Designing Efficient E-commerce Checkout Processes

Amex Computers is a Carlstadt, New Jersey, firm that sells wholesale computer hardware and offers a full range of development services for networking and information technology applications. Among the IT solutions Amex Computers provides are e-commerce applications, which are seamlessly integrated with existing web sites to increase marketability and sales.

One of the keys to optimal e-commerce functionality is minimizing distractions in the checkout process. All too often, inputting unnecessary or redundant redundant information bogs down the checkout flow. It is best to avoid disruptive questions at the outset about whether the user is a new or returning customer, with accompanying hyperlinks to sign-up forms. An elegant solution is simply to ask for an e-mail input. A matching e-mail address linked to the existing customer database will automatically pull up login information about the specific customer and get the checkout process started.

Another way to ease checkout overload is to ask for zip code information prior to the rest of the address. These digits can be easily used to pull up country, city, state, province, and country information, and automatically populate the appropriate fields. Similarly, there is no need for clients to indicate the type of credit card they are using (such as VISA or MasterCard), as the first several digits offer an algorithm that contains this information. While each of these steps is minor, the net result can be a significant savings in time and effort.