Gimme some context
One of the biggest struggles for most e-commerce stores is The Abandoned Cart. You were so close! They were actually interested and ready to go! They knew what they wanted! And then they ghosted you without going all the way. There are a lot of things you can do to try to reduce the percentage of people who don’t make it through checkout, including reminder emails and targeted discounts (if you know how to contact them, that is). Another approach is to work on your “conversion optimisation” - all of those little things most people don’t normally think about (unless you’re us) that go into the decision to buy from your website.
A huge part of the conversion optimisation process is making sure your checkout is easy and swift, so people don’t change their minds or get annoyed by long waits. A big sticking point with customers is how long it takes and how much information they need to give in one go. Another is how credible your business seems and how well you guide customers through the checkout process. This post goes over the pros and cons of using a multi-page checkout compared to a single page.
How Shopify is already helping you out
All Shopify plans lower than Shopify Plus have a basic checkout template with little you can really do to change it. Those with Shopify Plus memberships can customise checkouts to have whatever kind of layout they want. Even so, the elves behind Shopify know that abandoned carts at checkout are a big problem, and the most common way to address it is by having customer info saved and ready to go in one form or another for repeat customers. There are a few ways Shopify lets you do this, without changing the layout.
Shopify Pay is a feature available for merchants that use the Shopify Payments gateway (hint: if you can, you should!). Customers enter their credit card info once and it’s saved through an encryption. In future payments, they have to enter a code they receive as a text, but don’t have to pull out their credit card anymore.
Customers with newer iPhones can set up Apple Pay, which lets them tokenize their credit card info and choose from any of their credit cards or bank accounts they’ve set up without having to re-enter their info.
PayPal’s biggest strength is probably its numbers. Tons of people have PayPal accounts already set up to send and receive money or make purchases on eBay, that offering PayPal can expidite the process for those that are familiar.
One option you can consider is creating customer accounts. This is particularly helpful if you want to make loyalty programs, subscription purchases or VIP programs. It of course does take an extra step for customers to sign up, but once they do their info is already stored and ready to go.
There’s a lot of chatter about the Woes of Multi-Page Checkouts, because they can take a bit more time and often are used to ask for more info.
Multi-page checkouts aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of successful retailers are using them, and having your customer move from one page to another can make each chunk more manageable and not intimidate your customer.
What’s most important is that your checkout only asks for information you need and that you provide signals from your company that you’re credible and trustworthy. This can often be step numbers indicating that you’re on page x out of 3. It can also mean text after a step that’s just been completed, saying what type of information you’re collecting next. For example, you could write, “Great, we just need some info about where to send your XX product” before collecting shipping address info.
Be careful though. If your multi-page checkout takes too long to load, is confusing, or asks for too much, many customers will just leave before completing the checkout. See how agitated Alan Rickman’s getting?
- Looking Good
Chunking up your checkout into segments can make each step more friendly/easier to handle for customer. Less on one page means the layout is cleaner and tighter, too.
- Hang on to some info
If someone enters their email address in the first step and abandons their cart later on, you have a way to contact them and follow up on their almost-purchase.
Another important piece of information is finding out where people are dropping off. For example, if you’re getting a large number of people making it through the personal info stage, but after they’re told what the delivery charge is abandon their carts, you know the delivery fee is a sticking point.
- Marketing Opportunities
With a multi-page checkout, you have more space to use your checkout for marketing. Whether that’s promoting specific add-on products, upselling, or encouraging your customers to join a loyalty program, a mutli-page checkout lets you do that.
- Loading times
When you have too many pages or it takes too long to load in between pages, you’ll lose people.
Many steps can mean your customer doesn’t have all the information they need when they’re looking for it.
There are two basic types of one-page checkouts - free-fill and accordion. A basic free-fill one-page checkout has all the fields open, easily seen at once, and can be filled out in whatever order the customer wants. The accordion-style only lets customers see or fill in fields once they’ve completed the previous step.
One-page checkouts make life really easy for the customer most of the time, because you know exactly what you’ll be asked and can estimate how much time it will take you. You can see the end in sight and there’s no mystery to it.
ASOS is a good example of a one-pager. Their checkout is really fast and still looks quite clean.
That’s the big win for one-pagers. This is particularly important for conversion, and can be aided by some of the payment gateways mentioned above. Your customer checks out quickly and is therefore less likely to get stuck and quit early. This can boost your conversion rates if you’re finding a lot of dropoff at checkout.
- You cant give special offers or remarket
You simply don’t have room to put in extra upselling offers, loyalty offers or other marketing as part of your checkout.
- You miss out on important data
Especially email addresses. If someone abandons their cart but they’ve given you an email address, you can get back in touch with them. If you have a one-page checkout and they cancel, they’re lost.
The gist of it
There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all for checkout pages. Remember, you want your checkout process to be easy for the customer and get you all the info you need about them. You don’t want a clunky checkout to be the reason your customers are abandoning their carts, and optimising is so worth it. Remember things like:
Optimising for mobile
Because more and more people are shopping from their phones, having a checkout that doesn’t go super smooth on a mobile is a major faux pas.
Actually knowing what works comes down to testing. You can use an A/B test service to see which checkouts is retaining more customers.
Make sure your customer feels safe, with a cancel button, stage indicators and printable order confirmations.
Optimising can mean approaching an expert that knows what to look for. Elkfox can help - we’re Shopify Plus Experts who can make your checkout process more friendly to buyers. Talk to us for more information