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Sell through new channels with a one-click headless checkout

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In the world of ecommerce a hot topic gaining traction is one-click checkout.

Often the conversation is limited, though, to shortened paths to purchase that take place on a brand’s website (or perhaps an app), via desktop computer or mobile device.

We know — thanks to reports like The Checkout Benchmark — that retailers who reduce friction to improve the checkout experience achieve more than double the conversion rates of those who do not. 

But strategies that improve the checkout completion rate and drive more revenue , do not have to be limited to a brand’s website. A one-click or buy-now type checkout process can drive sales in other channels where shoppers interact with your brand, says Anatolii Iakimets, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Bold.

Think: social media, blogs, emails, QR codes and even augmented reality (AR).

Imagine what you could achieve if you offer “buy now” checkout opportunities in different channels like these, which feature:

  • Tailored experiences, based on how your shopper wants to interact with your brand, reducing friction and optimizing conversion opportunities.
  • A brand-consistent experience across the full journey - including the checkout stage.

We’re talking about the potential of whole new revenue streams — just one-click (experience) away.

The top “buy now” checkout channel alternative: Social commerce

Instagram is a clear winner when it comes to channels outside your website that drive conversion, says Iakimets. (Though he notes that TikTok has fast become a strong second place contender).

When purchasing items through Instagram there are two approaches:

  1. Shoppers buy through the instagram store on the platform. The upside is that the shopper can purchase quickly without leaving the platform. The downside is that the brand loses the ability to deeply tailor the customer experience. For example you can’t upsell or cross-sell, or offer BOPIS on the native social platform.

  2. The brand's Instagram post links to a product page on the branded website. The upside is that the brand controls the customer experience. The downside is that it creates one more step for the shopper, adding friction in the customer journey.

There’s got to be a better way you say? Indeed there is. 

A third option—direct the shopper to a one-click checkout window.

But there’s a caveat in this scenario too, explains Iakimets. Say a customer is purchasing a blouse or button-up top from a clothing retailer. On Instagram, it is an image that catches their eye and lures them to buy that item, not an interactive page that provides attributes such as size or color, which they still need to choose. The conventional checkout flow you have on your website won't work for this purpose as product details and attributes aren’t typically displayed for selection at checkout.

Now all of a sudden, “a tailored experience with a bit more product information is required, and a basic one-click checkout is not equipped,” Iakimets continues.

In this situation it’s better to offer a branded, two-click checkout, keeping the process as frictionless and short as possible, while continuing to “own” the customer experience and serve up the product information needed to drive conversion, he says.

There’s no one-size-fits all solution, every checkout should be tailored to enable your customer’s greatest convenience, leading to higher conversion.

Other new channels through which checkout can grow revenue

Besides social commerce, there are other existing and emerging channels through which you can offer a one-click or shortened path to purchase option. Deciding where to start should align with those channels where there is high brand engagement but low/no monetization.

  • For instance, when publishing blog posts you can include a “buy now” button or an embedded link to checkout. Again, the goal here is to ensure shoppers do not have to leave the native application or website they are using to make a purchase, says Iakimets.

“Instead shoppers can complete a brand consistent transaction within the blog post they were engaging with. This could lead to better, higher converting shopper experiences if the shopper is able to choose sizing, or perhaps consider a subscription option, or even earn or access loyalty points.”

  • Email marketing, and specifically abandoned cart emails are another option to further shorten the purchase path and “lead directly to checkout, with everything prefilled, for a pure one-click experience,” says Iakimets.

In this instance, the shopper has already shown interest in the product or service, added it to their cart and likely chosen size, subscription and/or loyalty options. All they have to do is pay — which the email and immediate checkout option encourages them to do.

  • QR codes have made a comeback and can work seamlessly as a shortened path to purchase.

For example, “there are brands that still send catalogs to their customers, like furniture or automotive part retailers, but then instead of them having to visit the retailer’s website, they can scan a QR code and buy the item near-immediately,” explains Iakimets. This can also work for product packaging with online orders to encourage re-order and subscription sign up.

Or when shopping in a brick and mortar setting, a QR code (or even standard bar code) attached to a sale item could link to a buy-now checkout experience via a mobile device, he says.

  • Finally, an emerging checkout sales channel to look to in the future might be augmented reality (AR).

“If you add a one-click button to an application, a user can see how an item (furniture perhaps) fits their surroundings and then quickly buy it from within that experience,” says Iakimets.

Don’t give up brand engagement at any stage of a purchase journey

Tailoring and branding your checkout experience through these new channels can be transformational.

The Checkout Benchmark report reveals, “mobile shoppers that convert to buyers are 41% more likely to ‘check-in’ to review or edit their checkout as they go compared to those that abandon during checkout.” 

This highlights the integral role checkout plays during a customer’s final decision making process — when they ultimately determine if they’re going to buy or not.

In addition to making it as seamless (read: not frustrating) as possible, “you want to own every step of the customer experience: the fonts, the logos, the colors,” says Iakimets. Because brand-consistency throughout the payment process reinforces your value proposition and engagement with the shopper.

You may be wondering how complicated it is to tailor the checkout experience on so many different channels. Fortunately, if you use a headless API-driven checkout it’s a simpler task. 

Headless commerce separates your back-end functionality from front-end experiences like checkout. This makes it easy to test and transform transactions on multiple platforms without having to modify the functionality of your commerce layer each time.

So you can get started tailoring your one-click or shortened paths to purchase on any channel you want, adding in conversion “boosters” like BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store), special offers, subscriptions, loyalty points and more. The sky’s the limit with a headless checkout experience. 

Learn more about how your brand can customize a one-click experience with Bold Checkout: Buy Now.

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