Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert, And What They're Doing Right

A bad checkout experience can ruin an e-commerce site. The following websites can serve you as inspiration on how to lead your customers through it.

Read more: Elements for a perfect checkout page (Infographic).

Before going page by page, here are some elements that all of these checkout processes have in common. Keep them as best practices, they should be on every e-commerce's must-have list:

Convenience

  • Buyers don't have to register in order to make a purchase.
  • The website saves every shopping cart, so the items are still there when a buyer returns.
  • Several payment methods are permitted.
  • Finding the way back to the cart from the shop is easy. It is allowed to go back during the checkout process as well, in case the buyer wants to edit the items in it.
  • They have "Wish Lists"/"Favourites". One of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment is that buyers use the cart as a wish list, but they don’t intend to buy. Adding a proper Wish List solves this issue while also giving you valuable information: the user’s email and favourite items.
  • As a final step before placing the order, they allow buyers to review shipping address, items, and other data, to make sure everything is correct.

Information

  • Information about availability, shipping costs and delivery options is clear and easy to find.
  • Clients can contact someone at any moment, either via chat, email, or phone.

Visual aspects

  • There is a picture of every item in the cart.
  • The CTAs (calls-to-action) to move forward and proceed to purchase are highlighted using unique, distinctive colours.
  • There is also a CTA to continue shopping.

Keeping the client focused

  • They have a clear progress bar that indicates how many more actions are required to complete the purchase.
  • They allow users to enter a promo code if they already have it, but they don’t display running offers or coupons during the checkout.

Crate&Barrel

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | Crate&Barrel

Crate&Barrel is a houseware and furnishing website that was ranked top 1 amongst 100 benchmarked sites by Baymard Institute for their checkout's usability in 2012.

You will see all the aforementioned best practices. For example, they don't force users to register, and they make it very clear with a checkout option for guests. Instead, they ask buyers to create an account after completing their purchase.

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | Crate&Barrel

One detail to highlight about them is that they ask customers to send their opinions on the process.

Apple

The kings of UX should know how to make a smooth checkout, right? They do. They have done some creative things with their online website to provide quality in-depth information about each product, while keeping everything simple. It is an elegant flow that has everything it should have, no more, no less.

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | Apple

When you select one of Apple’s star products, you can go through pages and pages about the product’s design and technical aspects.
Finding the way back to the checkout is easy. They add a blue CTA next to the information tabs.
There are also FAQs and the mandatory contact data, so solving doubts is not an issue.

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | Apple There is no proper progress bar, but everything is split into clear step-by-step parts. Even the product’s customization. They guide you through it, and the stock photo will change to fit your choice of model, size, and colour.

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | Apple

Moving back and forward during the process is extremely easy. There is only one exception: if you are about to buy one of the star products and then you change your mind, the cart doesn’t save it. You have to go through the customization process again.
When you buy these products the checkout makes you feel a little trapped, because there is no indicator of how many steps there are left to complete your order, and if you leave you lose the information you entered and have to start from the beginning.

Also, there is no information about the safety of the transaction. No reminder of the transaction being secure, nor a third-party badge. But again, Apple can be an exception to this general rule. Their audience already trusts their brand, they are tech-savvy customers who are used to buying things on-line, and it’s the official website.

ModCloth

ModCloth is a popular online shop that sells clothes and home decoration, with a pin-up look and tongue-in-cheek product names. One thing they do great is encouraging their customers to share photos and reviews of the products. They have built a community around the website. Clients share ideas on how to combine clothes, they pick their favourite products to get back in stock, it is very interactive.

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | ModCloth

Reviews build trust both when the reviews are positive and when you answer to criticism. They can also help you understand how to improve certain products, which ones to keep and which ones to remove. And if you allow pictures of the product, even better!

Read more: How customer-generated photos can help your business.

Online fashion shops should always remember to include a clear link to the measurements, just like ModCloth does. It is the main piece of information your clients need.

 Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | ModCloth

Speaking about good practices, they do remind you the transaction is safe. If you click for further information, they take you to their “Privacy” page, where you can see TRUSTe’s seal and details about the way ModCloth manages clients’ data. Also, the payment information fields are framed differently, using a darker shade of blue, which adds to the perceived security.

Extra point: ModCloth is very clear about products’ availability. They let their clients when there are very few items left! And if something is out of stock, they suggest you to sign in so they can send you a notification whenever it’s back.

Amazon

 Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | Amazon

Amazon is another good example. Maybe not so great when you are a new customer, then it gets a little confusing, but for logged in users reordering is even too easy to buy. Amazon saves their card information and address details. The most extreme example is their “Buy now with 1-click” button. It can’t get simpler than that.

 Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | Amazon

They encourage buyers to share their experience with the product too, and pictures of it.

One issue might be that the contact information is not so easy to find. They focus on reviews and FAQs to solve doubts. Still, it is understandable since more often than not they don’t offer the products themselves.

AO

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | AO

Finally, AO's checkout. Their website has been featured several times on blogs and websites for its excellent UX and original solutions.

The checkout form is fast and easy to fill. They frame the most sensitive information in a way that reinforces its security visually, and they even add an image of the back of a credit card to depict where is the CV2 code.

Inspiration: 5 Checkout Flows That Convert | AO

One of their nicest features is their calendar interface to pick a delivery date, as well as the 'eco-delivery day' option. Eco-delivery means that AO is already delivering in that area that day, so you can help them save fuel and reduce carbon emissions by choosing it.

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