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Updated Nov 06, 2023

One-Click Purchasing: How Click to Buy Is Revolutionizing E-Commerce

Back in 2000, Amazon introduced one-click buying to circumvent the typical shopping cart form (name, address and credit card information) and allow people to make purchases with just one click. Now it is a standard web-shopping convenience.

Danielle Fallon O'Leary
Danielle Fallon-O’Leary, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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The usual online checkout process includes multiple pages of entering personal payment data and reviewing product information before completing the final steps of the purchase, which often leads to customers abandoning their transactions. That’s why many businesses, starting with Amazon in 2000, have implemented one-click purchasing to streamline the process and increase sales. 

What is one-click purchasing? 

With one-click purchasing, customers enter and save their payment, contact and shipping information for their initial purchase with a business. Once those details have been stored for future purchases, all customers need to do is make one simple click to buy, which usually takes less than a minute, rather than going through a more involved process to confirm payment information. 

Customers are more likely to abandon their carts if they encounter long and complex checkout processes. They may also be less likely to return to the business for future purchases and less inclined to make impulse buys when shopping online. 

Some businesses can also utilize apps or integrate with other websites, including social media platforms, to enable one-click purchasing without having to enter a separate browser window. On Facebook, for example, a business’s product will be displayed with a picture and a box with information about the product. Users can select a click-to-buy button to purchase directly through Facebook. 

Bottom LineBottom line
Businesses that utilize one-click purchasing are likely to see an increase in sales and a decrease in abandoned carts.

What are the benefits of click to buy in e-commerce?

Increased sales and conversions

With fewer pages and buttons to navigate, customers are more likely to buy more and buy often. Click to buy encourages people to turn their browsing into purchasing. Cornell research revealed that 70 percent of online shoppers will leave before buying if there is a complicated checkout process. It also revealed that retailers who adopted one-click checkout services saw an increase in customer spending by about 28.5 percent. [Read more about how to leverage the best of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores.]

Businesses that utilize one-click purchasing can keep track of online orders and organize them through app integration. This not only allows them to find patterns in customers’ purchasing habits, but it also provides opportunities for businesses to suggest products or services to customers based on previous purchases. This customizes the experience for returning customers and, in combination with one-click purchasing options, makes them more likely to return for future purchases. The above Cornell study also found that one-click buyers visited websites with one-click purchasing more often than those without it.

Reduced rates of shopping cart abandonment

Some businesses require customers to create an account or log in to an account before their payment can be completed. These are obstacles that can keep customers from finalizing purchases. Even after filling their shopping cart, customers may abandon their cart if the checkout process is too involved or complicated, which can cost businesses both time and money. To reduce this many companies send cart abandonment emails to encourage customers to return and complete their purchase. 

Despite the effort and organization a business has put into e-commerce strategies, most customers are not receptive to complicated checkouts. Click to buy helps customers complete shopping within seconds and reduces the amount of time they have to reconsider their purchase.

Ability to shop from any device

Due to the influx of mobile phone use, it has never been easier to make a purchase anywhere and at any time. Millennial and Gen Z shoppers have become valuable to businesses due to their high use of mobile devices, which can help boost sales and bring in more customers. A benefit of click to buy is that it can be done on multiple devices. 

A customer can purchase through their laptop and then make a separate purchase on their mobile device. They simply need to verify payment with the payment processor instead of having to complete a login for each device. The introduction of mobile wallets, like Google Pay, Apple Pay and Amazon Pay, have made this process even easier. Social media apps have even begun integrating click-to-buy buttons within the apps for users to complete purchases without having to go to another app or hop onto their desktops. 

FYIDid you know
Websites with click-to-buy options have all the information customers need to know before buying, so they do not have to second-guess things like shipping costs or arrival dates.

Improved customer experience

According to MarketingCharts, 93 percent of customers are more likely to choose a business based on convenience, and 97 percent have not completed at least one purchase because of inconvenience. When attempting to bring in new customers, it is imperative that businesses consider convenience. The first time that customers visit your website or use your app, they do not want to spend a long time navigating the site, figuring out how to pay and filling out tons of information before they can buy a product.

Customers are more likely to buy from a company they have never shopped with before if they see a payment processor they know and trust. One-click purchasing options are almost necessary to attract and retain customers who value convenience. 

Considerations before implementing one-click purchasing

One-click purchasing tends to be most successful for businesses that have the following:

  • Repeat customers: One-click purchasing will benefit customers who frequently shop with a particular business. If your business relies solely on new, one-time or irregular customer interactions, one-click purchasing may not be right for you. 
  • Broad, nonpersonalized products: Businesses that sell customized or specialized products are less likely to benefit from click-to-buy services. Customers who are looking for special tools or customized decor will want to take the time to carefully consider what they are buying. Making impulse purchases with these types of products is likely to end in a disappointed or frustrated customer. 
  • Transparency: Customers should have all the information they need to know about the product before clicking to buy, including any shipping costs, fees and sales policies. If your business is unable or unwilling to provide that information to customers prior to checkout, click to buy may not be right for you. 
TipBottom line
Consider your customer interactions and patterns, your product types and overall business goals to determine if one-click buy is the right move.

If you’ve decided that one-click checkouts will benefit your business, here are a few potential issues to consider – and mitigate – before you begin:

  • Security and privacy concerns: Customers want to know that their personal data is safe with you. Utilize a payment service provider that has strong security and will protect customers’ privacy. Ensure that the provider is up to date with security standards, and be upfront with customers about your data privacy policies. [Read related article: The Best Credit Card Processors]
  • Limited information: The fast pace of click to buy can cause customers to skip past important information about products if they are not featured on the page before checkout. They may miss shipping costs, return policies or extra fees. Customers should have all the information they need to buy before clicking the button. 
  • Customer issues: If customers click to buy and realize they made a mistake, they may request a refund or accommodation to fix the issue. Be willing to assist customers when problems arise, especially if a lack of transparency on your end was part of the issue.
Danielle Fallon O'Leary
Danielle Fallon-O’Leary, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
Danielle Fallon-O'Leary is a longtime marketer with a passion for helping clients strengthen their online brands. She has managed clients' social media accounts, developed marketing campaigns and compiled key data for analytics reports. Other projects have included newsletter curation, workflow management and search engine optimization. Along with her marketing responsibilities, Fallon-O'Leary has had an up-close look at other aspects of small business operations, including invoicing and accounting, employee recruitment and training.
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