In an increasingly fast-paced online world teeming with options, simplicity is undoubtedly the air of freshness that most customers crave.
Thanks to smartphones’ ubiquity, online shopping has made a quick transition to mobile platforms, making convenience an integral part of a satisfactory customer experience.
Many e-commerce store owners looking for web design in London often times put a big focus on wanting the face of their online store to look great, without considering the impact backend steps and the checkout process which will ultimately be something that has the biggest impact on their sales.
Overcomplicated checkout processes often result in unsatisfied customers and, ultimately, lost sales. For years, the raging debate among e-commerce professionals has been whether online stores should use multistep or one-page checkouts to boost their overall conversions.
In this article, we take a look at both checkout processes and the benefits and limitations each process has to offer. It is worth mentioning that e-commerce is a broad field, and online stores differ a lot.
Merchants should select the best checkout sequence for their businesses based on the commodities they sell, their price points and their target customers’ shopping behaviors.
As suggested by the name, one-page checkouts display all the elements of a typical checkout page, including payment information, billing and shipping address, basket contents and shipping options on a single page.
One-page checkouts are designed to simplify and shorten the checkout process by taking customers through fewer pages and requiring fewer clicks.
Pros of a One-Page Checkout
1. Encourages Quick Checkout
By providing all the checkout-related information upfront, one-page checkouts encourage customers to complete their purchases quickly.
Unlike a multistep checkout, a one-page checkout does not require customers to click multiple items and navigate several pages unnecessarily before finalizing their purchases.
Customers can conveniently fill in all their details regarding payment, shipping and billing on one page.
2. Easy to Understand
Simplicity is the name of the game with one-step checkouts.
A one-step checkout is inherently simpler to design and easier for the customers to understand due to its often straightforward, minimalist interface.
This simplicity makes it easier for shoppers to verify their checkout information since they hardly need to go back and forth between pages.
3. Lower Cart Abandonment Rates
Like bounce rate to bloggers, shopping cart abandonment rate is a metric most store owners would be glad to keep very low.
Intricate checkouts are a nightmare for online shoppers and a massive contributor to shopping cart abandonment.
One-page checkouts are an excellent way for most online stores to optimize their checkout sequences and ensure their shoppers have a smooth checkout experience.
Cons of a One-Page Checkout
1. Slower Site Speed
Despite the added customer convenience, consolidating high volumes of content on one page can be detrimental to a website’s loading speed.
A slow checkout is a sure means of turning away potential customers and encouraging them to search for similar or alternative products on a competitor’s online store.
Remember, one of the key reasons customers partake in online shopping is that it is generally more convenient and faster than shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
An online store that fails to deliver on speed and convenience is an online store set up for failure.
2. Uncomfortable to Some Shoppers
The consensus among online merchants is that displaying all the necessary checkout information on a single page helps make the checkout process simpler for potential customers.
However, customers who are more accustomed to multisite checkouts might find a one-page checkout somewhat intimidating.
Long checkout forms can come across as clunky and even discourage customers from completing their purchases. Additionally, seemingly endless scrolling can confuse customers during the checkout process.
3. No Analytics Integration
Many merchants using one-page checkouts find it challenging to track their stores’ sales funnel data so this may require additional software integration to screen record a customer’s journey and see at what step in the checkout process customers encounter problems.
Multistep checkouts split the checkout sequence into multiple pages.
Customers are often required to enter their payment information, shipping and billing address and shipping information manually on separate pages.
Although multistep checkouts are more time-consuming for the customer, some shoppers seem to prefer them since they give them another chance to confirm their checkout information’s validity before placing an order.
Recent research suggests that customers who purchase expensive items online are less likely to abandon their carts on multisite checkouts.
This is perhaps because multisite checkouts allow customers to think through their purchases carefully and confirm that the information they entered is correct.
Pros of a Multistep Checkout
1. Heightened Sense of Security
By filling all the necessary details one step at a time, customers unknowingly make micro-commitments that make them feel more secure and confident about their purchases.
This is particularly true for shoppers purchasing expensive items online.
2. Guest Checkout
Not all potential customers have the time or wish to sign up for a customer account before checking out.
Multistep checkouts address this issue by allowing merchants to provide a guest checkout option.
3. Clean Layout
Including multiple pages in the checkout sequence provides merchants with the freedom necessary to display shipping options and form fields cleanly.
Some vendors feel that spreading out the checkout process over several short pages is neater than fitting all the checkout information on one page since it appears less overwhelming and simpler to fill out.
4. Integrated Analytics
Multistep checkouts make it possible for merchants to integrate Google Analytics into their stores.
Google analytics enables merchants to pinpoint the steps where most customers exit their checkout sequences.
Such data can be invaluable for store owners looking to optimize their checkout processes for higher conversions.
5. Email Collection
Spreading the checkout process across several pages enables vendors to collect important customer data.
Merchants can collect their potential customers’ contact information, e.g., email addresses, during the initial phases of checkout, in case they decide to abandon their carts without making a purchase.
Cons of a Multistep Checkout
1. Excessively Lengthy
Depending on the number of pages involved, shoppers are likely to find a multistep checkout process unnecessarily lengthy.
For more optimal results, merchants are advised not to have more than four steps in their checkout processes.
Multistep checkouts that include too many pages will likely result in high cart abandonment rates and too many lost sales.
Displaying the checkout progress is essential to indicate the number of steps or pages left before making a purchase.
2. Difficult to Correct Information
It is normal for customers to make mistakes while filling out the form fields during checkout.
Multistep checkouts force customers to return to previous pages upon suspicion of entering incorrect information.
Many e-commerce websites lack an edit option, and customers have to enter their details again after making a mistake. This can be extremely frustrating and increase the likelihood of cart abandonment.
Since many mobile-optimized e-commerce websites use one-page checkouts, the vast majority of online shoppers may find a multistep checkout process to be time-consuming. This could cause high cart abandonment.
One-Page Versus Multistep Checkout: Which Should You Choose?
If you are still torn between a one-page or multistep checkout, we recommend choosing a one-page checkout, though it must be noted that as with all conversion elements on your website, this should be thoroughly split-tested.
Having said that, one-page checkouts are quickly overtaking multistep setups as the standard checkout process.
Requiring customers to navigate multiple pages before completing a purchase is often distracting and only encourages cart abandonment.
Online customers are more content with simplicity and shorter checkout processes.