It’s a pretty straightforward concept in the industry that giving your customers more payment options during checkout is a move guaranteed to drive more conversions — and this makes sense when you think about it. With so many different payment methods out there, catering to as many of your customers' payment preferences as possible is just common sense… right? Well, there may be more to the story.

The retail landscape is evolving rapidly, and what might have been best practice a few years ago may not be the optimal approach for driving conversions today. We're constantly exploring new ways to help our clients stay ahead of the curve, which is what prompted us to run an experiment to test out a new approach that could potentially tip traditional thinking on its head.

We recently concluded an A/B test for one of our e-commerce partners, comparing the performance of their existing checkout solution against a newer, more streamlined version. The goal was to see if a simplified checkout experience could outperform a more feature-rich approach, and could the user experience be optimised further to drive stronger results.

The ‘Less is More’ A/B Test

Working with a major retail brand client, we set up two versions of the checkout flow - one using their generic checkout experience, and another leveraging a cleaner, simplified design with Instant Checkout.

Their checkout page had offered a wide array of payment methods and customisation choices, but with the new Instant Checkout flow, we were able to reduce the number of steps and choices, creating a much cleaner and more user-friendly experience. 

With the simplified checkout flow in place, we began our A/B test, and the findings were intriguing:

  • The Instant Plus experience with far less options saw 223,075 sessions and a conversion rate of 2.29% (5,109 conversions), generating $1,371,751.56 in revenue.

  • The Instant Checkout experience, while still performing well, had 224,937 sessions but a slightly lower conversion rate of 2.22% (4,990 conversions), totaling $1,304,151.30 in revenue.

This translated to a potential revenue increase of over $135,000 per month if the simplified Instant Plus experience had been used for all sessions.

"We were frankly quite surprised by these findings," said the Head of Marketing from this brand. "We had already seen a 40% increase in our conversion rates from our experience with Instant Checkout, so we really didn’t expect that the results could be improved further — especially through such a counter-intuitive approach of presenting less checkout options!”

So what was it about this ‘less is more’ approach that was appealing to our clients' audience and turning them into paying customers?

The Psychology of Simplicity

The reasoning behind the success of the Instant Plus performance is rooted in user experience and psychology. Today's online shoppers are increasingly looking for convenience and simplicity, they don't want to be bogged down by a cluttered checkout experience. When faced with too many options, shoppers can become overwhelmed and indecisive, leading them to abandon their carts.

This aligns with broader trends in e-commerce — a recent 2024 study by Baymard Institute found that 70.19% of online shopping carts are abandoned on average. While 48% of these abandonments were simply due to users "just browsing", the remaining 52% were attributed to specific issues with the checkout experience.

The study revealed that 22% of users abandoned their carts because "the checkout process was too long/complicated", and 13% said "there weren't enough payment methods".

So, while offering a diverse array of payment options is important, it's equally critical to streamline the overall checkout flow to reduce friction and cognitive load. A balanced approach that caters to customer preferences while optimising the user experience can be the key to driving stronger conversions.

Lessons in Checkout Optimisation from

When it comes to driving ecommerce conversions, the team at Zhik has clearly cracked the code. As a leading provider of high-performance water sports apparel, they've long been a successful user of Instant's advanced checkout solutions - solutions that have already delivered an impressive 87% uplift in cart conversion rates and a 21% boost in overall revenue.

But Zhik didn't stop there. Eager to further refine the purchase experience for their customers, the brand recently implemented the streamlined Instant Plus checkout flow on their storefront.

The outcome has been nothing short of remarkable and the brand has been vocal about the substantial impacts of checkout optimisation.

In addition to the surging conversion rates, Zhik has also reported an uplift in repeat purchases — a clear sign that the enhanced experience is driving greater brand loyalty.

These results underscore a valuable lesson for ecommerce brands: sometimes, less really is more when it comes to checkout optimisation. By streamlining the flow and reducing friction, Zhik has been able to guide customers more smoothly through the purchase journey, unlocking stronger conversions and deeper customer relationships.

Of course, achieving this level of optimisation is no easy feat. It requires a deep understanding of customer behaviour, a willingness to challenge convention, and the right technology partner to bring the vision to life.

As brands continue to navigate an increasingly competitive landscape, the Zhik success story offers a powerful blueprint, backed up by key findings from industry research and our own A/B testing of partner brands. By focusing on the checkout experience as a key lever for driving conversions and loyalty, forward-thinking retailers can unlock results that could be the difference between survival and thriving in today's retail environment.

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