There is a common misconception among eCommerce store owners and merchants that the one-page checkout is the holy grail of checkouts and that it will address all checkout related abandoned cart issues. But on mobile, single-page checkout is not what it's cracked up to be. One would think that fewer steps would make it easier for the customer to check out, but that is not always the case. While the idea of single page checkout might sound appealing, it doesn’t solve all your problems. In fact, it has its own set of problems.

1. It’s easier to get lost

This is especially true on small screens. On phones, where there is heavy use of scrolling, it’s easy for users to get lost on a long checkout page.

2. Long forms are intimidating

Users who land on a long one-page checkout are likely to feel intimidated by the form length and abandon immediately. This is particularly heightened on mobile, where screens are smaller and user patience is shorter. Alternatively, the first page of a multi-page checkout will be one short, unintimidating form (see screenshot below), and the user is more likely to proceed.

8 Issues With One-Page Checkout vs Multi-Page Checkout

3. Latency to initial page-load

The first step of checkout is typically the largest exit point, so adding latency here can be particularly damaging. Including all content on one page will likely increase load time. Retailers report lengthy load times with one-page checkout.

Instead, build a few short, fast-loading pages.

4. Data collection issues

It’s more difficult to track funnel data: multi-page allows for easy use of funnels, where you can see at what point users are dropping off. There are ways around this with one-page checkout, but it adds complexity and ultimately the data will be less reliable.

5. Unclear error messaging

On one-page checkout, errors often trigger outside of the screen view. Real-time error detection can help combat this, but won’t solve it for every instance. A number of errors will only trigger upon form submission. We see this often, and there is a high chance of abandonment when a shopper simply can’t figure out what went wrong.

6. What about Accordion Style?

Sometimes accordion-style checkout is confused with one-page checkout. In the context of one-page checkout vs multi-page, accordion style checkouts are more similar to multi-page. However, the accordion-style requires vertical real-estate, which is particularly valuable on mobile. For this reason, we generally recommend a horizontal progress bar.

7. One-Page Checkout for Account Holders?

Logged-in users who have all required info stored on the site should go directly to the review page, similar to a one-page checkout. As long as you aren’t asking the users to fill in information, there’s no reason to make them go through each step.

No Magic Answer

Of course, every site is different and there is no magic number of checkout pages that should be applied to every e-commerce site. For some sites, it makes sense to present desktop checkout on a single-page but break into multiple simple pages on mobile.  If your checkout is exceedingly simple, one-page checkout may even be a good choice for both mobile and desktop. For most e-commerce sites, however, breaking steps up is beneficial.

Related Blog Posts:

The Great Debate: Single or Multi-Page eCommerce Checkout?

How to Create a Great Mobile Checkout Process