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How Amazon Used one-click Buying to Change eCommerce

The history of one-click buying

One-click buying – the bane of many an online impulse shopper – was introduced by Amazon in 1999 to streamline their checkout process. It was an ecommerce technology that had never been used before – a novel way to buy a product with one simple, convenient click. There was no longer a need to fill in order form details or shipping information every time a product was purchased from an online store.

Steve Jobs was so taken aback by one-click when he first used it in 2000 that immediately licensed the patent for $1 million to streamline Apple’s own online shopping experience. This move – one very much on-brand for Apple – involved a cost that was otherwise prohibitive (and likely shocking) to most online stores at the time.

It can’t be said that Amazon changed their own business and ecommerce as a whole overnight, though. In 1999 Amazon was only an online bookseller – a mere shadow of the commercial juggernaut it resembles today. One-click buy was aided with the introduction of a suite of innovative ecommerce innovations, such as the fast shipping, easy return policies and low prices to help build Amazon into what it resembles today.

How Is One-Click A True Online Innovation?

On paper one-click buying might seem like a relatively minor way to help consumers during the checkout process. Ease of use goes a long way, however – customers not having to fill in their details directly tackled one of the major pitfalls of online spending: shopping-cart abandonment.

Statistics Portal Statista demonstrate that in 2006, 59.8% of shoppers abandoned their cart. This statistic only grew over time, increasing to 69.23% in 2017. Despite many of these abandonments being attributed to users browsing with no intention to buy (we’ve all been there), genuine abandonments can occur as a result of shipping prices, high cost prices, or the need to create an account.

With cart abandonment increasing reliably every year, one-click offered Amazon a unique buffer. It is estimated that one-click increased Amazon sales by approximately 5 percent annually, and although this figure may sound small, this figure netted Amazon approximately $2.4 billion annually – more than enough to offset rising customer indecision during checkout.

The Future of One-Click

Amazon’s 18 year control over one-click ecommerce payments concluded on September 12, 2017. With the patent expired, ecommerce stores were finally able to implement this streamlined checkout process (despite not being able to use the still copyrighted “one-click” wording of the process).

This development couldn’t have come at a better time for these online stores as more purchases are being made on mobile platforms, having an easy to use checkout method is invaluable for online stores. It is also of a huge benefit to ecommerce software developers such as Shopify who rely heavily on streamlined checkout process for the benefit of customers using the platform.

Will Amazon be feeling the financial impact of their hallowed patent expiration and widespread one-click adoption? It is likely not the case, considering the company’s desire to implement innovations that will once continue to change the future of ecommerce.

Like the idea of predictive AI organising the delivery of needed groceries to your door? Amazon may very well have just the solution for you in the near future.

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