Finding the Sweet Spot in Your Checkout Process

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Recently, I was helping a friend review and optimize the checkout experience on their website. One of the first metrics we honed in on was how easy it was for someone to pay. We talked through an example and found it took 7 clicks from landing on their homepage until the transaction was finalized.

Let’s contrast that with an example we’re all familiar with – Amazon. They’re well-known for many innovations in the eCommerce space, but perhaps none as well known as the “Buy Now” 1-click payment button.

With the gift of hindsight, the utility of the “Buy Now” button is easy to see, but it wasn’t so immediately obvious back in 1999. It’s impossible to know for sure, but estimates attribute a 5% bump to Amazon’s bottom line.

The “Buy Now” button works because it makes the checkout process frictionless. Potential customers can go from browsing to paying in a single tap or click.

Let’s look at a few eCommerce examples and talk about the tradeoffs required to achieve this same level of checkout efficiency.

Two Checkout Experiences Compared

Let’s look at two examples.

Aerobic Capacity is a company operated by Chris Hinshaw, a well-known name in the CrossFit/fitness space. They offer a recurring subscription for access to online workouts, training tips, etc.

When I land on their page, I see a clear call-to-action for “Get Your Membership Now.” The purchase process takes 3 clicks.

Let’s compare that with another example.

StreetParking provides daily fitness programming for people working out in their garage, apartment, parking lot, etc. Minimal equipment or full gym, it doesn’t matter. I’ve been a member for about a year now, and I love it.

Let’s look at their checkout experience.

They have a strong call-to-action to sign up, but once I start the process, I have to jump through a few hoops including creating an account, all before I can hand over my credit card information.

Finding the Sweet Spot

It might seem like fewer clicks is always better, but that’s not necessarily the case.

For Amazon, they already know an immense amount about you prior to making a purchase. In addition, you’re probably buying household goods – items you already know, understand, and value.

For the smaller companies like Aerobic Capacity and Street Parking, the offerings have a bit more nuance. A 1-click payment option doesn’t make sense when you have multiple packages to choose from. It makes sense to add in some friction points to appropriately qualify the customer and convey all of the necessary information.

The goal is to find the “sweet spot.” The customer:

  1. Recognizes the value of your offer
  2. Matches the offer to a pain point they’re experiencing
  3. Can appropriately qualify themselves in your package offerings

The trick is to lower the number of clicks and hurdles necessary to achieve those two things.

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