Cartimize – The Best WooCommerce Checkout Plugin Available In 2021?

Just before Christmas, I discovered a brand-new checkout solution for WooCommerce. It’s called Cartimize, and it has one of the boldest claims I’ve ever seen for a checkout plugin:

Implement The Best WooCommerce Checkout UX and gain as much as a 35% increase in conversion rate, in under 5 minutes.

I admit to initially being quite sceptical about this claim, as I’ve tried various other checkout plugins in the past. Woocommerce checkout plugins can vary wildly from off-canvas slideout checkouts, single page templates, expanding accordion checkouts, on product page modal checkouts, you name it, someone has built it.

To me, not many of these checkouts seem to offer any obvious improvement in user experience, and therefore I’ve tended to treat them as nothing more as a gimmick, and stuck with the stock Woocommerce offering.

The Cartimize plugin seems different however: It actually lists the issues with the current WooCommerce checkout on its own site, and uses that as its feature roadmap.

Who Are Cartimize?

From what I’ve learned, they are a development team led by founder Amrit Anandh. Since finding this plugin, I have emailed Amrit a couple if times with some user feedback and feature suggestions, and he’s been friendly and helpful.

The plugin is extremely new, and has around 100+ active installs right now. Judging by the quality of the plugin code, (super tidy) and with the help I’ve received from Amrit, I think good things are in store for the Cartimize team.

Fact: around 69% of people abandon your checkout.

Cartimize point this out in their sales copy, and after some Googling, it checks out.

Wikipedia lists the average rate as ~67.91%, and The Baymard Institute, the people behind 61,000+ hours of online user experience testing, come up with an average of 69.80%. I’d call that definitive.

Cartimize actually cite The Baymard Institutes research as the backbone for all of their UX and design decisions. The overall aim of the plugin seems to be to simplify the checkout process for the customer, by addressing some common gripes with the current WooCommerce checkout page.

They don’t actually pitch their plugin as a ‘one page’ woocommerce checkout plugin. The exact plugin name is ‘Linear Checkout for WooCommerce by Cartimize’. It’s definitely a good way to describe how the plugin behaves, and it makes the whole buying experience more seamless by holding your hand through the process.

The Plugin Demo

If you’re anything like me, the first thing you hunt for is a demo link. There’s an actual video demo on their website, which is what I watched before installing the plugin.

What stands out to me, is how uncluttered the whole process is from start to finish. Firstly, if you compare the number of form fields you see initally, with the standard WooCommerce checkout, its 9 fields vs WooCommere’s 12.

Not much difference there, but its when you start filling in each part that it becomes obvious. Once completed, each section ‘gets out of the way’. This means that the user only has to process the form in small chunks.

15 Things Wrong With The Current Woocommerce Checkout

Cartimize have dedicated a page on their site to list all the things they think are wrong with the current WooCommerce checkout. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, its their manifesto/roadmap of features:

  1. You have to enter your first name and last name in separate fields.
  2. Optional inputs presented as open text fields demand a disproportionate amount of attention.
  3. The optional and open second Address field introduces ambiguity.
  4. The City and State inputs are not auto-detected from the ZIP or postal codes entered by the shopper.
  5. There’s no way to alleviate privacy concerns by explaining why we ask for private information like a phone number.
  6. Field validation and error recovery experiences are very primitive.
  7. The user has to fill out the billing address first, the purpose of which may be ambiguous for the shopper.
  8. The billing address form is not associated with the payment section where it actually belongs.
  9. The shipping methods and payment options are trapped inside the order summary section, which makes absolutely no sense.
  10. The hierarchy of information within available shipping methods is confusing.
  11. The design of the selected options in the shipping method and payment options doesn’t clearly stand out from other options.
  12. The very distinct, logically-linear steps of the checkout flow are placed all over the page and do not follow any kind of logical order.
  13. The shopper is forced to evaluate if they need to create an account when it can clearly be done after they have finalized their purchase.
  14. Both the design and placement of the coupon code section demands needless attention encouraging users to go on a coupon hunting trip, significantly increasing the chances of them not returning to complete the purchase.
  15. The Thank you page does not present the right information in the right way to assure the shopper that the order has been placed successfully.

What Cartimize fixes so far:

About half of the 15 points have already been addressed, and I’m hopeful that future updates with go even further. The plugin ( as of January 17th 2020) is currently a very early release, only one minor version ahead of V1, but it shows such promise in the way it approaches these issues methodically.

First name & last name fields

Users think of their name as single entity, so they’ve combined the firstname / lastname fields into one.

Option fields hidden by default

They hide the vast majority of optional fields, to reduce clutter. For example, “address line 2” is hidden by default. In reality, most customers don’t know what should and shouldn’t be entered on lines 1 and 2 anyway.

Better form validation

On-the-fly form validation. Its 2021, so why should a user have to keep submitting the whole form to be told of any errors?

Contextual shipping & billing addresses

They moved the billing address to its logical place, alongside the payment method. E.g. when you are buying something online, you want to enter your ‘delivery’ address in order to actually get the thing you purchased. You just don’t naturally think of it as a ‘billing’ address.

If you buy something that is non-phyisical, ie. an ebook, audiobook or other digital download, you don’t get asked for your delivery address. This time you do get asked for a billing address. Makes more sense right?

Better looking shipping methods

The shipping methods are more concise, and the simple, multiple choice button approach is cleaner than the stock radio button section.

Shipping methods that are clearly presented

No coupon code field in your face

The coupon code has been moved to the end of the checkout process. The default checkout puts it slap-bang right at the top of the checkout flow.

Whats the first thing a user does when they see a coupon? They pause the checkout process, and hit Google in search of a code. This diversion from the checkout flow is a contributing factor to those 69% of online shoppers who bail out.

Watch This Space

It looks to me as if Cartimize have clearly defined goals. On their site there is mention of a Pro version of the plugin, which is due sometime in the next few months.

This makes perfect sense, and will hopefully help fund the project and make it more sustainable long term. As a plugin developer myself, I appreciate how much time and effort goes into creating and supporting plugins, so I’d love to see this project gain more traction.

Last week I installed the Cartimize plugin on my wife’s business website https://surrendertohappiness.com and I’ve already seen several transactions sales come through it.

Its too early to tell whether or not it has made a difference to the overall conversion rate, but I am confident that by resolving some of the key problems with the standard WooCommerce checkout, my analytics data will confirm that I made the right decision.

You can try the cartimize checkout plugin out for yourself by either going to straight their site at https://cartimize.com, or you can grab it straight from the WordPress plugin repository here, for free. https://wordpress.org/plugins/linear-checkout-for-woo-by-cartimize/

Examples

West Country Fires

This is a refresh of the homepage, header & footer as an interim project until they have their site rebuilt. It uses a CSS3 and Flexbox based template, built using a BEM component based approach.

https://westcountryfires.co.uk/

HAB Direct

A WooCommerce site built using a component based BEM approach. The site build was coupled with an improved content strategy and restructuring of their Google Ads campaign.

https://www.habdirect.co.uk

Love Underdogs

A dog adoption website & application built using a headless Laravel 5 application which powers with a VueJS front-end interface.

https://www.loveunderdogs.org/

Console Deals UK

This site is built upon a modern MVC based PHP framework and uses CSS3 Flexbox page layouts. I was responsible for adding the Accessories & Advice sections of the site.

https://www.console-deals.com/

WP Custom Author URL

This plugin will allow you to choose a custom URL for your author links.
This can be useful if you want to link to your own Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media profile.

It currently has 2000+ downloads and 700+ active installs.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-custom-author-url

Woo Custom Empty Price

I built this plugin to fill a specific need and has gained some traction on the WordPress plugin respository recently. It allows you to add custom HTML in place of the empty price on a WooCommerce single product.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/woo-custom-empty-price/

WP Dev Flag

This plugin makes it easy to distinguish between your local development site, and your live site.

I created this because I often use a local duplicate of my live site, for development, with the same DB, and the same URL.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-dev-flag/

How to add a new country to WooCommerce

This is a quick post, but I wanted to share it as it recently came in very handy. I had a complaint from a customer who was trying to buy something to ship to the Canary Islands but couldn’t find it in the list of countries in WooCommerce.

But the Canary Islands aren’t a country…

Before I continue, let me point out that the Canary Islands are not technically a country, but an autonomous community of Spain. So says Wikipedia:

DHL also make their own laws….

The Canary Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Morocco. They are an autonomous community of Spain (they make their own laws). …

Wikipedia

To demonstrate this code snippet, I’ll just go along with DHL and pretend that this is a real country. As you can see here, it’s quite a hot topic: https://canaryislandsisnotspain.wordpress.com/

The code snippet

I’m not taking any credit for this code whatsoever, as I pulled it directly from the WooCommerce docs, but here it is ( ever so slightly modified ):

/** START: ADDING CANARY ISLANDS TO SHIPPING */

add_filter( 'woocommerce_countries', 'chrisjallen_add_my_country' );

function chrisjallen_add_my_country( $countries ) {
	$new_countries = array(
	'IC' => __( 'Canary Islands', 'woocommerce' ),
);

return array_merge( $countries, $new_countries );
}

add_filter( 'woocommerce_continents', 'chrisjallen_add_my_country_to_continents' );

function chrisjallen_add_my_country_to_continents( $continents ) {
	$continents['EU']['countries'][] = 'IC';
	return $continents;
}

/*END: ADDING CANARY ISLANDS TO SHIPPING */

The code uses two filters, woocommerce_countries & woocommerce_continents. This ensures that WooCommerce can correctly include this new country in all places where it might be needed by third-party plugins. For example, in a DHL shipping plugin.

You’ll notice I added the country code of IC, but you should take your country code from the standard ISO 3166 list.

Again, it’s a bad example for me to use the Canaries! The country code I used is DHL’s own special creation, just for their benefit. Since I don’t intend to use the canaries on any other plugins, it worked fine for me.

A quick test

Once you’ve added the country code to either your own plugin, or functions.php, you should be able to see the new ‘country’ in your basket country dropdown, and also in your checkout page country dropdown.

Here’s an example of what it looks like on the website in question. If you find this useful, ( like the guy in the Canary Islands did ) then tweet me or leave a comment.

Woo Custom Empty Price – Add your own call to action when your product has no price

Selling ‘offline’ products with WooCommerce

In place of a price, I added a call to action box.

One of the e-commerce websites I look after sells a lot of heavy-duty equipment that requires installation by a specialist. Because I have no price set on some of the products, I need to show a call to action instead. This is purely for the purpose of generating leads.

Standard WooCommerce behaviour for a product with no price is to hide the add to cart button. Because of this, I had to build a plugin to add in a call-to-action box.

Continue reading “Woo Custom Empty Price – Add your own call to action when your product has no price”

WP Dev Flag – How to tell your WordPress Dev from your Production

Image courtesy of localbyflywheel.com

Ever since I managed to switch all my websites to WordPress, I’ve greatly simplified my local development setup. I don’t need multiple vagrant boxes or docker machines anymore, so for the last 12 months or so, I’ve been running all my local WordPress sites on Local by Flywheel.

Continue reading “WP Dev Flag – How to tell your WordPress Dev from your Production”

How To Customise Your WordPress Author URL – The super-easy way.

A friend of mine, Mike ( who blogs about old cameras amongst other things over at https://www.sgtberbatov.com/ ) came to me with an annoying niggle about his WordPress blog.

He showed me that his author pages had been indexed by Google, and if he did a site:sgtberbatov.com, it was listing all his author profiles in the search engine results, along with his admin username. I had a think about this and after a quick scan on WordPress.org, I realised there was no plugin available that allows you to hide your author URLs. The closest I found was something that allows you to edit your author URL slug. So…

Continue reading “How To Customise Your WordPress Author URL – The super-easy way.”