How many steps should a checkout process have?
The checkout process is a significant part of the never-ceasing battle for higher conversion rates. It requires instant data gathering, making hypotheses, improving, and testing.
“For eCommerce, optimization of the checkout experience is more important than polishing your site’s design. The world is moving fast, and if the process of placing an order is twisted, you just lose,” – says Ellie Yantsan, Marketing Executive at Mageworx, an eCommerce software development company.
So to choose between one-step checkout and the multi-step one, deep research would be required, and no one will still guarantee that the choice turns out to be proper.
Nonetheless, what is an ideal number of steps for a checkout process? Let’s reflect on it.
Ideal number of steps for checkout flow
When designing your checkout process, the primary concern should be to allocate information in such a way that the user gets to handle its density easily and doesn’t get confused.
In fact, considerable research shows that the length of the process has become less impactful than the effort a user should make to complete it. In other words, what the user has to do at each step is what should matter the most.
Indeed, the number of meaningful form fields you choose to add turns out to be of more importance, rather than the number of steps:
Must-have steps to include
If we look at such an eCommerce behemoth as Magento, the platform offers its users a two-step checkout flow out-of-the-box, which includes the following steps:
- Shipping with about 10 required fields to fill in, and
- Review and payments with order summary and the field to apply discount codes
At first sight, the process may look simple as it includes two significant steps only, but the long list of form fields that each of these steps offers turns out to be overwhelming for some users.
Thus, which checkout steps would be a must?
- Log in/registration. Any user is familiar with this step. Often, it’s a gateway to place an order at some store. Optimization of the steps involved in this process will only require adding the most needed fields. Alternatively, social login and guest checkout are always nice options to offer.
- Shipping address. Often, this step is hard to optimize more as it contains fields required to fulfill an order only.
- Billing information. Same thing here unless shipping and billing addresses differ. Then, customers will get asked to experience all the efforts they made to complete step one.
- Verification/placing an order. This step is critical both for the user and the merchant as it helps them avoid mistakes and ensure safe checkout. Besides, that’s when you can prevent fake orders by validating them.
Are these four steps ideal then? No, not at all.
There is no right or wrong number of steps when it comes to the checkout flow, just as there is no exact number for form fields you should include. The steps mentioned above are just a must and should be a part of any checkout flow, no matter which option you choose.
How many steps should the checkout process take? You are likely to come across controversial opinions.
On the one hand, every new click offers more opportunities for consumers to ditch the checkout flow, and there should be as few clicks as possible (one-step checkout).
On the other hand, long forms that customers have to fill can be too intimidating and overwhelming. As a result, the checkout process should be broken down into small steps (multi-step checkout).
And the best part is: Your business only decides which option works for you the best.
Story by Yana Hi