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Molecular Includes Product Configurator in 'Single Screen Checkout(TM)'

New Solution to Tackle Shopping Cart Abandonment

2004-10-09 - Watertown, Mass., USA: Molecular, Inc., a leading technology consulting firm, today announced a new component of its User Experience Design/Redesign offering called Commerce Experience Optimization. The new offering is a showcase for a next-generation shopping cart and checkout solution called Single-Screen Checkout(TM) which is designed to decrease shopping cart abandonment and increase conversion rates. The company's Product Configurator, a Rich Internet Application (RIA) originally designed for a company called Yankee Candle, is also part of the new offering.

The Molecular team built a custom configuration application using Macromedia's Flash MX technology. Through a dynamic "one-screen" interface, customers are guided through the design process. As a customer makes each selection, the rendition of the product changes before his or her eyes, without the configuration application ever having to refresh the page. Customers can see exactly what their product will look like at each stage of the design process and can revise design decisions on-the-fly.

The Molecular custom configurator

Shopping cart abandonment is one of the most commonly reported impediments to online commerce revenue generation and profitability, with several independent studies corroborating abandonment rates of up to 75 percent. Research shows that, aside from issues relating to pricing and shipping costs, customers are most confused and frustrated by checkout processes that actually thwart their abilities to complete transactions.

To solve this problem, Single-Screen Checkout is aimed at preventing customers from leaving their purchase at the most crucial point of the shopping process - the checkout. Previewed recently at the 2004 Annual Summit, the solution enables more efficient e-commerce transactions through a dynamic experience in which the entire transaction takes place on a single screen. The solution also affords providers the opportunity to cross-sell directly into the shopping cart.

"Internet shoppers don't want to have to work hard to give retailers their money, which is why the page metaphor of the Web isn't ideal for complex tasks such as shopping. There are just too many variables going through a consumer's mind when shopping, and if you force people through a linear process, you are, in fact, encouraging shopping cart abandonment," said Darryl Gehly, vice president for Molecular. "Imagine being at the checkout line in the grocery store and realizing you forgot milk. Instead of having to run to the dairy aisle and losing your place in line, someone simply hands you the milk while you checkout. That's the type of experience we try to create with Single-Screen Checkout. With this new technology, Internet shoppers no longer have to click back-and-forth between pages. Instead, a visible cart stays with the shopper through the entire process until checkout is successfully completed, giving shoppers control to add or edit cart items without back-tracking to previous screens to make simple changes."

Single-Screen Checkout, which is a Rich Internet Application built on a service-oriented architecture, is expected to launch this month with The TJX Companies Inc., the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S. and worldwide. Recently, TJX entered e-commerce with its T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods divisions, and, respectively.

By incorporating best practices in experience design, Molecular's new Commerce Experience Optimization offering provides clients whose sites include commerce engines with robust solutions designed to improve revenue generation and profitability through more effective, user-centered experiences. With Commerce Experience Optimization, service providers can increase customer satisfaction with the shopping experience, and give users a sense of control by making the process clear and convenient.

Molecular's User Experience Design/Redesign services improve online interactions to enhance the utility, performance, and satisfaction with the Web channel. Molecular consultants seek to deliver a highly functional site which reflects a thorough understanding of customer needs and expectations, not the organization's internal structure or preferences for how customers should behave. Relying on best practices in visual design, information architecture and usability principles, Molecular's User Experience Design/Redesign offering delivers highly accessible, practical applications in the context of engaging Internet experiences.

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