Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Improving E-Store Checkout



E-Commerce Times reports today that single-page checkouts may significantly reduce shopping cart abandonment at e-stores. The gist:
During the latest year-end holiday season, both TJMaxx.com and HomeGoods.com tested a checkout system in which customers used a single page for all shipping and billing information. Fifty percent more customers completed the checkout process than had finished the multipage process.
TJMaxx.com is still using the system, pictured in the screen capture above and created by Molecular using Macromedia's Flex. When shoppers with a fast connection view their cart or click the checkout button, the system loads a small rich application. The four-step checkout (Shipping, Billing, Payment, Review) is completed on this page, with each step expanding from the navigable bars in the Checkout box.

On my broadband connection, the app loaded quickly and operated smoothly. It's nicely done—as long shoppers don't click the browser's Back button! At the first click, there seems to be no response. At the second, it's the dreaded "The page cannot be displayed" message. Ouch! Since the Back button (at least anecdotally) is one of the most frequently used navigation methods, this is a serious flaw. Even so, it's hard to argue with TJMaxx's increased checkout completion rate and certainly worth further exploration.

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