The design of the checkout process is something of an obsession for us here at Mercarto. After all, it is one of the most important steps in the users’ journey and accounts for 70% of abandoned carts.
It is important to remember that potential customers are not just comparing you to your competitors but, to the best experience they’ve had online.
Customers crave convenience. Simplicity and speed are crucial and as designers it’s our mission to create an experience that is memorable for all the right reasons.
For years single-page vs multi-page checkout has been significantly debated in the world of eCommerce, with advocates on both sides.
To be honest, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It basically comes down to your business’s requirements and your customers needs.
Never the less, we are going to lay out a series of pros and cons with real world examples to help you decide what’s best for your business.
Single-page checkout is fairly self explanatory. The customer is able to complete their purchase on one page. Originally, single-page checkouts were put into practice with the intention to simplify the process.
Saves Time - Single page checkout allows the user to complete a purchase without having to load additional pages.
Reduces Friction & Improves Error Prevention - Using a single page process allows customers to quickly and efficiently identify and review their details affording added convenience as an incentive to drive conversion rates.
Personal Information - A common mistake with eCommerce checkouts are forms which ask for too much sensitive information which is unnecessary and irrelevant. Using a single page checkout process helps to streamline the process and saves precious real estate.
Conversion Rates - It is argued that by using single page checkout process it increases conversion rates because the customer feels closer to completing their order.
Page Performance - Forcing a high volume of content on one page can significantly affect your page’s latency increasing loading time and discourage time-conscious customers.
Cognitive Overload - Consolidating checkout information onto one page can be overwhelming for some customers. Additionally, the never ending scrolling can cause customers to become lost or confused.
Analytics - Analytics is an essential tool for evaluating your pages performance. However, by opting for a single page checkout process it becomes impossible to identify at which stage during the checkout process the customer abandoned their cart.
Multi-page checkout processes layout a series of steps over several pages. This type of checkout typically requires customers to manually enter their personal, shipping and billing information.
Analytics - Multi-page checkout makes it easier for us to identify where in the process customers are abandoning their carts. You can use this information to optimise that specific page therefore, improving conversion rates.
Aesthetics - Having more than one page reduces the amount of content creating a cleaner, more visually appealing site.
Display Progress - Progress indicators inform the customers as to how close they are to completing a task. This should not be underestimated. It gives the user a sense of achievement and motivates them to complete the task.
Cognitive Overload - Using a step-by-step process helps reduce cognitive overload and by making the entire process more manageable.
Patience - Humans are often impatient and can be left feeling disappointed when they see multi-page checkouts. If this process is taking too long, customers may get distracted or frustrated resulting in cart abandonment.
Friction - With every additional step there is the added loading time which can feel tedious. Plus, there’s the increased chance for something to go wrong.
So, you’ve chosen the style of checkout process that best suits your business and customer requirements.
Below I have outlined a few tips that could help optimise the checkout process and improve conversion rates regardless of which checkout process you opt for.
Clear Call To Action (CTA) - In order for your customers to make a purchase they first need to navigate to the checkout page. Clear CTA’s help guide users to this page. Furthermore, by positioning the checkout CTA in two places it ensures its easily accessible.
Security - It may seem ridiculous, but there are lots of people who are hesitant to make online purchases due to concerns over security. How can we reassure them? Clear communication is key, external validation and ensure the padlock icon (SSL certificate) is in the address bar .
Forced Registration - An abundance of e-Commerce sites require potential customers to register an account. The theory behind it; if the user has an account they will become more brand loyal. However, customers did not come to your site to create an account. They came to purchase a product. Let them complete this task before asking them to create an account.
White space - White space is a designers best friend. It allows the user to quickly scan and read content, avoids clutter and provides an implicit way to group elements.
Images & Video - It may seem obvious. But, the use of high quality images and videos provides customers with the opportunity to inspect the product. This greatly improves conversion rates.
Length - If you opt for the multi-page checkout as a best practice it should not have more than three or four steps. Any more than that may result in shoppers abandoning their carts. Display the checkout progress to show customers how many steps are left before completing the purchase.
Consider the platform - Single-page checkout works well on the desktop, but consider how this is displayed on mobile. Long forms can be extremely intimidating. It’s easy for user to become lost due to extensive scrolling and decreased latency.
Incentives - e-Commerce is extremely competitive. Offering your customers an incentive can add perceived value to the purchase. For example, free shipping and free returns.
Unexpected Delivery Cost - Let’s be honest, we tend to become suspicious if a site is hiding the delivery cost before checkout. Sometimes this is unavoidable! Unexpected delivery cost accounts for 55% of abandoned cart rates. So, how can we reduce this? Show a clear estimate, provide a delivery calculator or consider offering ‘free’ shipping.
Let’s be honest, increasing conversion rates is not a difficult task. However, it is time consuming and requires commitment.
There isn’t a one size fits all option. The most important thing is to make sure the chosen checkout design stems from an informed decision based on research.
By adopting a user centered approach regardless of whether you opt for a single or multi-page checkout is the first step towards increasing your conversion rates.
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