OneStepCheckout vs Magento’s Onepage Checkout – Short Case Study

steps

Last month I’ve seen one of our clients suffer from an unusually high checkout abandonment rate. I found out they installed a OneStepCheckout. We rolled up our sleeves and tested the OneStepCheckout extensions versus Magento’s default Onepage checkout. I can’t name the client or disclose more info than I did in below. Results? For me expected, for some, very surprising.

In this particular case Magento’s default Onepage Checkout brought almost 2 times more checkout successes than OneStepCheckout (sample size a bit over 200 transactions, ~2 weeks test period).

Magento industry is crazy about OneStepCheckout so much that they forget about the most important thing: always test everything. No case study is universally true – you have to test it on your own store, on your own customers. In this case, Magento’s checkout was almost 2 times better, but I’ve seen cases where it’s a completely different situation. You can’t just take a case from some other store and assume it will bring the same results for you.

Please note, I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy the OneStepCheckout. As the matter of fact, please DO buy it and test it to see if it performs better in your case, since even a small improvement on the checkout abandonment rate could return the investment on that extension pretty fast.

BTW. I can see I’m not the first to find this relatively surprising result, there is an article from Netmedia about it. I also see there are lots of troll comments on the article, possibly from the people that develop different onstepcheckout extensions. Troll comments on this blog post will not be tolerated.

OneStepCheckout and Onepage Checkout are not the only options

Don’t limit yourself to testing only these two options. FIrst of all, OneStepCheckout is not the only one step checkout extension for Magento. For example there is a GoMage LightCheckout which is totally worth checking out and there are quite a few more competitors out there.

Also you can test some other modifications of Magento’s default Onepage checkout, such as removing (in your case) unnecessary steps – I’ve seen this one often. You can also try and play around the first step, which is proven to be pretty problematic. I gave some interesting thoughts about improving Magento’s first step of the checkout based on a solid research by Jakob Nielsen in one of my older articles.

In his research, Jakob concluded that the first step of the checkout such as the one Magento’s Onepage checkout has is pretty confusing to the average user and based on a real people sitting down and trying to go through it on a pretty nice sample – they don’t read and they don’t know where to click:

They tend to:

  • Write down their e-mail and password and click “Continue” instead of log-in – they can even repeat this behavior without adjusting their strategy and clicking on another button several times and often give up
  • Write down their e-mail and password even though they are not registered user
  • Click on “Register” select box and then write their e-mail and password on the right thinking they are going to register with that e-mail now

That’s why I proposed one of the solutions for the first step you can test would be something like this:

There are several innovative approaches I’ve seen so far with combining cart and checkout into a single unit, but with little conversion rate and abandonment data, I can’t say if they actually worked well.

If you take anything home from this article, let it be: always test everything.

EDIT: I wrote some more on this topic after a few nice studies have been released and concluded that the number of checkout steps doesn’t really matter.


About Toni Anicic

eCommerce Consultant

SEO. Professional gaming. Home-brewed beer. Magento Certified Solution Specialist.

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29 comments

  1. Good comparison for estore checkouts. Conversion point of view, checkouts are the main factor which affects the sales. 70 percent of customers drops at the checkout carts due to their complexity. Simplified one rectify this problem. To know the differentiation between one step and one page checkouts. Read here: https://goo.gl/70kbY1

  2. HOW TO DISABLE ONESTEPCHECKOUT FOR MAGENTO MOBILE THEMES
    OneStepCheckout is a great extension for your desktop site, but it’s not compatible with our mobile theme and not a good user experience fro mobile either. To disable it just for the mobile theme

  3. Hello! Your conclusion that the number of checkout steps doesn’t matter is surprising. I used to think the opposite. I have one step checkout extension installed in my store (the one by Amasty http://amasty.com/single-step-checkout.html). I tested it in my store before final approve and the tests showed positive results.
    Anyway, I believe effectiveness of such extensions greatly depends on the industry and even geography, everything needs testing.

  4. You’re absolutely right. We’re merging from a old Joomla shop to a Magento shop. Also thought that Onestepcheckout would be heaven, but it performed far worse than the old crapy Joomla design. I guess there a two potential problems:

    1) Onestepcheckout is far from optimal for mobile devices
    2) Customers immediately see your shipping costs

    I would love a responsive checkout. I’ve seen the one by awesome checkout, but couldn’t find good examples.

  5. Hi there,
    I use a customized Go Mage One Step Checkout, and my theme is responsive now. I would like to know if there’s a way of leaving OneStepCheckout for DeskTop version and Magento Default flavor for mobile devices only. I am asking that, because OneStepCheckout on responsive theme for mobile devices with small screen looks bad.

  6. Do you have any thoughts on one step checkout module compared to Magento standard one step checkout in terms of performance (speed)? One step checkout modules usually cause a lot more overhead to the server since it does ajax requests every time customer changes his zip code, city, delivery method or payment method. Do you have any recommendations on which to use or how to improve the ajax loads?

  7. During i try to test one page checkout,i found an issue: sometimes, the account cannot be created successfully.
    but after i do browser history clearing, the account will be created successfully.
    why? Maybe is is result from browser history, including cache, cookies.
    However, i cannot reproduce this issue. it occurs sometimes.
    it reproduces on browser firefox, google chrome, IE.
    do you meet this problem while using one page checkout?

  8. Hi,

    Toni Anicic

    Can Guideline How to do this
    beginner to magento

    Tony Says –
    That’s why I proposed one of the solutions for the first step you can test would be something like this:

    please guide.

    Regards

    Prem

  9. Hi Tony,

    How can i add the create account form in magento onepage checkout?

  10. Hi Tony,

    Nice article. Just wanted to put my tip up here as well. The 1st step used by Magento is a bit confusing indeed. After doing some research on the net I’m using this free extension to make the check out process less confusing. I installed it right from the beginning of my store.

    http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/skip-checkout-step-1.html

    This extension doesn’t change the entire checkout process. Instead it only changes the 1st step to make it less confusing. So far i’m experiencing good results. We are only running a small hobby store, but up until now nearly none of my customers left during the checkout process.

    There are many ways to improve the checkout process, but my free extension tip maybe could help someone else as well.

  11. One of my clients found exactly the same results. He changed from a OneStep checkout back to the default Magento checkout and his cart abandonment rates went down (and thus sales went up!)

  12. @Diego,

    Yea, Magento calls it “Onepage” checkout as it loads steps with ajax, although the rest of the e-commerce industry usually calls it “accordion style checkout”.

    You should test which one works best for your audience.

  13. Hi Toni,

    Great article!!

    By the way, what do you mean when you say “Magento’s default Onepage Checkout”?

    The default checkout that I have, has six steps on 6 pages. Is this what you call Onepage?

    I will open my online store in a week and I am still debating whether I should use onestep checkout or not. I think I shouldn’t use it until I have enough data to compare with a previous scenario.

    Any advice will be appreciated.

    Thanks and congrats for your blog!

  14. There are lot of One Step Checkout Extension available on the market. Most of them are already good, and if you want to simplified checkout process for your customers. Try to go apptha one step checkout, I just installed that which help Customers can quickly fill in the personal information and payment method

  15. Thank you Toni for the post!

    We have clients who have both OneStepCheckout and GoMage LightCheckout. Strange as it may seem number of our clients, who are more satisfied with one step checkout from GoMage always increases.

    Of course as it was said before the best way is to test magento one step checkout just on the store and choose the most suitable one, but that is our statistics.

  16. Hi,

    Totally right, Many customer abandon the products in cart, just because they found it too complicated. The Conclusion is keep as simple as easy for everyone and make sure it works on all browsers.

  17. Hi Toni,

    Your report seems good but I had many clients who likes One Step Checkout for their customers.

    BOOMER is also absolutely right about irritating form refresh when you try to change the address values etc.. but my question is – why customer will change his city, state, or country without any reason? And I think the ratio of these type of customers very low as compared to customers who are familiar to online checkout.

    Thanks,
    Bhavesh
    I Love Magento

  18. The onestepcheckout module however breaks a lot of fundamentals of usability. For example, changing of a simple address or such causes the entire forward steps to refresh often losing pre-selected or pre-filled in form values. Its frustrating to me, but then again I’m not an average e-commerce consumer… and of course their own study is going to promote that their conversion rates are higher. I think what urkes me the most is the fact that autofill / autocomplete is disabled by default in Magento’s checkout, which makes zero sense to me. With all that said, I think every client should A/B test all possible checkout flows to ensure they are tailored to what keeps customers converting. No silver bullet module will ever do this.

  19. Hi Toni,

    I agree that it’s quite a big difference and it’s probably/largely due to changing the checkout.

    But still there might’ve been other factors influencing this that you easily overlook in an analytics program or that don’t even show up in such a program. Think about radio/tv advertisements, the weather, or maybe during the second test everyone got his paycheque or vacation money.

  20. Anton,

    There are LOTS of case studies that show better conversion using the OneStepCheckout, I didn’t deny that, as the matter of fact I even said it would be preferable if everyone tested on their own and buy one of the one step checkout extensions and see how it works for them 🙂

  21. If you already are referring to tests made 2 years back then refer to other and sunnier side as well 🙂 where results can be better:

    http://www.onestepcheckout.com/blog/2010/12/case-study-169-increase-in-conversions-after-changing-to-onestepcheckout/

    and don’t hesitate to reveal your client and exact test results for full transparency on such tests otherwise your blog post is just evil 🙂

    My hands on A/B testing experience tells me that in 90% of tested cases you get better out of the box conversion rate than with default bundled Magento checkout process.

    As you already said every client should decide based on real test data on their site.

  22. @Hans, Guido

    Very valid question. There was no time for A/B. It was simply “use one and then the other”, but since the traffic sources didn’t change and store has a high traffic, stable, always the same conversion rate, and considering the drastic difference (~27% proceed to checkout success vs ~53% proceed to checkout success) I’m not very concerned about the test validity. It means double the amount of money on the table, so it’s right 🙂

  23. Hi Toni,

    Great article, I’ve had a lot of discussion about this too ;).

    I do wonder how you’ve tested the different checkouts. Have you tested variant A for 2 weeks, switched to variant B and tested that for 2 weeks? Or were you able to perform a proper (but technically way more difficult in case of the Magento checkout) test by testing A and B simultaniously (presenting each variant randomly to different visitors).

    Thx!

    Guido

  24. Could you please inform us how you did this test? Did you use A/B testing? I’m just curious how you implemented it?
    That way I could reproduce it with one of my new clients who is wondering if his alternative checkout converts better then Magento standard.

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