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ACE99

Checkout Proceedure

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I've been running an OSC store with over 70 different contributions for over a year now. Almost everything in OSC can be modified to create an extremely professional and user-friendly site. However, my biggest gripe with OSC (and where I feel OSC falls short) is in the entire checkout process.

 

New online stores are masking their account creation by having customers just enter an email address and having the shipping, payment and other checkout processes all on one page. I think this is where OSC needs to go.

 

The current OSC checkout requires way to many steps, and I've lost many customers who do not want to create an account. I think on my current store users have to go through almost 7 pages (starting with the login screen and ending with the confirmation page) before checkout is done. Compare that with overstock.com's 3 pages. And notice on overstock that the email and password are entered first! It's obvious that the understanding of consumer online behavior has advanced significantly over the past few years, and web developers realize that customers want to checkout as quickly and as easy as possible.

 

My proposal is to revamp the osc checkout system. I would like to put all of the shipping, payment options, and address info on one checkout page. I'd also like to get the checkout down to 3 steps, and hide the account creation process so it becomes as suttle as possible. We need users to create accounts, and so I don't think a guest account contribution is the answer. We just need to make the checkout easier and more user friendly.

 

I've been working with OSC for over a year now, but I'm no expert. I'm also still learning PHP. If anyone would like to help me with this or if any of you have suggestions for how this checkout should function, please post here!

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I have a customer who wants that for PayPal . Driving me nutso. Anything I can do to help let me know.

 

Great Idea.

 

TJ

 

I'm also thinking about implementing a 1-click to checkout feature.

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Hmm, I maybe I am missing something unless our including "change shipping or billing address' pages. I count 4 steps/pages.

 

1. Enter your persoanl info, click continue.

2. Select shipping method, click continue.

3. Select payment option, click continue.

4. Review your order information, click continue.. Done.

 

Are you also including the change shipping or billing address's in your statement? How often do you think those pages are used? I think a check here box would be good and include those two pages onto one page, and that page would be where you first input your personal information. But its still a 4 step process.

 

That really isnt so bad and it lays out the whole process so its real easy to follow. Step by Step, preventing you from making any mistakes and reasuring you that you didn't. People like and appreciate that whether they think they do or not ;).

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Existing Customer:

 

Put product in cart.

Click checkout (1 click)

Login , click continue (2 clicks)

Choose shipping methind, click next (3 clicks)

Choose payment method, click next (4 clicks)

Summary page, click next (5 clicks)

Checkout Success, click next (6 clicks)

 

6 clicks to checkout is 3 too many.

 

New Customer:

 

Put product in cart.

Click checkout (1 click)

Create Account , click continue (2 clicks)

Account Created Page (3 clicks)

Choose shipping methind, click next (4 clicks)

Choose payment method, click next (5 clicks)

Summary page, click next (6 clicks)

Checkout Success, click next (7 clicks)

 

7 clicks for a new customer is outrageous.

 

I've been working on a 3 click checkout, it's almost complete - when it is, I'll release it.

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An example of what I am working on is here. I'm afraid it isn't going to work though.

 

http://express-engraving.com/login.php

 

 

Have to bypass

 

create_account_success.php

checkout_shipping.php

checkout_payment.php

checkout_confirmation.php

 

Can this even be done?

 

Thanks, hope to see your solution - soon!

 

TJ

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New Customer:

 

Put product in cart.

Click checkout (1 click)

Create Account , click continue (2 clicks)

Account Created Page (3 clicks)

Choose shipping methind, click next (4 clicks)

Choose payment method, click next (5 clicks)

Summary page, click next (6 clicks)

Checkout Success, click next (7 clicks)

 

7 clicks for a new customer is outrageous.

 

I've been working on a 3 click checkout, it's almost complete - when it is, I'll release it.

 

Burt, I agree with you. Seven clicks is outrageous. I emailed the OSC team and I think they're going to start their own thread soon about revamping the shopping cart. I really hope it's sooner rather than later. Right now I'm just doing some research on several of the top online stores to look for the best formula and layout.

 

I think most online stores are heading for a three-step checkout, and I believe that if the checkout page (putting all the steps on one page) is designed correctly, it can be as easy and straightforward as the current step-by-step process.

 

Burt, could you tell me more about your current project? How are user accounts and passwords created? How is the layout?

 

Like I mentioned above, I'm leaning toward a layout similar to Overstock, though I'm still doing more research. I think we can take all of the fields from the current OSC step-by-step process and put them all on one page. The user's account will be created when the user inputs their shipping info. There will be a checkbox under the billing area to use the same data as used for shipping. All mods should work with this layout, as it only displays all the info at once, instead of step-by-step. Also, I'd like to see the entire page auto-populated when a return customer checks out.

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My solution is as follows:

 

Product in Cart. Clicks checkout (1st click), this leads to create_account/payment page where the buyer input Customer Details on the standard create_account form [this form also has a checkbox to indicate whether or not this is the shipping address as well as "choose payment method"], click continue (2nd click) which leads to checkout confirmation [exactly as the page is now]. Click continue (3rd click), order is written to database and person is transferred to the "home page", but the home page also has a message "thank you for purchasing at XYZ Store, your order will ship in X days"...

 

This makes sense for my needs. It might not make sense for every store.

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By the way, the method I mentioned above is more like a 2-step process.

 

Another common option is a 3-step process:

 

From pressing the checkout button in the cart, a new customer is taken right to the shipping page, and here is the progression:

 

1. Shipping (contains form to fill out address for shipping and billing (with again an option to use the same address for billing as for shipping); an account is being created but customer doesn't know it. Shipping page also contains a box to the top right of the page where return customers can login, therefore combining the shipping and login screens. See homedepot.com for a good example)

 

2. Payment (just the general credit card page)

 

3. Confirmation

 

I actually like this layout. It gets rid of OSC's login screen, account creation page, and account success page, and most importantly, it gives the customer the feel of checking out without creating an account.

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Product in Cart. Clicks checkout (1st click), this leads to create_account/payment page where the buyer input Customer Details on the standard create_account form [this form also has a checkbox to indicate whether or not this is the shipping address as well as "choose payment method"], click continue (2nd click) which leads to checkout confirmation [exactly as the page is now]. Click continue (3rd click), order is written to database and person is transferred to the "home page", but the home page also has a message "thank you for purchasing at XYZ Store, your order will ship in X days"...

 

Do you have some place where the customer can select different shipping options?

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In my system, the answer is no. Shipping always defaults to the lowest cost method (assuming there are multiple methods).

 

The only way to change the shipping method (and therefore the shipping cost) is to press "edit" when on the checkout_confirmation page.

 

This suits my site perfectly, but may not suit all sites.

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Why not incoporate the shipping onto the shopping cart page? You can house a dropdown menu, obviously if you use UPS XML or someother real time quotes, you will need to clean up the text so your drop down box doesn't span the screen LOL. But it should work.

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A good idea, but how can you set shipping if you do not know where the product is being shipped to? As shopping_cart is before the checkout it's not possible to determine (unless customer is logged in already)...

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Add in the ship in cart contribution. Then modify the layout and code to house the shopping cart. Put in a box: Enter your zipcode here, then upon enter/update, the page is refreshed with options in the dropdown box. They pick there option and then add it to there seesion so when they do login, if not already, it will calculate the correct shipping method. Obviously you will hide the checkout button until they put in there zipcode, I know it may add another step but it's a pretty small one. Also I guess you would need to add in a country selector to if you shipped worldwide ;)

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That's an idea - but it adds complexity back into the checkout, which is what I (personally) am trying to get away from...

 

When I get mine code completed, I'll release it and then maybe it can be hacked about by others to get the extra functionality required?

 

Best of both worlds then :D

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True, just offering a suggestion. I don't think the checkout process really ins't that bad. I offer pwa, and its just an add to cart, checkout, personal info, shipping, payment, done. All you elimanated was the shipping page. I guess if you didn't offer pwa then it would be feasible. I dunno just thinking out loud :P

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I'm also thinking about implementing a 1-click to checkout feature.

 

 

While I feel the system can be simplified, I would warn people about 1-click checkout systems. This is patented by Amazon.com and they are quite aggressive in protecting that market advantage.

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I have also been working on simplifying the checkout for our sites. This is the current solution we came up with that I have nearly implemented.

 

The process is the same for both new & returning customers. It may seem a little complicated on the back-end & scripting required, but any complications are only put in place to simplify the font-end for the user.

 

Click Checkout

  • Address Page
     
  • Customer fills in their shipping & billing address, with an option to check that their billing address & shipping address are the same.
     
  • If the cart contains only virtual products, no shipping address input is shown or processed.
     
  • Also has an E-Mail address input for their contact email.
    • check if a new or returning customer by E-Mail address
       
    • In the background, an "account" is created if it is a new customer & a password to access their order history is generated and emailed to them
       
    • In this fashion, "customer accounts" are retained on the back-end, but virtually eliminated on the front-end
      • Address Book, Customer Address (whatever that was even for anyways), etc are all eliminated from the customer account.
         
      • All that remains of the customer's account is an order history, changing of their name (as it displays on the website), changing of their E-mail address, changing of their password, & changing subscriptions & notifications.

    [*]If cart has only virtual products, when submitted they are sent to the Confirm/Payment Page; else they are sent to the Shipping Page

  • Shipping Page
  • If shipping is free (the free shipping from the ot_shipping module) - or - if there is only one shipping method to pick from (i.e., nothing to pick really), this is automatically set as the shipping, and the customer is redirected to the next page
  • Customer picks the shipping option & on submit is sent to the Confirm/Payment Page

  • Confirm/Payment Page
  • This page displays a summary of the order w/ the edit links. The top half is very similar to the checkout_confirmation page.
  • Below the order summary, is the payment input. This is similar to the payment page, in that it has the payment options to pick from
  • Directly below that is the box for order comments
  • On submit, the order is processed

Done!

 

Now I certainly don't declare this is the best solution, but is just what I came up with. The above may be a little confusing, so here are a couple scenarios:

 

1. A customer buys only virtual products (downloads or gift certificates for example):

- click checkout

- fill in billing address & email address; click continue

- review order; fill in payment method info; click continue

- done

 

2. A customer buys products that need shipped, but there is only one shipping option available:

- click checkout

- fill in shipping address, billing address, & email address; click continue

- review order; fill in payment method info; click continue

- done

 

3. A customers buys products that need shipped and there are some shipping options to pick from:

- click checkout

- fill in shipping address, billing address, & email address; click continue

- choose shipping method; click continue

- review order; fill in payment method info; click continue

- done

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Totally agree with all the comments in this thread. The checkout procedure is definitely something the osCommerce team seriously needs to address.

 

I played around with some code a few months ago for a shop design for a florist and became frustrated, eventually not bothering because of time constraints.

 

I would now be seriously interested in helping out with a contribution addressing this issue.

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Interesting. Josh, in your scenarios, the client *always* fills out the address/email no matter if they have previously purchased...have I got that right?

 

In that case, there is no need for a login page at all --> seeing possibilities...you could also (in their order email) have a paragraph somewhat like

thank you for your order, if you wish to order again in the future, you may use our quick checkout at site.com/login.php
which would tie in quite nicely perhaps?

 

Interesting, interesting...your comments have made me rethink my own solution...

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While I feel the system can be simplified, I would warn people about 1-click checkout systems. This is patented by Amazon.com and they are quite aggressive in protecting that market advantage.
Not a lawyer, but as long as you do not copy their system, I do not think an idea can be copywrited. As for a process, I am not sure that a one click checkout can be copywrited (at least in Canada), since the underlying logic from an osc site and what amazon uses are totally different.

 

I have yet to hear of claims being awarded and claims being given to companies on the net who make up their own logic to simulate their own business flow. And I do not think that one click would be something which they could argue is solely unique to them alone in all businesses either on or off the net.

 

cheers,

 

Peter M.

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Interesting. Josh, in your scenarios, the client *always* fills out the address/email no matter if they have previously purchased...have I got that right?

 

In that case, there is no need for a login page at all --> seeing possibilities...you could also (in their order email) have a paragraph somewhat like

 

"thank you for your order, if you wish to order again in the future, you may use our quick checkout at site.com/login.php"

 

which would tie in quite nicely perhaps?

 

Interesting, interesting...your comments have made me rethink my own solution...

 

Josh (and Burt), I like these ideas as well. Josh, I think your layout is very interesting. I think it would work nicely. I'm happy to see that others in the OSC community have been working on a newer system.

 

I would, however, like to see the shipping, billing, and maybe even the payment info filled in automatically if the customer returns and does a login. My suggestion to simplify this is to add a small login box in the top right corner (out of the way) on the first page of the checkout (in your case it would be the "address page"). Then if a customer wanted to, they could login and the form would refresh, filling in all of the info. I think if the box was designed well and the wording was well done, it would be inconspicuous and yet helpful for those who want to take advantage of it.

 

You've got me thinking...

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Not a lawyer, but as long as you do not copy their system, I do not think an idea can be copywrited.  As for a process, I am not sure that a one click checkout can be copywrited (at least in Canada), since the underlying logic from an osc site and what amazon uses are totally different.

 

well first, no an idea cannot be copyrighted. But secondly, we're not talking about copyrights. Amazon.com has a patent for a one click checkout system. That effectively gives them a monopoly on the "one click checkout market" for 17 years from when they originally filed the patent. I believe the patent is on the process, which you very much can patent a process for doing something (I think alot of patents are about process).

 

Whether or not their patent is valid is completely irrelevant, because I doubt anyone here has the $$$ and time to take on Amazon.com. The Apple online store uses a one click checkout, but they have licensed the right to use such a system from Amazon.com. Amazon sued Barnes & Noble back in 1999... it was settled in 2002 or 2003 I think, but I don't know the terms of the settlement as they were not disclosed.

 

As a side note, there are a lot of ridiculous patents granted. They are all public record, so if you ever have alot of free time, just go through the US patent database and have a good laugh... Here is one for example: somebody was actually granted a patent on the process of swinging someone on a swing. lol.. what the purpose of trying to get such a patent would be I dunno, but someone there could be some guy with a legal right to stop kids on a playground from swinging each other unless they pay up... hahaha

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Interesting.  Josh, in your scenarios, the client *always* fills out the address/email no matter if they have previously purchased...have I got that right?

 

Yes that is right. I did this because most of our customers are new customers, and with a little back-end coding, you can use the email address to record the order to the proper customer account for returning users.

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Not a lawyer, but as long as you do not copy their system, I do not think an idea can be copywrited.  As for a process, I am not sure that a one click checkout can be copywrited (at least in Canada), since the underlying logic from an osc site and what amazon uses are totally different.

 

It isn't copyrighted. It is patented. Patenting covers the intellectual property of a process.

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