkout page, it’s something we have intuitively added in the page editor. All you have to do is plug in your testimonials and add an image.

4. Remind your customers of the benefits

Doubt kills more potential purchases than just about anything else. A person may hastily click through a checkout flow until it comes time to hit “buy.” That’s when they’re forced to really think about the purchase they’re about to make.

One way to make the decision easy is to include a few short benefits of the product right on the checkout page. Remind your audience why they wanted to buy your online course in the first place.

This is also simple to do with Teachable. It’s another feature that we have added into the page editor. All you need to do is type your benefits and we’ll make it look beautiful.

5. Include a money-back guarantee

money back.png

Another reason a customer might decide not to become a customer? Fear of regret. What if htey purchase your product only to realize it wasn’t for them? To knock that objection out of the way, show your customers that you offer a money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk in clicking “buy.”

We see a lot of push back against this policy, but in my opinion a money-back guarantee is essential if you want to build trust in your product.

Personally, I won’t purchase anything online unless there is certainty that I can return it if it’s not what I’m looking for. From sweaters to digital products, if something doesn’t meet my expectations or needs, I want to be sure that I won’t be wasting my money if my understanding of the offer and what is delivered don’t align.

Statistically, we see very few money back requests, but by adding that promise you’re telling your audience, “I believe in my product so much that I am going to give you your money back if it’s not everything you thought it would be.”

Now, most course creators who opt out of offering a money back guarantee do so because they’re worried that people will abuse it. While your motivations for not including the guarantee are pure and self-preserving, they often send the wrong signals. When a potential customer sees the lack of money back guarantee, they may think one of these things:

  • They don’t believe enough in their product to think that people will actually like it
  • They’re doing this for the money
  • This is a scam

Really when people don’t have a money-back guarantee it’s not actually because any of those reasons, but from the consumer end, customers will approach every potential purchase with a bit of skepticism.

At Teachable, it’s easy to add a seal to your checkout page. A seal has the added bonus of signalling trust and safety and giving your customers peace of mind. We have a ton of seals you can choose from, or you can upload your own.

6. Reduce the number of steps necessary to check out

Sometimes potential customers jump ship just because they get sick of the checkout process and decide it isn’t worth it. In other words, there’s too much “friction.”

Reducing friction is a great way to increase sales. The more hoops your customers have to jump through, the less likely they’ll be to ever hit that “complete purchase” button.

Teachable offers a single page checkout that makes signing up for and buying your online course a breeze. Instead of having to click a dozen different places and fill out fifteen different fields, your customers have an easy, straightforward way to check out.

Plus, if they’ve ever purchased a course on Teachable from any course creator before, they’ll be able to check out with a single click, rather than having to sign up over and over again.

7. Add an upsell to your thank-you page

Why upsell

Anyone who has already made it to this page has the most trust in you right now. They’ve already proven that by making it this far.

Think about when you go to the grocery store: You’re there for a bunch of bananas, bread, and oatmeal. But as soon as you make it to the checkout line you’re surrounded by a bunch of goodies and all of the sudden you’ve added a chocolate bar, lip balm, and three gossip magazines to the cart.

That’s the effect you want your upsell to have on your customers. Essentially, they’re already buying something, what would one more purchase hurt?

All about how customers have the most trust in you right when they purchase. Mention how this is a common practice at convenience stores, restaurants, etc.

Watch the Upsell Masterclass

3 upsell strategies

  • Upsell: This is the classic, here you’ll have a product for sale and once the customer makes it to your thank-you page there will be the option to buy another, more premium priced product.
  • Cross-sell: With a cross sale, your customers will be prompted to potentially purchase another product at a similar price point.
  • Supplementary offer: With a supplementary offer, you’ll try and sell a lower priced product.

Types of products you can upsell

Really, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can upsell. Anything from another course to one-on-one calls with you to physical products. Here is a good resource for getting started.

  • Courses
  • Exclusive content (webinar replays, ebooks, worksheets)
  • One-on-one consulting calls, exclusive feedback sessions
  • Private communities
  • Live sessions

How to optimize your upsell on Teachable

Your upsell happens entirely on your Thank You Page. Up until that point, you’re trying to sell them on your original product.

Once they’ve committed to that, made their purchase, and made it to your thank you page, this is where you can try and sell them on your other products.

Like anything else, you’ll find the most success if you take a strategic approach to your upsale. Luckily, we’ve done the research and we know what works when it comes to creating your upsell.

  • Add a video. It’s no secret that video is the most effective medium to use when you’re trying to connect to your audience. Plus! You can use video to showcase your personality and teaching style.

    We’ve made adding video easy with our custom video block, so all you have to do is hit upload. No fancy coding involved!
  • Give it a discount. Discounts allow you to frame the upsell as an opportunity rather than an expense. Letting them know that if they buy right now only they’ll get 25% off makes it seem like a great deal.
  • Add more testimonials. By now, you understand the magic of a good testimonial. Add a few more to your thank you page upsell to really cement your customer’s decision.

How to put it all together

On Teachable, as long as you already have your assets such as testimonials, you can create an optimized checkout page in about 10 minutes. No joke.

To optimize your checkout page, select the course you’re trying to optimize, and then click “checkout page” near the bottom of the menu.

If you haven’t already, you’ll be prompted to add a pricing plan before you’re able to optimize your page. No need to overthink the price—you can always change it later.

Once you’ve added your pricing plan, once again click “checkout page.”

Adding testimonials

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Now, the first thing you’ll see is a place where you can add testimonials. If you have any to add, copy and paste them in. You can also add a title, something like:

  • Here’s what other’s have to say
  • Hear from past students
  • But don’t just take it from me…

Click save.

Adding bullet points

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If you scroll down, you’ll see a place where you can add the bullet points listing out all of the great benefits students will reap from taking your online course.

Again, there will be a heading you can fill out with something like:

  • Get all this and more!
  • Everything you’ll get with your purchase
  • Get excited to gain access to…

Click save.

Adding a money back guarantee

Again, scroll down just a bit and you’ll see a handful of beautifully designed money back guarantee buttons that can add to your checkout page with a single click.

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None of our designed buttons float your boat? You can also design and upload your own money back guarantee.

Publishing your checkout page

Once you’ve filled out all of the fields, all there is left to do is hit “publish.” Teachable automatically takes care of the rest for you. You don’t have to worry about creating a single page checkout or adding progress tracking, because we do it for you.

Optimizing your checkout flow is one of the most effective ways you can get people to actually click that “purchase now” button. Like I said, we make optimization easy on Teachable so you can convert as many customers as possible.

Adding an upsell

Adding your upsell on Teachable is easy. All you need to do is go to the course you’re going to upsell on and click “Thank You Page.”

The first thing you’ll see is the option to change language around directing people to the course they just purchased.

Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a block that says, “Upsell Offer.” Click that and you’ll be presented with the choice of which course you’d like to upsell. If you don’t want to upsell a course, refer to this post to see how you can upsell anything on Teachable.

You can also sign up for our free upsell masterclass! We walk you through everything you need to know about earning more with your online business by upselling.

Watch the Upsell Masterclass

I’d love to answer any questions you may have on how you could best optimize your checkout flow. Leave them in the comments and I’ll get back to you!  

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Morgan Timm

Written by Morgan Timm

Morgan Timm is a content marketer at Teachable with a background in blogging and social media. She runs Mostly Morgan, a life and style blog that reaches an audience of 40,000 people monthly.