Checkout Conversion

Always Be Converting — A Motto Not Yet Embraced By Online Merchants

Despite the fact that worldwide online shopping eclipsed $1.6 trillion last year, merchants are missing out on tons of opportunities to close a sale due to poor shopping experiences and other frictions that prompt frustrated customers to bolt. As a matter of fact, our research found that 21 percent of the merchants we study flunked when it came to checkout conversion. This quarter’s Checkout Conversion Index™ (CCI), in collaboration with BlueSnap, dives into the data and focus on the point of sale online when customers are ready to pay.

$152 billion. That’s how much we estimate online retailers left on the table in 2015 as a result of shopper discouragement caused by the obstacles they face from the point they enter a website through the time they finish payment — if they actually get there. 

Every day, hundreds of millions of shoppers around the world let their fingers do the shopping. They click on their browser, on their PC or their mobile device, and go to a merchant website. They browse, maybe they find some things to buy, and they pay to get it shipped if it’s physical, or downloaded if it’s digital. But there are so many ways the consumer experience can and does go awry along the way. Merchants face all sorts of challenges when it comes to checkout conversion, and sometimes they don’t even realize the extent of the issues their consumers face. 

That’s why and BlueSnap decided to study what actually gets in the way of converting shoppers into buyers – and more importantly, what merchants can do to recapture the sales that they are losing. Shoppers want their business done as quickly and easily as possible — and if the experience is clunky, they are going to bolt just as quickly as they can click. 

The Checkout Conversion IndexTM (CCI), in collaboration with BlueSnap, measures the payments conversion problems that arise when consumers encounter friction in their digital shopper experience. The CCI is based on a team of “shoppers” shopping at over 650 U.S.-based eCommerce sites across 14 merchant categories. We identified more than 55 attributes and used them to score merchants on how easy (or hard) going from discovery to final payment was on their site. 


  • CCI went down from 54.8 in October 2015 to 53.1 in January 2016. That’s 3.1 percent in just three months – and not a step in the right direction. The number indicates more pre-payment process friction this January than last October.
  • By our grading system, only 4 of the 657 merchants we scored received A grades, while 160 got Fs. That’s a 21.2% flunk rate. Yikes!
  • The highest scoring industry — based on the average CCI across the websites — is Housewares and Home Furnishing. Yet it barely made a C. Double yikes!
  • The lowest scoring industry was Marketing and Other Software Services.

This is just the tip of the eCommerce iceberg, as it were. In this quarter’s Index, we take a deep industry dive into the data — and this time we focus on what happens after people decide to buy and then try to pay for it. We identify problem and positive areas, in an effort to inform retailers and solutions providers with actionable insights that have the potential to help inform improved online consumer shopping experiences and, in turn, boost sales. 


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Exclusive PYMNTS Study: 

The Future Of Unattended Retail Report: Vending As The New Contextual Commerce, a PYMNTS and USA Technologies collaboration, details the findings from a survey of 2,325 U.S. consumers about their experiences with shopping via unattended retail channels and their interest in using them going forward.