Vin65 Blog

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Andrew Kamphuis
January 17, 2010 | Ecommerce | Andrew Kamphuis

Reducing Friction Points in Checkout

Your customers want to purchase your wine quickly and easily so they can move on to the next thing they are doing online.

Every hoop a customer has to jump through, every form field they have to enter, every mouse click they have to make, and every place a customer has concerns about what is being asked is a friction point. As the friction builds up, a customer can become aggravated, fatigued, confused - and ultimately they will abandon the sales process.

Here are three friction points that bother me when buying wine online.

Form Fatigue

Just looking at the overwhelming amount of information that needs to be completed on this checkout makes me fatigued. While some of this information is required, here is how to make it less cumbersome.

  1. 60% of customers use the same billing and shipping address, so the shipping address doesn't need to be shown at all (there goes half the fields). Stores like Abercrombie perfected this years ago.  Try the checkout process on some of our latest stores and see how they only show the shipping information side of the form if necessary.
  2. Fields such as fax number, website, etc should be completely abandoned, (or at least clearly marked option as I'm sure they are not a requirement to buy wine on this site). Why do I want to give you my website URL to buy wine from you??

Forced Minimum Quantities

I've shopped a number of websites where I'm prompted with a "must buy a minimum of XX bottles to checkout from this site". (Sadly 3 of 5 websites did this to me this morning).  While I fully understand the implications of shipping wine, from a customer's perspective (especially a first time customer perspective), I only want one or two bottles to try - not 12. Careful thought should given to adding a 'forced quantity' friction point. It might be better to offer shipping discounts on 12 bottles rather than forcing people to order 12 bottles.

Required Registration

We are seeing more and more websites step away from the forced account creation on checkout, but there are still too many wine e-commerce sites out there that force users to register on checkout. Why would I want to choose a username and password, or worse yet try and remember my username and password from my last purchase?

Read stories such as the $300 million dollar button, or the report from Forresters entitled Required Registration Lowers Online Conversion Rates


Have you purchased wine from your website lately? What processes could be removed to make the experience better?  What is your pet-peeve when you are buying wine online?


El Jefe's Gravatar
El Jefe
@ Jan 18, 2010 at 7:43 PM
hmmmm.... Date of Birth? ;)

Also, what do you think of a "Copy Billing to Shipping" button so that the customer can change just the one or two fields that are different between billing and shipping (in my case, at least, changing the PO box to a physical street.)

Andrew's Gravatar
@ Jan 18, 2010 at 9:29 PM
Jeff - ah yes - buying wine online and the birthdate field. I think you will get your wish this year and this will be an optional field. I've had so many conversations with people around it, talked to the people at Ship Compliant, etc.

As for 'Copy Billing to Shipping' that is an interesting feature - 10.7% of your users have the same bill/ship city/state but different addresses and could possibly use a feature like that. (I would have guessed it was way lower - maybe you have a lot of twisted orders)

El Jefe's Gravatar
El Jefe
@ Jan 18, 2010 at 10:06 PM
10.7% of my users who complete an order ;) The fact there is also (currently) a birthdate field, and a phone number field, and an email field, make this feature compelling as well. Even if the city is different, often you are only changing the address, city, and zip.

Andrew's Gravatar
@ Jan 18, 2010 at 10:10 PM
Jeff - great points. BTW - you see the GetElastic blog today? Their A/B test on the one-page checkout just killed it. It's a great study on making the checkout more streamlined and have less friction points.

Howard Smith's Gravatar
Howard Smith
@ Feb 4, 2010 at 8:47 AM
Andrew, Under shipping, I think you should put Use My Billing Address instead of a just Billing Address...the latter caused me to pause to understand what you wanted here.

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