How to Create an Optimized Express Checkout for Ecommerce Success

November 25, 2019

The Bolt Team

Shopping cart sitting outside an ecommerce shopping experience

Determining whether an express checkout is best suited for you means first understanding what an express checkout is, what features they typically have, and how they work. Learn these basics as well as how to optimize an express checkout for ecommerce success.

Improvements in ecommerce UX have gained traction in the last decade as customers have come to expect faster, more efficient ways of buying online. Offering an express checkout is the way to go if you want to provide a fast and optimized experience for your shoppers.

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While most of the benefits are aimed at creating a better user experience for your customers, there are many benefits for the ecommerce retailer as well, including better conversions and reduced checkout abandonment. Continue reading to learn more about creating a successful express checkout.

We’ll help you build, test, and optimize the key features of your express checkout, and outline the main benefits of adding an express checkout to your ecommerce store. To start, let’s cover what an express checkout is and why you should have one.

What express checkout is and why it is important

An express checkout is an ultra-fast checkout form, usually designed for returning customers, that reduces form fields in order to ensure a quicker checkout process. Shipping, billing, and payment information is submitted in a contained area of the site, making it simple and efficient for the customer.

Graphic of customer using shopping cart to buy items at a virtual storefront

Having an express checkout is important for making checkout as fast and frictionless as possible. Designed specifically to make checkout convenient for returning users, an express checkout usually means a one-click checkout experience.

Benefits of express checkout

Having an express checkout isn’t just for perfecting a user experience customers love; it’s also about reducing checkout abandonment and improving your sales. Here are the main advantages that an express checkout brings for you and your customers.

  • Fast checkouts: Self-explanatory; an express checkout makes checkout quick and easy for customers.
  • Simple layout and design: By nature, express checkouts use simplified, direct, and clear designs that are easy to navigate and access. This helps with load times, performance, and overall experience and appeal.
  • Keep buyers on track: Express checkout options often means buyers don’t need to migrate away from shopping pages. This lets you as a retailer keep purchasing customers on your site and in position to buy more.
  • Consistency across devices: As express checkouts are short and simple by definition, they can be standardized more easily across all device types. This keeps checkout the same for users on different devices.
  • Mobile-optimized: Express checkout’s reduced form fields and simplified view is an ideal experience for shoppers on mobile devices, where screen sizes impact checkout conversion rates
  • Increase conversions: Faster, simpler checkouts result in a superior user experience. As a retailer, this translates into less checkout abandonment and more conversions.
  • Free up servers & speed up page load time: With fewer pages being processed, there is less strain on your hosting service, enabling faster performance from your checkout.

Almost all of these are automatic advantages of using an express checkout process, but you will still want to optimize your checkout for your individual shoppers for best results. Keep reading for common characteristics of an express checkout, or jump down to learn the steps for building an optimized checkout.

Features of an express checkout

With multi-step, single-step, one-page, and one-click checkouts, it can get confusing to identify what, exactly, an express checkout is. Express checkouts exist in a variety of formats, some being more ‘express’ than others. There are also a variety of checkout add-ons and plugins that claim to be express checkouts. Here are a number of common features of express checkouts:

Skip data entry

One of the main features of any express checkout is that it functions faster by skipping data entry. Data from previous sessions is accessed to verify the identity of the customer and draw payment details. While some express checkouts have other features that vary, all express checkouts use minimal data entry or skip it entirely.

Connect with pre-existing social account

Myntra’s checkout page with social connect options highlighted

Express checkouts are able to skip data entry (and therefore, speed up checkout) a few different ways. Skipping data entry and speeding up the checkout process is often achieved by accessing existing personal and payment information. In some cases, data is archived in the retailer’s system through an existing account, but in other cases, it’s done by linking or connecting to an existing social account that already contains personal and payment information.

Checkout button

Nike checkout with express checkout button options highlighted

The true beauty of an express checkout is making it as quick – and painless – as possible. The ideal expression of an express checkout is a checkout simplified to a single click. “One-click” is now a standard practice for express checkouts, and many express checkouts themselves have become known as a “one-click checkout.” Check out (no pun intended) PayPal’s express checkout button to see express checkout done right.

Contained and isolated

Express checkouts are contained and isolated, operating on one page or even a single step. This mitigates the effort required to checkout, as it confines it to a single process. The simplicity of this design often makes checkout more accessible and easy for customers.

8 strategies for creating an optimized express checkout

No matter the type of express checkout you choose to use, you will want to optimize for best performance and user experience. While an express checkout is better than standard checkout by definition, there are still things you can do to improve and fine-tune the express checkout experience for better results. Here are some strategies that anyone can employ to improve their express checkout.

1. Display product and payment details

Showing product, quantity, and payment details prominently and clearly is essential for express checkout. To help users process their payment quickly, customers need to be able to review information at a glance and with clarity. Make sure you feature all information so that it’s legible and easy to comprehend.

2. Stock and inventory verification

Graphic of delivery man with stock behind a virtual storefront

Displaying information about inventory and stock availability will make express checkout seamless for customers. Having a system that verifies whether items are in-stock behind the scenes is useful for making sure your express checkout functions properly and avoids situations where inventory goes out of stock before a checkout can be completed.

3. Responsive design and high-speed performance

Graphic of express checkout screen on a variety of device types

For customers to be satisfied with a checkout, it needs to function smoothly, quickly, and without errors. Ensure that your design operates as it should, and update it regularly to provide a good user experience. Make sure that the checkout design is responsive to avoid friction and keep users satisfied with the experience across devices.

4. Do not overcrowd and distract customers

Along the same lines of keeping the display clear, refrain from overcrowding the screen. Avoid distractions and call to actions that take the user away from the checkout flow. Keep your express checkout down to the barebone essentials, keeping it fast, efficient, and convenient.

5. Mobile-friendly is a must

Having a mobile-friendly design is essential as more online sales shift to mobile ecommerce. Any checkout should be consistent across all device types. This not only helps recurring customers have a similar experience on desktop, tablet, and mobile, but it also helps you track analytics that let you compare behavior on different devices.

6. User-friendly error validation

Bellroy checkout with form field validation

Form field error validation should be used so customers know when they enter inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise inadequate information. This makes checkout simple and clear, helping them correct information and fill out form fields properly. Make error validation clear and easy to identify and fix for customers to help get the best data.

7. Autofill shipping address box

Shipping address same as billing address

More often than not, customers have the same shipping as billing address. While you’ll want to give customers the option of picking an alternate shipping address, the default setting should be to include the “same as billing address” box checked. This will save the majority of your customers time on checkout and shorten their purchase funnel.

8. Add Google Maps API for automated address completion

Best buy checkout with google map api address field

Every form field is an obstacle to a potential customer. Reduce the number of forms at all costs and limit how much customers have to fill out. One way of doing this is by integrating a Google Maps API that will autofill addresses as customers enter them, saving precious seconds on each checkout.

Get an express checkout for fast ecommerce payments

Maintaining an express checkout requires management, as you’ll need to refine and make improvements over time, update technology for steady performance, and detect and protect against fraudulent charges. Bolt is an intuitively-designed express checkout with built-in fraud prevention technology offering a 100% fraud chargeback coverage guarantee.

Bolt increases conversions and reduces abandonment by approving payments that would otherwise be rejected due to false fraud indicators. Retailers use Bolt’s checkout system to offer an express checkout experience to make sure nothing gets in the way when shoppers decide to buy.

ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.