Why One Page Checkouts aren’t everything

I read many blogs that are dedicated to usability and customer flow through websites, and one thing that is always taken for granted is that One step checkouts are a must have. The reasons given are

  • Simple to fill out
  • Easy to use
  • Everything is clearly laid out
  • No waiting for the next page to load.

So what does Amazon, the #1 ecommerce site in the world, do? Well, they have a one click checkout but that assumes you have an existing account with them. However, if you don’t have an account, you’ll find that Amazon has several steps during it’s checkout.

1) Set up an account
Amazon Create Account

2) Enter you billing and shipping address
Amazon Create Address

3) Choose a shipping method
Amazon Shipping Option

4) Enter your payment details
Amazon Payment Option

5) Review and accept the order
Amazon Review

Compare this to the most popular Magento 1 page checkout
One Step Checkout - default

At first glance the one step checkout looks great, everything is visible and clearly laid out. However, when you start to use the checkout, some flaws become apparent.

* The shipping options and review sections need to keep updating after users enter their details. This means that the shipping cost shown when you first see the page is not the shipping cost that you will pay. Or worse, there isn’t a shipping option shown when a customer first sees the page and they leave thinking that there is no shipping available.
* How to enter a separate billing and shipping address is not obvious
* Despite numbering the sections, some customers get confused and try to enter details in the wrong order. This leads to frustration if sections update (e.g. payment options) and lose all their entered details.

Amazon, and other large e-commerce sites, use a multi stage checkout to guide their customers through the checkout. This makes entering a lot of details as easy as possible with as little frustration as possible.


Multi step checkouts can actually lead to much better conversion rates than single step checkouts. Don’t confuse Amazon’s one click checkout with a one step checkout page.

Your results may vary, it’s always good to do some simple A/B testing if you can. Test which checkout works for your customers, the results may surprise you.

Keep it simple

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