When “real” shopping carts have annoyingly squeaky wheels, they may well get abandoned in the supermarket by unhappy customers. You may even see carts full of “almost purchased” items lying about abandoned when the checkout lines are too long and the cashiers too slow. All these factors result in lower purchase rate.

E-commerce site owners know all too well that the same phenomenon frequently happens online as well. The average conversion rates by industry are often quite low, while cart abandonment rates are startlingly high.

These statistics made cart conversion the main focus of any company doing their business online. Some attrition is, of course, inevitable, but here are seven ways of optimizing cart conversion rates and maximizing sales:

1. Keep It Fast and Simple

Single-page checkouts, checkout processes that require fewer clicks, and easy-to-find checkout buttons at both the top and bottom of the page all tend to increase your cart conversion rate. If you must have multiple pages, using a visual progress indicator bar at the top of each page can help keep customers on track and achieve the end goal – the purchase. Anything that makes it easier and quicker to move through the checkout line will boost your conversion rates.

2. Ensure Customers of Security

Including credit card logos and security seals in your website design will enhance customers’ confidence in your site’s security. Always having the https:// and green lock symbol in the URL is another way to engender confidence, as is including contact information and an About Page on your site. Customers who feel more secure are far more likely to enter their access card data and ultimately make the purchase.

3. Make It Easy to “Keep Shopping”

If you require customers to lose all the data they entered in order to go back and “keep shopping”; and add more items to their cart, you can surely expect a lot of abandoned carts. Make it easy for customers to navigate back and forth between the checkout line and the “store” without making them start the checkout process all over again.

4. Have a Print/Email Your Cart Option

Sometimes, the person about to place an order at your site will need to stop and get approval from their employer or ask another person’s advice on what they’re about to buy. Allowing customers to print or email their cart’s current contents facilitates theses orders, minimizing the interruption and lowering the odds of an “abandoned purchase.”

5. Allow Customers to “Save” Their Carts

It’s far better to allow your customers save their carts and return to them later to make the purchase than have all the data deleted once they leave the page. By having the option to save their cart will make potential customers likely to return to your site later and finish going through the checkout line.

6. Recommend Related Products During Checkout

Not only do you want to get your clients to the finish line, but you also want them to get there with as full a cart as possible. Recommend other products your clients might want to purchase based on what products they already have in their carts.

7. Ask Customers to Create an Account After the Purchase

In the zeal of some to “force” customers to give out their email address and start an official account, you may be driving down their sales. People get frustrated by pop-up forms interrupting the flow of the checkout process. Many will be willing to sign up after the check-out, especially if it will help them track their orders.