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An increase in abandoned carts?

Looks like a scene from The Walking Dead…

Today I sat down to write a post about why you shouldn’t mess around with the Magento checkout process. After a quick search, I found a nice blog by NOAMDESIGN that basically outlined my own thoughts:
Why Magento Checkout Extensions Suck.

NOAM artfully makes the point that any changes (including installing some functional Magento extensions) that monkey around with the Magento checkout process are not to be trusted as they will most likely hurt conversion, confuse your users, and prompt more abandoned carts. He mentions that most of these Magento checkout extensions aim to turn the standard Magento step-by-step accordion checkout into a sloppy single page. Load speed can be slow for these extensions, and they often display as a tangled web of forms without any clear direction. Frustrated or confused customers will abandon their shopping carts faster than you can say, “Oh-wait-please-don’t-go!” We’ve found time after time, that the step-by-step Magento checkout experience is one that customers are familiar with, and ultimately more comfortable.

I would like to add a few other comments:

One of the largest benefits to using off-the-shelf software is that the workflow and code has been through many revisions and tests prior to getting into your hands. You receive the benefit of Magento’s years of experience, so when making a change to the checkout, we need to make sure we’ve walked a mile in Magento’s shoes prior to making a modification.

There are also a ton of nice little features baked into the Magento checkout that you may not even know exist unless you’ve really studied it. Did you know:

  • When registered as a user on a Magento store, users can ship to multiple addresses. This is useful for gift giving AND getting a little something for yourself.
  • Speaking of gift-giving: in Magento Enterprise, you can add additional gift options to single or multiple items within an order, or an entire order as a whole. You can also apply other features like a gift receipt, printed card, and fancy gift wrap. If you’re shipping to multiple addresses, you can specify when these gift features apply. So, that means you can wrap and ship a card and attach it to one order, and maybe not so much for another.
  • Shipping fees are calculated from your shipping address.
  • An inventory check happens prior to checkout just in case you ran out of inventory prior the final checkout step. Pretty smart.
Be sure that your extensions, no matter how small, don’t break the default functionality. You could be chasing your tail or worse yet, have to call someone like Human<>Element to help you out.

Human<>Element, located in beautiful Ann Arbor in Southeastern Michigan, is a Magento Enterprise Silver Partner. We excel at developing custom Magento stores and extensions, as well as building frontend websites to meet the needs of businesses and eCommerce stores throughout Michigan. We have worked with businesses, non-profits, and organizations throughout Michigan and nationwide to build technology solutions that will work for the long term.