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:
- You have to enter your first name and last name in separate fields.
- Optional inputs presented as open text fields demand a disproportionate amount of attention.
- The optional and open second Address field introduces ambiguity.
- The City and State inputs are not auto-detected from the ZIP or postal codes entered by the shopper.
- There’s no way to alleviate privacy concerns by explaining why we ask for private information like a phone number.
- Field validation and error recovery experiences are very primitive.
- The user has to fill out the billing address first, the purpose of which may be ambiguous for the shopper.
- The billing address form is not associated with the payment section where it actually belongs.
- The shipping methods and payment options are trapped inside the order summary section, which makes absolutely no sense.
- The hierarchy of information within available shipping methods is confusing.
- The design of the selected options in the shipping method and payment options doesn’t clearly stand out from other options.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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/
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