Ecommerce 6 min read

Clean Checkouts vs. Checkouts With Options: Which Is Right for Your Store?

Written on 05 Jan 2023

Checkout design and layout is a hot topic in eCommerce, especially when cart abandonment rates sit at 70%. While there are many tips on getting your conversion rates up (and some, like being upfront about shipping costs and having fewer fields, are universal), the topic can boil down to the question—clean checkout or checkout with add-ons? The answer to this question depends greatly on your use case—especially factors like your Average Order Value (AOV) and mobile optimization.

clean checkout option for your online store

Essentials for All Checkouts

Even if you need a checkout with plenty of add-ons, there are still some very important rules to follow about what to include and not include in your checkout:
  • Be upfront about shipping: Unexpected or unacceptable shipping costs are the most common reason shoppers abandon their carts. The best way to avoid this, of course, is to offer free shipping, but if you can’t, offering discounted shipping and being upfront about shipping at the start of the checkout is your best bet. 
  • Have fewer pages: The average checkout has 15 form fields, which is a major cause of abandoned checkouts. Even if you want add-ons on your checkout, keeping your checkouts to a few pages (or even trying one-page checkout) is key. 
  • Payment options: Customers will be more likely to purchase from your store if they have multiple payment options
  • Security: Most customers won’t buy from an eCommerce site with lousy security. It’s not enough to have a valid SSL Certificate—for extra peace of mind; you should place security badges and trust seals on your checkout. 
  • Guest checkout: Compulsory registration is another pain point for customers. The best practice is giving them the option to guest checkout (which doesn’t necessarily prevent you from collecting email addresses). Remember, the only companies who can get away with forcing shoppers to log in are household names like Amazon and Target. 
  • Split Testing: Increasing average order value (AOV) can be very difficult, and you need split testing to figure out what changes are winners and what changes are not. In the video below, our Director of Sales, Aaron, and Jeff from “Best Friends Essentials”, talk about increasing average order value with split testing and upsells. 
tips to increase average checkout value

Clean Checkouts

For many businesses, keeping your checkout as clean or minimalist as possible is the best solution:
What Is It? 
Clean checkouts are very trendy right now in eCommerce. But what is a clean checkout? 
  • Often a one-page checkout: Customers prefer one-page checkouts, though they can become too cluttered (and therefore less “clean”). Moreover, simple multi-page checkouts are easier to design and collect data from and may be better for mobile because of less scrolling. 
  • 1-click purchase: 1-click purchase is a new type of checkout, where customers do not have to fill in their details again as they are already saved from previous purchases. Examples of 1-click purchases include Shopify’s Shop Pay and Amazon’s 1-Click.
  • No addons: Clean checkouts only contain the necessary fields to buy the product, not add-ons or pop-ups.
There are several benefits of clean checkouts: 
  • Better for mobile: Clean checkouts can be the solution to the issue of abysmal mobile checkout conversion. They have decreased abandonment rates because the lack of the form fields and pop-ups which slow down mobile checkouts. 
  • Better for cheap and impulse purchases: Clean checkouts and 1-click purchases in particular, are perfect for cheap and impulse purchases.  
  • Good for e-Wallets and Apple Pay: Clean checkouts work great with these quick payment methods. 
The same factors that make clean checkouts so useful also can cause problems: 
  • Lack of flexibility: Clean checkouts, especially 1-click checkouts, can cause issues with shipping or payment methods because customers cannot change these settings at checkout. 
  • Might miss out from add-ons: While add-ons are a risk, clean checkouts can lead to missing out on upsells and cross-sells. 
  • Not as useful for expensive purchases: Super clean checkouts don’t work well with more expensive, complicated, purchases. Customers prefer having a checkout process with more fields and options for non-impulse, high-trust purchases that would usually be made in person.

Checkouts With Add-Ons

Ecommerce checkouts traditionally have a range of add-ons, and these add-ons can be worth it if you present them to the right customers:  
What Is It?
To add extras to your checkout, you usually need a plugin. Here are some of the most popular types of plugins that give your customers more options:
  • Cross-sell and upsell plugins: Cross-sell plugins can suggest other items shoppers can buy simultaneously. Upsell plugins suggest more expensive options. Many plugins (e.g. Smart Offers for WooCommerce) offer these options, and other services like product bundling. 
  • Coupons and discounts: Offering coupons and discounts (or even freebies) can convince shoppers to buy when they otherwise would not.
  • Payment methods: Depending on what CMS you are using, you can add extra payment methods (such as PayPal or Afterpay). 
  • Pop-up notices: You can add pop-up notes to your checkout to deal with cart abandonment, cross-sells and upsells. 
In this video below, we talk about the user experience on the checkout page, or “checkout page flow”. Each business needs a checkout solution tailored to its type of product and target customer. Cross-sells and promotions are great, but they need to be relevant to what the customer is looking for!     
optimzation of subscription checkout flow
There are some definite benefits of checkouts with options: 
  • Get shoppers to buy more: Checkout add-ons like cross-sell and upsells can increase your AOV.
  • More flexibility: The extra flexibility of a traditional checkout, both in terms of options and payment methods, can be handy for customers, especially for higher-value purchases. 
Unfortunately, there are also risks of overcomplicating your checkout:
  • Makes the checkout more complicated: Too many add-ons will make the checkout process more complicated and slower, increasing shoppers’ decision fatigue and ultimately cart abandonment. Add-ons can also slow down the loading speed of your checkout. 
  • Issues with mobile: Addons quickly become an issue with mobile because of loading times and screen space, so it’s still important to keep them to the minimum for successful mobile checkout. 
custom checkout for ecommerce
At this point in eCommerce, there are plenty of options when it comes to designing a checkout—including removing these options. While clean checkouts are quick and perfect for mobile devices, there are also many benefits of having a checkout with more add-ons. At the end of the day, it depends on your use case.  
Need help setting up your eCommerce checkout? Whether it’s clean or more complicated, CodeClouds’ app Unify Checkout can help you design an infinitely customizable checkout.

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