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Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007 at 9:29 am

Five Reasons Why Google Checkout Converts Better

By Ronald Patiro
August 21st, 2007

checkout.gifWe can all learn a thing or five from Google Checkout. The official Google Checkout site has testimonials stating that customers who go through Google Checkout are 24% to 40% more likely to convert than those who go through a websites traditional checkout.

What’s Google doing that makes more people convert in their checkout than sites with only in-house checkout? Here’s a list of five features that are aiding its success and can be integrated into all checkouts.

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1. They stripped unnecessary steps from the checkout process, making it very easy for the customer: there are no additional steps to sign up; the customer simply enters his information and they have an account; there’s only one field for an address displayed in their form; following the form is a button to open another section of the form to enter a different shipping address only if necessary.  There are also no optional fields in their forms; no fax numbers, no entering in your email address twice.  They don’t worry about where you heard about the site. Just the bare minimum of what is needed to allow the customer to pay for the product and get it shipped.

2. Its only two pages and very fast! Customers barely have to time to second-guess their purchase.

3. Google gives assurances near each Call to Action, telling the customer what to expect in their checkout, and delivers. On the first page of checkout it says, “You can still make changes to your order on the next page.” They do something similar on the first page in the product review. By telling the customer that their shipping and tax will be calculated on the next page.

4. A brief synopsis of the company’s return policy on the second page with a link to read the entire policy.

5. Google shows customers which products they’re ordering before they’re required to enter any credit card information.

There are many more reasons to the success of Google Checkout. There is also room for improvement.  For instance:

  • What is Google going to do with my credit card information? There is not a clear explanation of this and digging through a legal contract is never fun.
  • Some sites have not properly implemented Google Checkout and leave out options that customers may value. CDUniverse.com doesn’t allow the selection of any gift options before entering Google Checkout or during, but they have it on their own checkout.
  • They could display the return policies in a more noticeable area than the very bottom of the last page.
  • Some questions are unanswered regarding how Google Checkout works, such as, Do you need a Gmail account?
  • There isn’t clear information about when the customer will receive the item at their house.

Do you have any experience with Google Checkout? Have you noticed any impact on your conversion rate in checkout with Google Checkout as opposed to your sites checkout? Any other observations or concerns? Google Checkout looks like it’s set to take the lead as the main third party provider for customers and merchants beating out Yahoo and PayPal’s combined effort (which Marketing Pilgrim likes to call “Payhoo”).

Add Your Comments

Comments (19)

  1. #6. Brand recognition. People know and trust Google.

  2. Google’s emphasis on speed will win eyeballs every time. They follow the three A’s.

    Agile, Aerodynamic and Aligned.

    When YouTube could deliver video faster than Google. Google bought them. That’s AGILE.

    When Google looked for ways to trim it’s glacial hiring system (reducing drag). That’s AERODYNAMIC.

    When Google states they want to “Be the vortex of modern advertising,” that’ ALIGNED.

    Now… what’s an A word for megalomania ;-) Vince

  3. Google’s brand recognition is most certainly another huge factor to their higher success rate than that of site’s in house checkout. In order for smaller less recognized companies to make up for this lack of trust and recognition subscribing to third party verification services like Verisign or BBB, and offering Paypal along with eCheck and Billmelater will help build confidence and positively impact conversion.

    Overall, having a highly intuitive, and incredibly fast and easy checkout system is much better approach than pasting a few trusted logos on an inefficient and frustrating existing checkout.

  4. Another “A” that is making for Googles success is “Always” knowing what consumers are doing. Checkout out what Robert Gorell has to say about Google’s intention on bidding for broadcast TV range Wimax and entering the mobile arena. http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/07/31/googles-wimax-bid-free-internet-service-for-us/

  5. I’m not sure what your exact definition of ‘converts better’ is in this case. Our customers still prefer to pay with a credit card through our own form 10/1 over GCO. Additionally, measuring between customer’s who click the ‘Google Checkout’ link and customer who click on the ‘Pay with a Credit Card’ link to our own payment page, I don’t think there is even a 10% difference in conversion. I wouldn’t think our checkout system is ‘that much better’ than anyone other decent ecommerce site, but we’re definitely not seeing that much of a conversion difference between GCO and our own checkout page. We’ve accepted GCO as another form of payment for over a year now so our personal experience with it is fairly solid at this point.

    Google Checkout did however quickly pass Paypal in visitor payment preference, and has maintained a 2 – 1 lead over paypal since about the second week of using it, so I definitely do see some solid brand awareness and trust. Paypal express checkout boosted paypal conversions by about 50% from the traditional paypal checkout system.

    Personally, I think it is important to offer several forms of payment of a website, as your customer’s should be able to purchase from you using the method they prefer.

  6. Jestep,

    The figures I got about Google CO ‘converting better’ are from Google’s official site for Google CO. They state that customers who choose to pay through Google checkout are less likely to abandon during checkout than customers who go through the in-site checkout.

    From my experience analyzing sites, I would say that Google’s statement is very likely to be true because there is a lot of room for improvement in checkouts! If your site’s checkout is converting at the same rate as the customers who choose to pay through Google checkout, I would like to congratulate you because your site most likely has a solid checkout.

  7. How about #1: Everybody knows and trusts (for better or for worse) Google.

  8. Joel,

    Google’s trust is definitely a large contributing factor. I chose to focus this post on the actual structure of Google’s checkout by highlighting elements of their process that our readers replicate their sites’ checkout. As stated in an earlier response, one way a site can compensate for having a lack of trust and brand recognition is to sign up with third party verification services such as Verisign and BBB Online.

  9. [...] Google checkout obtient des résultats (taux de conversions) impressionnant ! Grokdotcom explique les raisons de ce succès (en [...]

  10. I used Google Checkout to purchase something from The Sports Authority.

    Loved it. Very fast!

    I wonder how it integrates with the Sports Authority’s affiliate program…

  11. [...] Web to improve your business is staggering. Here’s one of the finest experts working today telling you how to improve your business. For free. So here’s the thing. Future Now is giving this to you. Are you doing the same for [...]

  12. [...] optimizing landing pages (PPC or otherwise). Combine this with the post from the Grok that claims Google checkout converts better than traditional checkouts. I’m not too sure about this one. Just because Google says it doesn’t make it [...]

  13. There is both good and bad with Google Checkout and I have been with it from the beginning.

    Good:
    *Name recognition
    *Badges in Adwords
    *Option for my customers

    Bad:
    *Google and customer service are like oil and water, they do not mix. Even though this is the real bad I can state, it is a major one as despite PayPal’s poor customer service, Google makes PayPal look like the Gods of customer service. When ever there are issue, Google NEVER (and I mean NEVER) can be contacted in a timely matter resulting in lost sales and other ongoing issues

  14. great article, there is google checkout always see to be confusing.

  15. Maybe a good alternative, but the fees are too high and customer service and website integration need improving

  16. Google Checkout is very good policy that we can have facility of shopping at one place and also helps to block spammers

  17. google is a portal, and that is what people want ultimately, no fluff, just the basics

  18. agreed. google is just better

  19. I’ve used Paypal for years now without really thinking of getting involved with the other offering. I used to sell a lot on eBay and that’s why Paypal became my checkout choice. I had no idea Google was so simple and I’ve recently built a website from a template where I had options but disabled every payment option except paypal, just through familiarity. I remeber first setting up payapl and there were a few hoops to jump through, such as waiting for them to deposit a couple of sums in my account and having to get back with the pin, and then reaching a financial limit where I had to go on and re-verify things.Anyhow thanks for this, I’ll go back and enable the google check out and compare it for myself as maybe I’m missing a tric, to be honest I didn’t think that the conversion rate really came in to play as I thought that once they’ve gone to the payment page, most wouldn’t back out unless something looked wrong or amateurish. Thanks again for the blog and the follow up comments!

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