Vendors are developing the one-click tool so retailers can use it on their sites, but shoppers won't see the option immediately.

One-click online ordering may soon become a lot more common.

Amazon.com Inc. had held a patent on the technology, which stores a shopper’s preferred payment and shipping information to enable a shopper to complete a purchase with a single click. Since 1997, Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, has been one of two major retailers to offer the service. Apple Inc. (No. 2) in 2000 entered an agreement with Amazon to license the technology for an undisclosed fee.

Amazon’s patent expired Sept. 12, and a number of retailers may soon offer the service.

Amazon has offered one-click ordering since 1997.

“Amazon’s one-click checkout has been a significant competitive advantage for its marketplace, providing an unparalleled customer experience and a near frictionless checkout experience,” says Jimmy Duvall, chief product officer at e-commerce software provider BigCommerce Pty. Ltd.

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Now that the patent has expired e-commerce platform providers are quickly rolling out one-click ordering, which could quickly transform the technology from a competitive advantage into a tool that consumers regularly encounter, experts say.

Magento Commerce (186) and BigCommerce (25), which are the e-commerce platform providers of a combined 211 retailers in the 2017 Internet Retailer U.S. Top 1,000, say they will add one-click ordering to their respective platforms in the near future. A BigCommerce spokeswoman this week says the vendor will have one-click functionality available early next year. Magento vice president of strategy Peter Sheldon says his firm will incorporate the feature in its next platform release in early December.

Magento’s one-click ordering tool, which is being reviewed by its research and development team, was developed by web development services provider Creatuity Corp. Creatuity CEO Joshua Warren says he saw mentions in the spring about Amazon’s one-click patent expiring, and he began working with a pair of software architects on his team to code the feature.

“We have a number of test instances and automated testing processes set up around all of the work we do on the Magento platform, so we leveraged those tools to test this out,” he says.

After testing the function, Warren and his team gave the code for one-click ordering to Magento through its open-source coded contribution community rather than try and sell it. Warren says Creatuity does do some business with Magento as a Magento Enterprise Solutions Partner, but “it’s not a profit center” for the company.

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Dennis Kopitz, director of e-commerce at Shinola (No. 349 in the Top 500), says Magento hasn’t yet communicated anything about one-click ordering, but he would welcome the tool. Kopitz has not actively searched out vendors offering the tool. The watchmaker, a Magento client, can and will benefit from having one-click ordering on its site, he says.

“Our experience is that people tend to come back to the website on average about 12 times before they transact,” Kopitz says. “By the time they transact, that [final] session is very short. [Customers] know what they want. At that point having a one-click checkout would be very valuable.” Kopitz didn’t specify how valuable having a one-click ordering option would be to Shinola.

Because Amazon’s customer base is so large, consumers have grown accustomed to one-click ordering, Kopitz says. Incorporating the feature on Shinola’s site will provide an additional benefit to its shoppers in the long run, he says. “We’re constantly trying to figure out how we make checkout frictionless, especially on mobile,” he says. “I hope that it makes our users’ lives easier.”

The feature, once it becomes more mainstream, holds promise for online retailers, experts say.

“For mobile users in particular, cart abandonment is one of the most prevalent challenges retailers face,” says Casey Gannon, vice president of marketing at mobile commerce platform provider Shopgate. Data from e-commerce personalization vendor Barilliance shows that in 2016, 85.65% of all global shoppers on mobile phones placed something in an online shopping cart and did not complete the purchase.

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“Timeliness is the single most vital aspect of the decision-making process, and mobile retailers should adopt one-click checkout processes, as well as leverage deep links, social login, and other streamlined payment options to most effectively capture the mobile user in the right moment—the exact moment they’re browsing,” Gannon says.

Sometimes, friction stops you from doing something by mistake.
Tim Reilly
Radial

One-click buying helps combat shopping cart abandonment by creating a seamless experience, says Tushar Patel, chief marketing officer at Kibo, an order management, e-commerce and omnichannel technology vendor. Kibo did not say if it plans to incorporate one-click ordering with its platform.

But just because any retailer or e-commerce platform provider can potentially offer the feature does not mean shoppers will see it become mainstream.

“Although this is cool, the adoption of this across merchants will take time,” Magento’s Sheldon says. “The vast majority of these merchants are using an underlying e-commerce platform and they’re going to have to wait until the vendor puts it in. It’s going to be way into next year before this becomes a standard out-of-the-box feature. This isn’t something we’re going to see any uptick on ahead of the holidays.”

Offering one-click ordering brings a new set of perils, like the potential for shoppers to accidentally order products they might not otherwise buy. Because of that, Tim Reilly, Radial’s director of marketplace and drop-ship services, says retailers that implement the tool should have a fallback option.

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“You need a ‘remorse hold’ and a way for a customer to cancel an order on their own during this period,” Reilly says. “Sometimes, friction stops you from doing something by mistake.”

One vendor that won’t immediately offer one-click ordering is Shopify Inc., which is the e-commerce platform provider for 22 retailers in the Top 1000.

In April, Shopify rolled out Shopify Pay, an omnichannel tool similar to one-click ordering that allows shoppers to store payment information with any Shopify merchant and then pay without having to re-enter any of that data.

Shopify product manager Richard Btaiche says the one-click ordering patent hasn’t prevented other payment processors and e-commerce platform providers from minimizing checkout friction, but the expiration may accelerate new developments. “More innovation within the accelerated payments space will benefit the entire industry,” he says.

Sheldon says retailers that stand to benefit most from more mainstream adoption of one-click ordering are those whose customers shop their site frequently.

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“This only works if the customer has already shopped at that merchant, created an account and saved a shipping address and a credit card that is still valid. If all of things are accrued, then the one-click ordering can be powerful,” Sheldon says. “This does certainly increase convenience for consumers for [everyday] purchases. There’s stuff that we buy that we don’t need to turn our brain on to think about buying. We know we need it.”