Queueing at the cash register is one of the most unpleasant moments customers experience in brick-and-mortar stores. Holding chosen items in hands and being just one step away from the purchase, they spend countless minutes waiting to complete it.
People go online and expect to shop and check out quickly. Web stores seem to have every possibility for this. Still, ecommerce players lose customers at the last stage of online shopping. The latter name complicated checkout as one of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment.
Understanding the importance of checkout, owners of Magento web stores may get lost in the possibilities they have. The abundance of checkout extensions on the Marketplace doesn’t bring much clarity. Backed up with Magento consulting experience, we want to outline Magento checkout options that go both out of the box and as add-ons to save merchants from unnecessary spending and help them convert more visitors into customers.
Default Magento checkout options
Magento has a reputation to maintain. As an ecommerce platform with rich default functionality, it couldn’t fail at such an important stage as checkout. Indeed, it offers impressive options largely focused on customer convenience.
To keep up with customers’ growing expectations, Magento offers a default one-page checkout option. Just as people always choose the shortest queue, they appreciate when online sellers care about their time. Bringing all steps under one roof, the latter allow customers to complete the purchase faster and without extra clicks.
Magento one-page checkout works in steps. Customers can see only one section at once. Having stated shipping address and chosen shipping method, they move to the second step with payment-related fields and the coveted Place order button. Throughout the whole process, the progress line keeps them informed about the remaining steps.
Known for its customization capabilities, Magento shows its best here. Sellers can adapt default checkout settings to their business needs. For example, they can add a new field in the address form or a custom input mask for a ZIP code.
What if customers purchase virtual or downloadable products? The requirement for shipping information may confuse them. Magento triggers plan B when the shopping cart contains only these product types. The checkout automatically turns into a one-step process without shipping fields.
Tip. Many merchants use analytical tools, for example, Google Analytics, to assess the efficiency of their checkout process. Knowing the page where they lose customers, they can get to the bottom of shopping cart abandonment.
But the merchants who use a one-page checkout may doubt if analytics still makes sense. The solution is to associate each step of the checkout page with a separate funnel step (shipping address, shipping method, payment, review). Thus, the analytic tool will keep on monitoring customer behavior, and retailers will see what aspects need improvement.
Let’s see what else merchants can do to decrease shopping cart abandonment rate with Magento default capabilities. First-time buyers may be reluctant to register an account. In such cases, Magento guest checkout option is a mutually beneficial solution for merchants and their customers. While the former increase conversion rate, the latter don’t feel forced to leave their contact information and are more likely to purchase.
By default, a Magento customer account stores information about logged-in, but not guest, orders. Thus, activating this checkout option, merchants will not see a comprehensive purchasing history of guest customers. A useful add-on, Guest checkout to registered customers extension, can automatically convert guest orders into registered customers. Once a customer places an order in a Magento web store, the system generates and sends him or her a password and transfers customer information to a newly created account.
Tip. A customer completes an order using a convenient guest checkout option. A merchant is happy to see the conversion rate is growing. The customer is even happier to save time typically spent on registering an account. But along with a sigh of relief, an afterthought comes: how will I monitor the order status? This service gap can frustrate all efforts to make guest orders part of a customer-friendly policy.
The default Magento package needs help to stay on task. To maintain a high level of customer service, merchants can rely on a free Magento 2 extension named Guest check order status. If a customer chooses to place a guest order, the system sends a confirmation email with a tracking number. Thus, he or she doesn’t need an account to know the status of the order.
Repeat customers already have their shipping address and payment information saved in their accounts. Why can’t they purchase instantly? Indeed, they can. Magento offers the Instant Purchase module to decrease time spent for checkout to seconds. Returning customers can place orders literally with two clicks – they choose Instant Purchase on a detailed product page, get directly to the confirmation page and confirm the order. The official Magento blog tells this feature saves about 90 percent of a customer’s time.
Tip. By default, Instant Purchase supports three payment options - Braintree credit cards (only with 3D Secure disabled), Braintree with PayPal enabled and PayPal Payflow Pro. Merchants can add more payment methods but only with vault support. It stores and protects customer payment information so that they don’t need to re-enter it for a repeat purchase.
The standard Magento package goes with several customer-oriented checkout options. Is there any remarkable piece of functionality that extensions can offer? Merchants may find interesting the one called one-step checkout.
Going further to excellent customer experience, extension developers have come up with an idea to display all checkout steps on a single page. This resulted in a number of ready-made solutions for Magento one-step checkout. Such companies as Amasty, Aheadworks and Webkul among others have presented their versions on the Magento Marketplace.
When customers complete their purchase, they get to the checkout page where they see columns with all required fields - shipping address and method, payment method and order summary. The core difference with the default Magento one-page checkout consists in the following:
- Customers see the total order price at once, which saves them from unpleasant surprises at the very last stage of order review.
- Customers don’t need to go back and forth to change information from the previous step.
- Customers don’t make extra clicks and save time for the checkout.
Tip. Is it better to choose Magento one-page checkout with steps unfolding one after another or Magento one-step checkout with a single user-friendly page? Stating that there is one correct answer to this question would be misleading. Through our experience, we have noticed that some ecommerce projects get excellent results from the first option while others increase conversion rate with the second one. A/B testing is the only way to know what works better for your web store.
Owners of Magento e-shops have no excuses to lose customers because of a cumbersome checkout process. With great default opportunities, they can avoid extra expenditures to make it fast and convenient for customers. Meanwhile, paid extensions can further polish the checkout and allow ecommerce websites to meet increased competition in the online market.