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Checkout Flow Best Practices

Best Practices for Checkout



10:36 pm on Nov 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Right now our flow is:

View Cart > Checkout/Sign In >

If you are a new customer

Billing and Shipping Address - checkbox duplicates billing but 17 fields

if you are a return customer or have entered your B & S data.

Verify Order > Payment > Approved

My biggest issue with our flow is the # of fields. What is the best way to get billing and shipping information without showing so many blank fields. I think Amazon takes on 2 different pages.

Would you put CC payment on the verify order page?

I want to cut at least 1 click from my checkout for returning customers and 2 for new customers - looking for the best way to do it.


3:43 am on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

View Cart > Checkout/Sign In >

This is a big mistake. You shouldn't have to log in to complete a purchase.

The one that works best for me (don't know if it's best practice, but . . . )

After adding item to cart, the following buttons/forms are all on the same page.

(List of cart items, quantities and options all editable)
[update cart] [continue shopping]

or check out below

select country: .... if U.S. enter zip code ... [ NEXT >> ]

Here you may do something else.

This next page has checked stock and displays one of two things:

Checking Stock
All of your items are in stock [ Continue >>]


Checking Stock
The following items are not in stock:
What would you like to do?
Ship what is in stock, remainder when they come in at no extra shipping charge
Hold entire order until all items are in
Remove these items from my order
[ Continue >> ]

Submit of the page above display the following links.

Choose your Shipping:

USPS First Class (price, 1-14 business days - whatever the API returns)
USPS Parcel Post (ditto)
USPS Priority Mail
USPS Express Mail
UPS Ground
UPS Next Day
(so on, whatever is available for destination and parcel)


Finalize Purchase
Last is checkout. At upper right is "Returning customers ***MAY*** log in for speedy checkout" but even if they don't, it does it "for them" when submitted, assigning a random pass to new customers or just assigning the order to an existing customer. (Never had a typo cause problems there, solved more than the potential for mis-assignment via email address.) If they log in, all it does is populate the form and the login form disappears.

Post to processor, react on response, update database, sent the receipts . . . done.

Wording is paraphrased, rendering it unsearchable within this site's TOS


3:54 am on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

where do they enter the ship to address - also, our stock is dynamically controlled when they add it to the cart so no need to check it.

We don't require a password for express checkout, just email address. Great ideas though - thanks for sharing!


6:43 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

See the first step - "Select country/enter zip code if U.S. . . . "

The actual address is not added until checkout, as the zip (and parcel details) is all that's required for destination to query the shipper's API for the shipping costs.

our stock is dynamically controlled when they add it to the cart so no need to check it.

Just FYI, what's to stop a competitor from coming to your site and carting up all items, setting stock to none, deterring sales?

The way I like to handle this is at the actual checkout. Three tables: stock, pending, sold. On successful checkout only, items move from stock to pending. When shipped, we move from pending to sold. Public displays only display the stock value. This allows us to cancel orders, if required, or return items, and simple move between pending and stock.

The point may be moot if you don't alter any product displays on stock status, but with the scenario above in which we report stock, it's extremely important.


1:39 pm on Dec 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Good ideas!

We have the option to login or skip login then we ask for billing and shipping information, then show the full order with shipping options and credit card information followed by a final confirmation page.

We were worried about shopping cart abandonment at the billing shipping page, but we have not seen that. Abandonment happens when shipping is displayed. We lowered our free shipping threshold to $50 and reduced our fixed basic shipping to $5 and have virtually eliminated shopping cart abandonment.

We also provide a comment/suggestion page when someone doesn't complete the order. We were surprised that 75% of shoppers will complete the comment page, which has helped us tune up our shopping cart.

So the order of the checkout pages hasn't been the concern I thought it would.


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