9

I'm working on a new checkout flow. I'm wondering why most e-merchants ask for the billing address first instead of the shipping address.

People are more likely to understand shipping address than billing address. So why not put shipping the address first and then a tickbox to say that the billing address is the same?

Type of commerce: Apparel (Business to Consumer).

  • 4
    Where's your evidence that billing address is asked for first? My experience is that the opposite is true. For example: Amazon. – Fractional Jul 7 '14 at 15:04
  • 1
    A lot of sites ask for billing adress first (Nordstrom, toysrus, staples,Symantec...) For more examples: baymard.com/checkout-usability/benchmark/step-type/… According to you, there is no reason to put billing adress first ? What would be the best design ? – Jybz Jul 7 '14 at 15:55
  • 2
    For the sake of usability, I think no matter which one you decide to ask for first, it's wise to consider implementing a checkbox saying "Same as Billing Address" that will auto-fill the Shipping Address section of the form (or vice-versa, obviously). – Ben Harrison Feb 22 '17 at 13:51
11

The right choice might depend on your user base.

If it mostly consists of private residential customers, it is likely that they will not need to make any difference between both addresses and that their main concern will be the shipping address.

If it is mainly made of business customers, things can be different for at least two reasons :

  • the billing address is key for them to justify their purchase as a cost for their company
  • the billing address is unique in many cases although the purchases sometimes need to be shipped to various physical addresses.

You should therefore go for the sequence that makes most sense to your user base and start with a concern that makes most sense to them. Your suggestion looks spot on if your customers are mainly residential.

  • Thanks. As my customers are mainly residentials, I should only display shipping address (that make more sens to my customers) and totally avoid billing address or should I have to put a checkbox for the billing address ? – Jybz Jul 8 '14 at 15:07
  • 1
    I would not remove the billing address : e-commerce has to comply with trade laws so it is likely to be a requirement and some of your customers might use your site to make purchases and be willing to received a well-formed invoice with, in some cases, a billing address that will be different from the shipping address. To make it as smooth as possible, you might just use a tickbox that could be ticked by default. – Pierre Jul 8 '14 at 15:38
  • 3
    @Jybz Even as a consumer I often use different addresses for shipping and billing. The billing address is where I live, the shipping address my workplace since I'm at work, not at home where the shipment arrives. – CodesInChaos Jul 8 '14 at 16:30
  • @CodesInChaos Well,I just need your shipping adresse either way it's your workplace or homeplace in order to make the transaction? Your hompepage has only value for my CRM database ? – Jybz Jul 9 '14 at 12:26
  • 1
    @Jybz The billing address is for the invoice. If I buy something for personal use the invoice shouldn't have my company as recipient since I bought it, not the company. That difference can be important for accounting, taxation, debt collection and other legal reasons. For example Germany has a bunch of laws that protect private consumers that don't apply businesses. – CodesInChaos Jul 9 '14 at 12:34
8

One of the main reasons might be that a lot of companies use the Address Verification System to match the entered address against the cardholder's address (assuming a Credit/Debit Card payment takes place). In this case you'll need the billing address. So this is the address you need anyway - and in a lot of cases the billing address will match the shipping address, especially for non-B2B purchases.

Thus it's easier to ask for the address you definitely need first and then add the option to add an alternate shipping address. This way most users will only need to add one address.

This of course is only true if you

  • accept and encourage payments by Credit/Debit card and
  • have mostly users with matching billing/shipping addresses
  • I can't wait for electronic cash to exist in the USA. No more credit cards! – user67695 Feb 23 '17 at 16:30
2

Research-based recommendation: “Since more customers can relate to what a ‘Shipping address’ is, you should always ask if the ‘Billing address’ should be different from the ‘Shipping address’ and not the other way around”. Source: p. 10 in: Appleseed J., Holst C. (2017) E-Commerce Checkout Usability (Version 1.1.10), Copenhagen: Baymard Institute.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.