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Why Different Shopping Channels Require Different Checkout Experiences



How customers engage with brands across different channels should also inform how they check out in each of those channels. Using the same checkout experience across channels can frustrate customers and cut into revenues. 

Consider these stats: 

Checkout experiences that are custom designed for the channel people are purchasing in can address these challenges directly. An API-driven checkout in a headless architecture means brands can quickly implement any experience they want while maintaining a unified view of customer data — all of which can drive increased conversion rates. 

Headless checkouts make different checkout experiences possible 

With headless checkout, brands don’t have to serve up the same experience in every channel. 

But what is headless? The concept of headless commerce is gaining momentum among leading retailers. It simply means separating the consumer-facing user interface — often referred to as the head — from the backend, or commerce layer, of an ecommerce platform. 

By making commerce functionality, such as checkout, independent from the platform, it’s now possible to put your checkout anywhere and transform any digital user experience into a unified transaction experience. 

What does this mean for brands? They are no longer limited to selling from a website, or hamstrung by disconnected online and offline user experiences. Retailers can create shoppable moments in any digital channel, without having to build or modify backend functionality to cater to it, or needing to migrate to a new platform entirely. 

Bold’s API-driven checkout experience as part of a headless commerce approach allows brands to design different checkout experiences for each channel. Brands can:

  • Customize the look, flow, and functionality of a checkout experience or pick from one of our pre-built templates.
  • Provide a branded look and feel throughout the checkout.
  • Improve checkout conversions with a one-page or multi-page checkout. 
  • A/B test to see which checkout experience is most effective in each channel.

With a headless checkout, not only can brands easily build a variety of checkout experiences, it also connects the customer journeys across all channels unifying a brand’s record of each customer, which improves the omnichannel experience.


How different checkout experiences solve barriers to shopping 

When shoppers arrive at your ecommerce store to purchase products or services, they expect personalization throughout their interactions — with multiple, personalized touchpoints. A shopper arriving through social media will have different expectations than a wholesale buyer making a large purchase through your website. Regardless of expectations, every shopper needs to go through your checkout flow to complete their purchase. That’s why it’s so important to develop different flows to optimize conversions. 

The most obvious example is designing a checkout flow by device type. Shoppers on mobile devices won’t want to fill out multiple data fields to complete their purchase. So your checkout experience needs to be different from the desktop experience with fewer data fields or even a one-click checkout directly from a product page for quick impulse shopping.

But today’s retailers are dealing with many more layers of complexity than only desktop versus mobile shoppers. Here are six situations where a customized checkout experience can reduce buying friction:

  • Promotions: Discounts, last minute sales and timed promotions are all part of today’s modern ecommerce pricing strategies. Many leading retailers will have multiple versions of these types of promotions running at the same time. This can lead to hundreds of permutations of prices for the same item depending on codes used, number of items purchased or time of purchase. A brand’s checkout needs the ability to customize prices with consistent business logic to ensure prices are right every time or a customer might skip out on the purchase. In fact, studies have found that 46 percent of shoppers will abandon a cart when a discount code does not work.
  • Different pricing across geographies: For brands that offer different prices depending on the location a product is sold in or shipped to, the checkout must provide the correct price for that customer. It also must display the taxes, any eco fees and shipping charges that are applicable for that shopper. This can reduce the risk of customers abandoning their cart at the end of the process when their costs increase after entering their shipping information.
  • B2B customer pricing: Brands that sell wholesale can offer different prices for the exact same product to a mix of customers or customer segments. A checkout unique flow should be designed for wholesale buyers to reduce steps and include their customer-specific pricing, any private label credit card or loyalty program functionality.
  • Shipping options: Shoppers now want more ways to pick up their products and a checkout flow can be designed to offer different options like buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), ship-to-store for pickup, pick up in a specific location or others. This flexibility in a checkout can lead to higher conversion rates by increasing inventory availability and improving the shopping experience for customers.
  • Loyalty programs: Bold recently worked with Staples to improve their checkout experience, which included enabling the continuity of their Air Miles program across all shopping channels so customers can collect points for their purchases online. This provided Staples with valuable customer analytics they could use to produce actionable insights for online purchases.
  • In-store kiosk self checkout: A recent survey found that 60 percent of U.S. respondents said they prefer self-checkouts over store associates if given an option. But a bad self-checkout experience can turn off customers. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said a self-checkout kiosk has failed when using it. With a streamlined, custom checkout flow for in-store kiosks, a brand can surprise and delight customers making it faster, more convenient and memorable than waiting in line.  

Tomorrow’s checkouts experiences are possible today

A headless checkout is foundational to bringing commerce to new channels, such as video, voice, social, augmented reality, and more. Customers are already using voice commerce to order groceries. They want to buy outfits while streaming their favorite shows. Or have their smart washing machine order more fabric softener when it's running low. 

Each of these options require a unique checkout flow to maximize conversions. Creating a checkout experience that caters directly to the channel where a consumer is browsing will enable a customer to complete a purchase when they’re most engaged with a product.

To provide insights for retail leaders, Bold Commerce sponsored an in-depth RSR study into how enterprise brands are responding to the unforeseen growth and paradigm shifts in the world of ecommerce.


This originally appeared on Bold Commerce and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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