One Page Ajax Vs. Multi Page Checkout Process

mini-shopping-carts-detailWhen the one page Ajax checkout process was introduce a few years ago, many online retailers where looking at it as a possible cure for their high abandonment rates at checkout. However, some website owners who tried the one page Ajax checkout process, discovered that it has not decreased their shopping cart abandonment rates at all, but in some cases the abandonment rates were even higher as in this case below.

LATEST UPDATE: I highly recommend you to read this post “One Page Ajax Checkout – 5 Reasons Why Not“. According to a study, one page Ajax checkout converts at 2.5% whereas 3 step multi page checkout converts at 6.2%. In this post you will find 5 reasons why one page Ajax checkout isn’t the best option for your business.

“The single page Ajax vs. multi page checkout has been a source of concern for me. I agree that single page Ajax checkout makes perfect sense however a 30 day test on my site of each process showed (via analytics) that my checkout abandonment rate was significantly higher on single Ajax page vs multi-page checkout. I do know that my customers are more cautious about purchasing online and, take a little more time before making a purchase decision.”

– “”

So we had a look at one page Ajax checkouts to find out what the problem is, if any, and in the video you will be able to watch the findings.

Before you start watching the video, I recommend to read these reasons below as to why people abandon the checkout process. These apply to both one page Ajax and multi page checkout processes.

  • I have added the product to my basket and then find out once I get to the checkout that the product I had intended to buy is “out of stock” or it’s on backorder. I leave because a – it’s the only product I was really shopping for, b – I am irritated because I spent the last 20 minutes on your website and now you are telling me that it’s out of stock. Thanks! Or c – I can’t be bothered to find another product as I don’t want to spend time searching for another item only to discover at checkout that it is also unavailable and thus waste more time on your site.
  • I have a product in my basket, but have decided to change the color or the size, but have found out that I have to go back to the product page. I really can’t be bothered or don’t have time, so I leave.
  • “Discount Code/Coupon” field in the basket – So I have discovered that if I had a discount code, I could save couple of bucks, but I don’t have one. OK, firstly I will search on Google for your discount code, but I didn’t find any so I will do the following: I either leave or carry on with the purchase if this price is cheaper than anywhere else after I have done proper research, or you are the only store who has it in stock today and I want it today. (In tomorrow post we are going to talk about this particular case and how to deal with discount codes in your checkout.)
  • Shipping Cost – I am in the basket and want to purchase the products but hey ho, the shipping cost is more than I expected. OK, let’s have a look somewhere else.
  • Different payment options – NOTE: some people prefer to use PayPal or Google Checkout. It’s worth to testing it to see if your conversion rates go up or not. I personally prefer to use a credit card for my purchases.
  • Register to checkout – I have decided to go ahead with the purchase, but you are asking me to register, with no option to checkout as a guest. But I don’t want to register, all I want is only to buy this darn product. You know what, I can’t be bothered as other websites are offering “checkout as guest” so why don’t you. Bye, bye.
  • I am in the checkout and my 1st question is: is this checkout safe and secure? If not, or I am not sure as I can’t see any security logos and this website looks a bit dodgy. I prefer to verify the site security by clicking on their logos to verify. Nowhere to click to verify so I leave.
  • I am in the checkout and my 2nd question is: what product am I buying? Where is it, I can’t see it? How shall I pay for something if I can’t see what I am paying for? This could force me to leave, depending on the reputation of the store. NOTE: Good practice in this case is to test whether to display price and shipping charges or not, as some websites like don’t show prices, but the product you are buying is clearly displayed and their conversion rate is still 42.1%. Read the full conversion analysis.
  • I am in the checkout and my 3rd question is: how can I return this product if something isn’t right? What about warranty? OK, so it’s nowhere to be seen clearly, but I have found it in the footer. I clicked in the footer on the link and guess what happened, I just have been redirected from my shopping cart, after I have filled up half of the fields. Obviously I am annoyed off and I must walk quickly away from the computer as this must be a joke.
  • I am in the checkout and my 4th question is: is this website real? Can I call their customer support or chat with them using live chat? No phone number or a live chat in the checkout will make me feel unsure, unless it’s well know online retailer or I have shopped with them before. In some cases if no phone number is displayed I would leave.
  • For some reason, the checkout isn’t working. Can I contact someone right now as I really would like to buy this product immediately? As I haven’t found any contact details (phone, live chat) I decided to leave. It’s a pity, as I liked the site and wanted to buy the product from you.
  • Error Messages – I just clicked on “continue” button, but I am getting some error messages. I have already done this 2 times, but still receiving these error messages. What am I doing wrong? I can’t see what’s wrong. Let’s try this again. So I think I have fixed the errors, let’s click “continue” button. For goodness sake, again some stupid error message. No phone to call, no live chat so I am leaving defeated but I so much wanted to buy this product.

So now we know some of the reasons why people give up and leave at the checkout process rather than making that all important that purchase, let’s have a look at the video below and understand why it is that switching from a multi page to one page checkout process can actually increase abandonment rates, as in the above cited example of


Can I use funnel in the one page Ajax checkout to measure drop off rates?

Yes you can. The only difference is that in order to pass a code to one page checkout, you will need a developer as it’s not that simple. With multi page checkout you simply paste the tracking code and you are done.

Can I use different payment providers with one page Ajax checkout like PayPal or Google Checkout?


Which do you recommend, one page Ajax or multi page checkout process?

I highly recommend you to read this post “One Page Ajax Checkout – 5 Reasons Why Not“. According to a study, one page Ajax checkout converts at 2.5% whereas 3 step multi page checkout converts at 6.2%.

Coming next: Discount codes in checkout process and how to deal with them.

Jan Petrovic
I have 9 Years of Tremendous Experience as web analyst and Senior Conversion Specialist. I have worked on optimisation project for the second-largest store retailer in the USA (the company is also a component of the S&P 500 Index), as well as for a well-known USA fashion retailer with over 380 stores nationwide. Over the course of my career I have achieved many INSANE improvements on our client’s websites, sometimes by applying best practices, another time from findings I made during conversion audits and sometimes thinking out of the box. For one of them I have even received an award in 2012 from WhichTestOne, where after testing different emails and parts of email message we increased revenue by 303.08%. What might also interest you is the fact that my average conversion improvement is 19% and my success rate is 70%. Basically, I’m VERY GOOD at what I do thanks to my Can Do Attitude to find solutions to given problems & Experience in this field.
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