Karthik Pasupathy (aka KP)

The Temptation Equation: A UX behind Amazon’s Checkout Process

This blog post will talk about Amazon’s checkout process and how it is designed to tempt you into buying something.

For the last few days, I was so tempted to buy the Sony WF-1000XM3 earphones on Amazon even though I own an Airpods Pro and 6 other pairs of earphones. I clearly knew I don’t need the earphones, but the offer was irresistible.

After a lot of self-questioning and analysis, I decided not to buy them. But, I was curious. I’ve shopped on other websites during their sale days. But, nothing hooks me like Amazon. Their shopping experience is designed in such a way that at every stage of the checkout process you’ll be reassured that you’re making the right choice.

This made me wonder “What is so unique about Amazon’s checkout experience?”

During sale days like “The Great Indian Festival”, Amazon’s entire checkout process is designed to mimic a bargaining process. Yes. At each step, you’ll receive a reward (discount/delivery time/no-cost EMI) that will make you think “I can’t get a better deal than this! Let’s buy!”

In this blog post, I’ll take one product (Sony WF-1000XM3 as it troubled me for a few days) from Amazon and analyze its checkout experience during Amazon’s sale days.

Price and Reviews

The first thing you’d see while you’re on the product page is the price and reviews. In this case, you can see that a product with 14,338 ratings averaging 4 stars is being offered at a 50% discount. If you’re someone who’s been wanting to buy this, you’d already know that this is a good deal. It caught my eye because the Sony WF-1000XM3 is one of the best wireless noise cancellation earbuds out there. Better than Airpods pro. So, if you’re a consumer who’s aware of the product, you’ll already be hooked on this point. The next step is where you will receive your first reward.

The Coupon

When you’re thinking about whether to buy or not, you see a small coupon right below the price of the product. A coupon for Rs.1000. When you apply, the final price of the product is Rs.8990. At this point, you’re an inch closer to buying the product. You’ll be thinking “A discount on top of the slashed price? Oh yeah!”. But, there’s more.

Delivery time

Right below the coupon code, you’ll see delivery details. It says “FREE Delivery by Tomorrow”. For some products, it would say “FREE Delivery by Today 10 PM”. Instant gratification. One more reason to buy the product. 

Bank and EMI Offers

Right below the delivery information, you’ll see the bank and EMI offers. In this case, you’ll get an additional discount of Rs.500 if you use a RuPay card. But, when I checked out the product, HDFC was offering a 10% additional discount which brought down the price of the product to Rs.8091. And, I also got the option to convert this into a 6-month no-cost EMI. What a deal, right?

(Note: A no-cost EMI is technically not no-cost. There are hidden costs like taxes and stuff. I’m mentioning it here to talk about user temptation)

When you look at Amazon’s product page, you get all the essential information including warranty, replacement policy, etc. right on the first fold of the page. You don’t have to scroll down to learn more about the product or make a decision. Everything you need to know is right in front of you. Now, let’s take a look at how the same product is listed on Flipkart.

You can observe the following differences.

Overall, I personally feel that the layout of a Flipkart page had too much information. But, in reality, it has the same amount of information as Amazon (in fact less). The way the information is structured on Amazon makes all the difference.

At this stage in the buyer journey, you’ll hear Amazon saying “This is a great product! We’ve offered you a discount, an Rs.1000 coupon, and free delivery by tomorrow” – enough reasons to click on the “Buy Now” button and move on to the next step.

Payment Page

The next step is the payment process. On the payment screen, you can see how much discount you can get for each of your saved cards. You can enter the CVV code of the card of your choice and make the payment.

A similar experience can be seen in Flipkart as well.

But, the difference (or at least I think) is, I can’t choose the tenure of my EMI on Flipkart. For example, the screen says Rs.1534/month. But, it doesn’t say for how many months? 

Also, on the right side, you can see the total. 16990 including 1412 bank interest is still 16990, which was a bit confusing.

But, on Amazon, when you choose an EMI schedule, you can clearly know the interest rate, percentage, and the amount you should pay every month.

Amazon’s checkout process is designed to give you rewards and answers. Rewards to move further and answers to your questions to help you reassure your buying decision. The ‘Buy Now’ button on Amazon will be small and on the right side compared to big buttons placed in the center. That’s the trick. When you’re tempted enough to buy a product, you’ll click the ‘Buy Now’ button anyway irrespective of its size and placement.

I’m not sure about you. But, I found this really intriguing. Hence, I thought I’ll write about it. If you resonate with me or observed other such nuances in Amazon or any other eCommerce platform, share it with me via Twitter or send me an email.

#technology #ux