Multi-Step vs. Single Page Checkout

Have you ever tried to purchase something off the internet and been presented with a long tabbed, multi-step checkout?  You think to yourself "what am I getting myself into?"  You have no idea what they might ask in future parts of the form and so you hesitate before committing to buy something.

Alternately, have you come to the checkout page and it is 7 km long? So long, your hand gets tired of scrolling!

[no visual displayed here because it would be too long for this page]

Either way, you are tempted to abandon your cart and get out of there!

But let's say you design two terrific forms, one Multi-Step and one Single Page.  Which one will result in more conversions?  That was the question the Vancouver Olympic store attempted to answer using an A/B test--where some customers were presented with the Multi-Step form and other customers got the Single Page form and their success in checking out was measured.  In the question of Single Page vs. Multi-Step Checkout, Single Page won. Check out their results.

Having a well-designed single page form leads to a significantly higher conversion rate. Here's a good analysis on the Olympic store results: Reasons sited for single page winning are:
  • People always gravitate towards the shortest lineup in the supermarket.  Single-page checkout feels like the shortest line.
  • Single-page check-out provides better visibility--you can see where you are in the process and what each step involves.
One important thing to note on this experiment is that the Olympic store form used Ajax to validate form content.  Ajax, which stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, allows forms to be validated (checked to see if it matches the requested input type) as the user types the data. If the user inputs answers that do not match the format required by the server-side logic, the user is notified immediately and can change their answer without having to refresh the HTML page. So, for example, if you inputted an invalid email you would be notified before you hit submit and needed to re-key a bunch of information.