Amazon definitely thought so way back in 1999 when they patented their 1-click buying experience, but with that patent now expired, where does the eComm market stand on it today?

A “Buy Now” CTA isn’t universally interpreted as literally buying with 1-click. In fact, its lack of universality has gotten confusing and the phrase itself seems to have lost its meaning.

Amazon’s own original “Buy now with 1-Click” button takes you to a shortened buying process but not a one-click one. The customer’s information is pre-populated after being stored previously but with payment/delivery/subscription options all available for edit, Amazon’s one-click buy button should maybe more accurately read “1-Click to Payment Choice” instead.

Source: "How to Implement 1-Click Ordering like Amazon" by Shippo

However, literal one-click or not, we are beginning to see a bunch of big-players join Amazon in offering 1-click purchasing in some shape or form. eBay, PayPal, Stripe, Shopify, Bolt, Fast. And then some fintech companies such as Klarna, Quadpay and Affirm approach the issue by laying additional value on top and offering a “click and pay in installments” solution.

As with everything there are pros and cons to the modern day One-Click Checkout experience.

Increased conversion rates due to the ease and speed of a shortened (and much improved) customer buying experience head the “pros” list. While the potential for lower AOV, you asking for the sale too soon and unwelcome shopper surprise sit at the top of the “cons’.

Consumer behavior tells us that simply making it EASIER for customers to buy isn’t enough. In fact, asking for the sale too soon can result in FEWER sales. If you don’t warm your customers up to wanting to buy using effective communication, both before and at the point of sale, a one-click approach is almost worthless. Housekeeping details such as shipping costs, times & arrival dates, taxes and additional costs as well as the sexy info about the products themselves should have already been made clear. This will act to satisfy the consumer’s need to know WHAT they are buying and WHY they should be buying it and will encourage them towards the mindset to WANT to buy it by the time they get to the One-Click Button.

Questions to ask to decide whether 1-click ordering will be effective for your business include:

  • Do we have repeat buyers – the 1-Click Buy checkout experience was created with repeat consumers in mind to make it quicker for them to buy without having to enter the same details each time they bought. Are they buying the same products? Varying?
  • Do our customers still have questions when we want to get them to buy? Offering 1-click ordering won’t help (it could hurt) if the customer doesn’t have all of the information they need before they are prompted to 1-click buy.
  • Are we able to clearly communicate delivery and shipping information before prompting someone to purchase?
  • What information do our customers look for before they commit to buy? Product info, pricing, photos and, oftentimes, other customer reviews/social proof. According to Shippo research, two more pieces of information items are key: expected arrival date and exact shipping cost. However, only 33% of merchants are able to forecast the delivery date and only 64% show the item’s shipping cost right on the product page.
  • Are we completely transparent about everything? What allowed Amazon to reap value from the 1-click patent was the execution on the total customer experience. If you evaluate the Amazon product page, there is absolutely nothing hidden.
Source: "How to Implement 1-Click Ordering like Amazon" by Shippo

They don’t let the customer wonder about anything when they are looking at the product page. They don’t say “Two Day Shipping”and then let the customer guess when it actually arrives – they give the exact day – “buy before 12noon for delivery tomorrow”.

  • Can we offer self-service customer support tools to enable a safety-net system and improve likelihood of purchase? One of the features that allowed Amazon to roll out the 1-Click purchasing experience was their self-service customer service tools. Customers are given a 15-minute window to login into their Amazon account and cancel or modify their order leading to increased trust and likelihood to buy now – think later safe in the knowledge they can cancel for 15 minutes.

In-short, tactical use of 1-Click buttons once the consumer has had access to ALL of the information they need pre-purchase can lead to increased conversion rates and, when used in conjunction with clever marketing, bespoke product recommendations and repeat consumers can increase customer retention. Increasing customer retention by just 5% leads to a 25% to 95% percent boost in profits. And who doesn’t want a boost in profits – no matter its size..?

One-Click Purchasing - are you a fan? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.