Billions of dollars are lost each year due to issues in the checkout ranging from payment preferences to slow load times. But when you make the checkout disappear, many friction points disappear with it.

An invisible checkout is so easy and convenient shoppers may forget that they were ever part of a transaction. Payment is done behind the scenes and the checkout is drastically reduced from pages to a single click or voice command.

One-click and invisible checkouts significantly reduce friction because shoppers can spend more time browsing and less time paying. Think about how much easier shopping online would be if you could buy what you want almost instantly – no filling in form fields and no need to have your credit card handy. But what is causing the checkout to disappear?

 

How Technology Impacts Payments

The maturation of the internet created the perfect environment for ecommerce innovation. There is more data than ever, being analyzed by more user experience experts than ever, whose designs are being tested by more visitors than ever. Website usability has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade, but the growth of connected devices and their capabilities pushed retailers to rethink their online strategies and invest in device-specific experiences.

Thanks to a decrease in cost, devices have become personal. No longer is the entire family sharing one computer out in the open – now they each have multiple connected devices such as a tablet, smartphone, and a laptop. The devices can often be attributed to an individual, which means more secure information such as payment details can be stored on the device with minimal credentials needed.

Today, as ecommerce breaks into new devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, retailers are able to use new tools to push the least fun part of shopping (the payment process) to the background.

 

The Pioneers

Amazon has invested heavily in making their checkout invisible. Amazon’s 1-click buy buttons are the epitome of a disappearing checkout because shoppers can go from browsing to buying with one click – bypassing the checkout altogether. Additionally, AI assistants such as Alexa provide customers with an experience that’s entirely checkout-free, letting shoppers check out just by speaking.

 
Amazon one click checkout
Source: Amazon
 

Amazon isn’t alone in trying to remove the checkout – more than 50% of the top 500 online retailers now offer single-step checkouts. And invisible payments can be exceptionally disruptive, just look at Uber.

Even though Uber isn’t in retail, its advancement of the payment experience has put pressure on retailers to keep up. Non-commerce applications are having an increasing amount of impact on shopper expectations. Take Tinder for example – while not at all related to commerce, its UX was widely adopted by retailers as a way to quickly and effectively browse products and the ‘Tinderization’ of commerce began.

While Uber’s business model is very unique, many would argue that their ability to eliminate payments is one of the main reasons for their success. When Uber riders get to their destination, they simply exit the car. There’s no fumbling with their wallet or trying to decide how much to tip – eliminating the payment process improves the entire experience. What is it that makes companies like Uber and Amazon so quickly become indispensable to us?

 

Convenience Trumps All

It’s human nature to take the easy route. When electricity arrived, people stopped relying on candles for light. When cars arrived, people stopped riding horses for transportation. We look for ways to make our lives easier, and technology is accelerating the rate at which we change our baseline for convenience.

Uber and Amazon showed us the best way, and now that we know it exists it’s hard to accept anything less. As mobile commerce grows and biometric identification improves, people will demand faster and more convenient ways to shop and pay. When the majority of shoppers get comfortable paying with a single click of the mouse or a scan of their thumb, the idea of completing a form will seem out-of-date, no matter how many fields you whittle it down to.

To the modern shopper, asking them to complete a form will be like asking them to ride a horse to work. Shopping is fun, but paying isn’t. Don’t be the last horse and buggy on the road trying to compete with driverless cars – give your customers the convenience they expect by pushing the payment process as far into the background as you can.