Last Week in WooCommerce: The Checkout Experience

We were about to go on a vacation.

The kind where I would be away from work for a week and I would mostly relax by a pool and listen to music on my iPod. The night before we headed to the airport I remember deciding that I needed some music. What happened next was a result of both my own lack of an “internal monitor” and a checkout experience I wasn't really prepared for.

I decided I would hop onto iTunes and buy some music. I just did a few different searches and clicked the “buy album” link next to anything I liked. It would purchase and download it in the background and I knew I would sync things up the next morning.

But when I went to look in my downloads area of iTunes, there was more than 800 songs being downloaded. How had that happened?

Had I really purchased that much music?

Yes. Yes I had. Not just because it was late at night and I kept finding albums I didn't already have. But also because of 1-click ordering – patented by Amazon and licensed by Apple.

Barnes & Noble tried competing with one-click buying by creating an Express Lane solution with 2-clicks but it didn't take off. Once anyone experienced the kind of checkout experience that one-click offered, no one wanted 2, 3, or 4 click experiences.

Everything changed.

It's hard to articulate exactly how much that single feature changed the entire eCommerce landscape. By eliminating the need for people to keep entering payment details and address details into forms, Amazon reduced the friction of eCommerce so that they could move from books to just about anything. As folks often tried Amazon before anywhere else online, they came to appreciate and expect a fast and easy checkout experience (along with free shipping, but that's another post for another day).

Have you heard of this research?

There was some research done a bit ago about menus. When there was no currency symbol placed next to the numbers, they discovered that people were more willing to spend money on higher priced items. The currency symbol is what transformed 27 into $27, and that's what would put the brakes on, in our brains, about how much we were willing to spend on a steak.

The same thing happens to us when it comes to making online purchases. But this time it's not the currency symbol. Instead, it's the checkout process. This is why we see cart abandonment at 70%. Sure, we would like free shipping. But the surveys that tell you people are abandoning their cart because shipping had a cost, are likely asking the wrong question, at least in the wrong way.

The real cause of cart abandonment

It's not the price of shipping that causes us pause. It's the price period. When we see the cart and checkout pages, when we see the total, and the shipping price, it's like that currency symbol.

Everything becomes real. It's real money. And our brain hits the brakes – not because of the shipping, but because we're asking ourselves new questions. Not, “do I want this?” Instead we wonder, “Can I afford this?” and “Do I need this right now?”

The brakes pop up and give us pause. And we abandon carts.

That's all the checkout experience.

And when I was clicking the button next to music, it didn't feel like a purchase. It was almost like I was voting. I was saying, “yes, I like that music.” Which I think we can all agree is not the same as, “yes, please charge me $20.”

A fast and one-click checkout experience eliminates our internal brain brakes because we eliminate all the places where it becomes real.

Now that may worry you a bit if you make a lot of online purchases late at night. But if you're an eCommerce merchant, you want to do anything you can to eliminate those internal breaks.

And there's good news on that front. In 2017, Amazon's patent protect ended.

I'm betting on Fast.co

Others like PeachPay and Bolt have arrived on the scene. But so has Fast.co. And if I had to bet on any of them, I'd bet on Fast.co.

By now you may wonder, how is this related to “Last Week in WooCommerce” since it's my Monday post and that's what I write about on Mondays.

Let me answer that by telling you that Fast.co integrates with WooCommerce. And at Nexcess we're working with them to make it available for all our Managed WooCommerce hosting customers.

The Big News Last Week

But the big news last week in the WooCommerce world was connected to Fast.co – which raised $102M series B last week. That's going to help it grow dramatically.

And as a result, I think we'll see way more one-click availability on stores everywhere.