This article was written in 2013. It might or it might not be outdated. And it could be that the layout breaks. If that’s the case please let me know.
I’m not a specialist on payment flows, but I am lazy and I often buy stuff on the web. So I think I’m qualified to have an opinion about how a good check-out flow should work. I think the key to a good flow is filling out as few forms fields as possible. And once you’ve achieved that, remove even more form fields. My friend Peet Sneekes told me that Sugru has a
very enjoyable, smart, usable and all together lovely (mobile) ordering flow. I needed a fresh load of Sugru, so I tested the Sugru checkout flow with my iPod Touch.
There are definitely some friendly details. For instance, when you activate an add to cart button a popup appears. The copy in this popup is enthusiastic and clever. It says
Great! Here’s your shopping basket and it gives you the choice to either go to checkout, or to continue shopping. Very useful and to the point.
The checkout flow
The checkout flow itself has some good stuff too. They somehow guessed the country I live in correctly, and immediately showed me the cost of delivery. So far so good. From there on the experience is sometimes average, and sometimes excellent. Much room for some simple improvements, and a more drastic one. First the drastic one.
Filling in an address is a lot of work.
People don’t want to fill in their address. So if they don’t have to, don’t ask them to. But Vasilis, you think, Sugru needs your address because they have to send you physical stuff. And that’s right. But that doesn’t mean I have to fill it in: Paypal has my address. So if I select Paypal as my payment method, I don’t have to fill in my address. It would be logical to first ask me how I want to pay. If I select Credit Card, I have to fill out the whole form. But if I select Paypal I would only have to review my address after I’ve gone through the Paypal flow. That’s four fields that I don’t have to fill out. On a phone with a crappy touch resolution this might make the difference between buying Sugru and giving up. I don’t understand why nobody ever does that. Is it impossible maybe?
Filling in a form should be easy
Now, if we really need to fill out all these form fields, we want to make sure they are as easy as possible to fill in. There is room for improvement here. First of all, on a small screen, I couldn’t see the labels for the fields I had to fill in. This is very easy to solve: make sure that the labels are placed above the fields, and not next to it. This is especially handy on small screens. Another improvement is to make sure the font-size of the form fields is at least
16px. This will prevent iOS from zooming in, which helps in keeping a good overview. A small improvement that will make Dutch clients happy is removing the County/State field. We really don’t need that, so there’s no reason to even show it.
What I really like
I definitely like the end of the form. When all is filled out correctly, at the end of the form some very clever, personal, useful and friendly content appears. It actually says:
Almost there Vasilis. Before we place your order, just to recap: We’re going to send your 2 Black 3x5g packs to your place in Amsterdam. Your email address is email@example.com, just in case. You’re paying via PayPal.
And then the big button says
Great. Continue to PayPal
We’ll take your details, then ask you to confirm everything
This is excellent. This is fantastic copy. This is what makes this site indeed very nice to use, like Peet said. And that’s good because I know I will be using it again in the future. Everybody needs Sugru.