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Why one page checkout is overrated

Growth Secrets|06.06.2017

One page checkouts have been lauded as the way to streamline the customer's journey and reduce cart abandonment rates. But is that strictly true?

Firstly, the statistics between one page and multiple page checkouts may be slightly skewed. Current case studies show a huge increase when converting from a multi-page checkout to one page, however, it’s unlikely the original multi-page checkout had been fully optimised. Instead of comparing the original multi-page (A) with one page checkout (B), it should also be a consideration to compare the multi-page checkout after optimisation (C).

By splitting the checkout process into manageable and logical chunks reduces the cognitive load on customers. For example, by combining delivery information and billing address into the same step, details can quickly be duplicated or completed via the autofill function. Not only this but by adding “next steps” gives the customer a sense of achievement and progression, moving closer to purchase satisfaction.

By designing an easy to use checkout page, it’s also easier for customers to spot and correct mistakes. By combining logical steps such as delivery and enabling easy navigation between sections, mistakes become more noticeable. A multiple page checkout process will reduce the checkout page load times, gaining extra credit for shoppers roaming on 3 or 4g networks.

Segmented checkout for cart abandonment and branching

From a cart abandonment perspective, it is easier to track when customers drop out of the sales funnel using a multi-page checkout. If the main drop out point is delivery pricing, maybe consider reviewing suppliers. Not only is it easier to track, it’s also easier to send customers in different directions depending on the which action they take. New Look uses a segmented checkout for both delivery and payment.

By displaying the cost of delivery and collection, not only are the costs transparent, New Look consciously forces a decision from their customers which leads to a tailored page. This is replicated on the payment screen with the cart updating in real time during changes. Navigation between both screens is swift and easy, with a two step breadcrumb trail at the top.

The guest checkout process is 2 logical steps compiled together with branching based on the customer's actions. This leads to valuable analysis. If customers drop out at delivery, either the charge is too high, delivery is too slow or there isn’t a collection point easily accessible to the consumer. Similarly, analysis can be applied to the ‘Pay and Place’ order screen. A multiple page checkout also leads to an easier design, data driven process, allowing for A/B testing to really tighten up the checkout process.

But what about mobile users, surely one page checkout makes their purchases easier to complete? Actually, multiple pages relieve scroll fatigue and narrow down the field for errors. Scrolling for too long can make customers abandon their purchase altogether, especially if they haven’t enabled Apple Pay or other mobile wallets.

One page checkout works for the right brands

It is important to note, however, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to checkout length. What is important is asking for the relevant information in a clear way, and some situations lean well towards a one page approach. 

ASOS, the retailers to beat in the e-commerce space, champion the one page checkout for their guest checkout process. ASOS guest checkout still involves a level of branching for delivery details and payment options. Customers can see how far through the checkout process they are, and one page checkout limits navigation errors. Whilst this checkout is simple and speedy, ASOS sacrifice data collection for speed. 

Renowned for shaping the market, it’s not surprising that the ASOS guest checkout is the fastest one page checkout online. However, with multiple dropdowns, it still becomes quite lengthy once all the information is added. With such a vast audience, active remarketing and loyalty scheme, ASOS can afford to drop some conversion data for purposely built speedy checkout. 

ASOS members checkout is decidedly more complex and over multiple pages. ASOS see value in collecting this data for remarketing & upsell. With promotional offers, loyalty signups and return information, whilst simply designed, checkout becomes cluttered and distracting, with offers that direct users away from the checkout to separate landing pages. 

If you want speed at the expense of data, use a one page checkout. If you want to promote bundle offers, loyalty schemes and collect further data on your customers, a multi-page checkout is the way forward.

When it comes to checkout design, other e-commerce platforms, such as BigCommerce, use the one page checkout as a selling point. After some investigation, there seems to be very little evidence that one page checkouts actually boost conversion rates. You have to ask the question, ‘Do you want a speedy one page checkout, or do you want a checkout that provides you data to boost your conversion rate?’

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