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I am trying to do what I can to reduce the steps of ordering online. Now I have it down to two steps. As soon as someone clicks to the cart to pay it goes to:

  1. Check the cart contents, edit quantity, remove items.

  2. Address, billing details and payment details then order.

I was thinking about consolidating these two pages, and having the cart contents in with the payment and shipping info, just as one page. Would this be too overwhelming for the visitor on one page, or would it help them to be be able to see their and adjust their cart contents on the same page? I often see visitors clicking back from the payment page to the cart page, and can cause abandonment. So would love to hear people's thoughts and experience.

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    What is your motivation for wanting to reduce it even further? Usability testing feedback? Analytics? How do you know what you currently have isn't working? – JonW Dec 18 '14 at 17:36
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    Amazon got it down to one click. Then patented it. THOSE JERKS. – DA01 Dec 18 '14 at 18:02
  • @DA01 Really a patent? – paparazzo Dec 18 '14 at 18:14
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    @Blam en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click#Patent – DA01 Dec 18 '14 at 18:18
  • I can beat Amazon with Hover to Purchase – DaveAlger Dec 18 '14 at 18:21
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Your goal is a good one.

In the e-comm space, it's generally accepted that more page loads will result in less customers at the end of the funnel. The funnel is a cruel master.

But there's a catch

Your question hints at the fact that a shorter solution must also be a good one. You can't just cram a page full of info and declare "look, there's less pages now!" The workflow has to make sense, it has to be painless. Depending on your product and the associated logistics, a one page solution might be unreasonable. But, let's assume it's not ...

Progressive disclosure

The best solution is to have asynchronous loading of fields/modules within the page. Walk the customer through the same basic workflow, but as they complete a step you'll reveal the next (hidden behind a clue until the time is right).

One helpful tool for the customer in such a progressive page is a floating summary box to one side. Depending on average item count, the page can get deep and you don't want them scrolling around to check totals.

I haven't bought from their store in a while, but Apple used to do this well.

Even more shorter

Once you get all that right, you might have another opportunity waiting: the cart. Does it really need to have a page? Could it just be a drop in panel anchored in the site header? If you go that route, you give the user the convenience of checking their cart contents at any time from any page. When they're ready to checkout, just click the button and jump right into that single page!

The confirmation

Don't forget to close with a dedicated confirmation. Many users still want to save these or print them (despite the email confirm you'll no likely send within minutes). That's a nice opportunity to show a little customer appreciation and maybe even some social sharing.

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  • I agree, I am using ajax where I can. The header already has cart contents, but I was considering removing that from this page, as to not distract the visitor to go to any other page, and make sure they stay on the payment page and make that order. I like the idea of the progress bar. But its just 3 stages 1. Cart Contents (edit/remove) 2. Shipping & Billing Address, 3. Credit Card details. And of course the order button. – Source Dec 19 '14 at 3:59
  • A progress bar is still a good idea, to reinforce the brevity. But I didn't say anything about progress bars. Perhaps I didn't clearly explain the summary box idea: it's a running total of charges (and possibly logistics info). – plainclothes Dec 19 '14 at 20:56

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