Opinions & Insights
Why Leading E-commerce Companies are Going Composable with Checkout Optimization
When we talk to folks in e-commerce why they’re thinking about going composable, we hear one consistent theme: performance.
An emerging trend in composable commerce
But recently, we’ve been hearing a new approach to delivering performance. Instead of migrating their storefront first, a few organizations are starting with their checkout flow.
It’s a bold choice. More common is to start with small projects, to reduce risk. But these organizations, including several household name brands, are flipping the script.
They’re starting off with a high-ROI project, checkout optimization, to prove value. And it’s working.
Let’s dive in.
The role of the checkout process in e-commerce success
We all know better performance boosts conversion. But we have more granular data that indicates checkout might be the most critical part of the journey.
In a study study of 20.5m e-commerce user sessions, a research team broke down the journey into stages: from homepage, to listings, to product details, to add to cart, to basket, to checkout, to order.
Fast checkout, they found, boosts sales, and not by a small margin. In one-step checkout, shaving off 0.1 second in the Basket-to-Checkout phase resulted in a 3.9% revenue boost. Shaving off 0.1 second in the Checkout-to-Order phase resulted in a 4.7% revenue boost.
Cart abandonment, it turns out, is sensitive to speed.
Why start with checkout flow optimization?
But why the cart before the store, so to speak? Teams typically cite three reasons.
To reduce scope
Checkout flows have only a handful of pages, compared to hundreds or thousands of pages on stores. With the smaller surface area, it’s easier to build, QA, and launch. Checkout flows are more utilitarian, so less need to pull in design. They’re all about data and error handling.
By focusing on optimizing the checkout flow, teams can identify and address any potential issues or bottlenecks that may be causing cart abandonment. This allows for targeted improvements to be made, such as streamlining the payment process or simplifying the form fields, to ensure a seamless and hassle-free experience for customers.
Overall, prioritizing checkout flow optimization makes sense from both a practical and financial standpoint. It allows teams to focus their efforts on a smaller, more manageable area of the online store while simultaneously improving the user experience and driving revenue growth. So, it's no wonder that many teams choose to start with optimizing the cart before diving into the larger complexities of the entire online store.
To move fast
When we talk to prominent consumer brands on Netlify – organizations with teams of dozens or hundreds of engineers – we hear about the benefits of moving quickly with a high-trust group.
“It’s just a small team,” the tech lead from a household name brand told us. She was planning their checkout migration for a project team of herself, plus three other engineers. The team started – and finished – the project in six weeks, delivering roughly 25 points of Lighthouse score improvement.
Sales calls about checkout-first approaches give off a special ops vibe. Directors with special projects backgrounds, reporting to execs with P&L ownership, watching tiny two-pizza teams. Project leads with biweekly demos to execs a few rungs above.
The tech folks. The dollars-and-cents folks. In the same room. On the same page.
To scale & leverage the composable approach across multiple brands
When organizations own multiple brands, checkout flow improvements cascade down three or five different P&Ls.
Brands considering composable commerce solutions are typically doing at least tens of millions in sales. That means composable checkout optimization should boost revenue by millions (or tens of millions!).
Some are doing hundreds of millions in revenue. For them, composable checkout optimization should yield tens of millions (or hundreds of millions!).
A not-so-small percent of a large number is a pretty large number.
The agency perspective on composable checkout-first
Agencies are getting in the mix, too. A leading digital agency called Orium that’s focused on composable e-commerce is starting to advise their larger customers to go composable checkout-first.
“Composable gives brands the flexibility to experiment with the slices of experience that are best for their customers,” Orium’s VP of Partnerships and Product, Everett Zufelt, told us.
Elevating conversion through composable checkout optimization
Checkout flow optimization can have a direct impact on the bottom line. As the previous statistics showed, even small reductions in the time it takes for customers to navigate through the checkout process can result in significant revenue boosts. By fine-tuning the checkout flow and minimizing any unnecessary steps or distractions, online stores can increase their conversion rates and ultimately drive more sales.
When organizations start their composable journey with checkout optimization, teams can lift conversion and deliver results quickly.