One-click checkout 101: A complete guide for businesses

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Stripe Checkout is a prebuilt payment form optimized for conversion. Embed Checkout into your website or direct customers to a Stripe-hosted page to easily and securely accept one-time payments or subscriptions.

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  1. Introduction
  2. What is one-click checkout?
  3. How does one-click checkout work?
  4. Is one-click checkout secure?
  5. What are the benefits of using one-click checkout?
    1. Efficient purchase experience
    2. Fewer abandoned baskets
    3. Brand recognition
    4. Website and browser compatibility
    5. More accurate ordering
    6. Support for smaller, more frequent purchases
  6. How to choose a one-click checkout solution

Basket abandonment is a persistent problem for online retailers, with some studies estimating that 70% of carts are abandoned before a purchase is made. Since every purchase matters to a business’s bottom line, retailers should examine all options for decreasing basket abandonment while offering customers a simple shopping experience that will bring them back.

One-click checkout may be that solution: a way for your business to encourage sales and fight basket abandonment simultaneously.

What’s in this article?

  • What is one-click checkout?
  • How does one-click checkout work?
  • Is one-click checkout secure?
  • What are the benefits of using one-click checkout?
  • How to choose a one-click checkout solution

What is one-click checkout?

One-click checkout is a function that allows customers to purchase items in their shopping basket with a single click. This streamlines the checkout experience by not requiring customers to manually input details – such as their name, email, payment information and shipping address – before completing the checkout process. One-click checkout gives customers a simple "single-click" experience.

For one-click checkout to work as intended, the customer must already have an account with the business’s payment processing service and a valid payment method on file. Once the customer logs in or is recognised by the payment processor as a returning customer, the one-click technology allows them to complete the purchase straight from the basket – without needing to input any additional information.

Amazon created one-click checkout, also called "1-click checkout", in 1999. Since then, it has been adopted by numerous payment processors including Stripe. Any customer who has an account with a payment processor that offers one-click checkout can visit the e-commerce website of any retailer that offers one-click checkout, log in and enjoy an easy, fast checkout experience.

How does one-click checkout work?

Although it varies slightly depending on the business and payment processor involved, one-click checkout generally works like this:

  1. When a customer checks out for the first time with an online business that offers one-click checkout, they must input the payment details for their credit card, debit card or bank account.
  2. The payment processor stores this payment method and attaches it to the customer’s account, which the customer can access in the future using their email address.
  3. When the customer makes a purchase with that retailer – or any other retailer that uses the same one-click checkout provider – the customer is recognised instantly and gains immediate access to their stored payment information, allowing them to complete transactions in a single click.

Let’s take Stripe as an example. A business using one-click payments with Link by Stripe on its e-commerce shop front gives customers a way to pay for purchases quickly and easily. Link is a reusable payment method with immediate notification that auto-fills customers’ payment and shipping details at check out. Customers store their payment information with the Link app and can reuse those saved payment details with any business that has Link enabled and take advantage of the one-click "shortcut" again.

Compare this to the old way of checking out when a customer had to create an individual account on every retail website they visited, type out their full shipping and payment information and then confirm it again before clicking the "pay now" button. And after that, an additional confirmation page or two may have popped up, giving the customer the opportunity to change their mind about the purchase or (worse still) forget to click that final confirmation button and abandon the purchase unintentionally.

The simpler one-click approach not only saves customers time but leaves fewer opportunities for the sale to fall through. With each page that must load in a checkout process, there’s a risk of error, internet disruption or loss of customer interest. A customer could assume mistakenly that the final basket-review page is the last step in the process and so not click the final confirmation button to complete the order.

When you add additional complications to the mix – such as payment pop-ups, extra card-verification forms and promotional upselling – it’s easy to understand why the cluttered checkouts of the past are quickly falling out of favour with customers. They want to get in, place their order and get on with their lives. One-click payments deliver on the efficient experience that online customers not only prefer but increasingly come to expect.

Is one-click checkout secure?

Since one-click checkout uses the technology offered by the payment processor, and not the retailer itself, its security levels match those of the processor. As a minimum, businesses can expect fraud protection and PCI-validation compliance, both available with Stripe’s Link solution.

What are the benefits of using one-click checkout?

With the numerous perks of one-click checkout, it’s easy to see why more retail sites are using it.

Efficient purchase experience

The most obvious benefit of one-click checkout is efficiency. Customers experience a simple payment process that takes them from "just browsing" to "got it" in fewer steps. Those who dislike filling out long forms with personal details and payment information will have fewer reasons to put off their purchases.

Fewer abandoned baskets

From the retailer’s perspective, one-click checkout helps complete more sales, lowering the basket abandonment rate and making customers happier with their overall purchase experience. Any company hoping to grow through low-investment means can prioritise one-click checkout to boost customer loyalty and improve sales completion rates.

How confident are we that one-click checkout can solve these problems? Let’s look at the data. In a survey of over 4,000 shoppers who have abandoned baskets in the past, the number one reason behind their decision was cost. But the number two reason, which resonated with 24% of respondents, was reluctance to create an account. One-click checkout eliminates that hassle for shoppers who already have an account with your one-click payment processor.

17% of customers abandoned baskets for a different but related reason: a complicated checkout process. One-click checkout solutions simplify the experience, decreasing the chance that customers will leave without making a purchase.

Brand recognition

For customers shopping at a retailer for the first time, seeing a one-click purchase button from a processor they recognise and trust puts them at ease. A customer might be reluctant to manually input their credit card information on an unfamiliar retail site – but they might have no problem clicking the Stripe button on the same retailer site, since they’ve trusted Stripe with their payment information in the past.

Website and browser compatibility

It can be frustrating to shop online from a new or unfamiliar device such as a partner’s phone or a public computer. To log in successfully, the customer must remember the retail account password, running the risk of a password reset email in the process – especially for sites they don’t often shop on.

One-click checkout eliminates these headaches because the customer has to verify their login with the payment processor – not the individual retailer. Plus, Stripe’s one-click checkout offers a simplified login option by requiring the shopper to enter the email associated with their Stripe account, which sends a text message to the account holder’s mobile device for easy verification.

With no need to remember logins or stay on the same device for future purchases, customers are free to shop any time, anywhere, with fewer difficulties.

More accurate ordering

Ordering errors, such as entering a credit card account number incorrectly or shipping a product to an address that doesn’t exist, are costly for businesses. By using a one-click checkout solution, the business ensures that the payment data is already on file. And since the card information has already been used successfully at least once before, it is likely to be authorised for subsequent transactions. Because Stripe’s one-click checkout is hosted externally, there’s a lower risk of technical errors on the retailer’s website preventing a successful checkout.

Combatting checkout errors may be much more important than most companies realise. In a 2021 report on European checkout trends, 42% of top businesses had three or more checkout errors related to inputting card information or displaying payment errors, 61% didn’t let customers auto-fill information and 10% didn’t support the popular "use billing address as shipping address" function. US checkout trends didn’t fare much better, with 46% of top businesses suffering from three or more card-input issues, 36% failing to format card numbers into blocks of four digits for easier input and 77% failing to allow customers to save payment information for future orders. One-click checkout eliminates many of these problems and requires minimal site design changes from businesses.

Support for smaller, more frequent purchases

Shoppers are sometimes hesitant to buy only one small item, even if that’s all they need at the moment. It may appear simpler to wait until there’s a larger order planned before going to the trouble of adding an item to the basket and checking out. The ease of one-click checkout means that customers will be less hesitant about making a larger number of small purchases.

One-click checkout also works for customers who complete a large order and then realise that they have forgotten an item. It’s easy to add the item to the basket and check out a small second order in one step.

How to choose a one-click checkout solution

Retailers have many options when choosing a payment processor that offers fast one-click checkout, but not all offer the same benefits.

Before choosing a processor, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the payment processor allow for checkout customisation?
  • Is the one-click solution widely recognised and trusted by customers?
  • Will the checkout solution support shopping from any device, even when the customer is not logged in?
  • Which security measures does the checkout solution offer?

Stripe users can access Link, which connects cardholder information seamlessly to any retailer that uses Stripe. With widespread brand recognition and the latest in card-security technology, Stripe helps you increase your credibility as a retailer, decrease basket abandonment and create an effortless checkout experience for your customers.

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