A New Checkout Experience – Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout Experience

Paypal is the only payment button that is still available on most Magento store cart pages. So Visa Checkout is making a push into the market with their newly designed and responsive checkout experience.

What I like about Visa Checkout

  • mostly everyone has atleast one Visa card
  • it’s an alternative to Paypal which not everyone takes
  • I trust Visa because I use the physical card all the time

The Visa Checkout experience is indeed fully responsive. And it keeps the user on your site. So it does NOT take them to another site like Paypal has for years. Though Paypal’s has recently launched an in-context checkout and login extension for Magento.

What I’m not sure of with Visa Checkout

  • how their adoption rate is going to be – this makes the biggest difference
  • if they can track devices and browsers via cookies so you don’t have to keep logging in
  • if merchants can get all the data they need regarding shipping, billing, and shipping method they need from this experience

Very excited to see this take form. Hopefully with some more videos like the one below, they can get people to sign up.

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Threadless ecommerce web design features fun add to cart

Threadless has always been an inspiration site for learning ecommerce  web design principles. One of the first stores to go responsive. One of the first to implement flat UI styling. And one of the first to just be fun.

Threadless’s add to cart functionality is fun because it’s cute. They take a user experience that is mundane to something that makes you smile. You can’t help but smile when you see a cart have a persona and it’s animated (yes, the cart’s face motions are animated).

And their add to cart popup is not obtrusive. If you wait a few seconds, it just goes away on it’s own. Unlike most Magento add to cart popups which stay on the screen until the user takes action.

Threadless My Cart Popup

Have you come across an add to cart experience that is engaging and fun? Or are they just plain boring!!

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Card Verification Value (CVV): Is it required?

Over the past several years, one more field got added to everyone’s online checkout experience: Card Verification Value also known as CVV/CVV2*. You might recognize it as the 3 little digits on the back of your VISA / Mastercard.

Card Verification Value

Every year we tend to be adding another required form element to the checkout. First it was phone numbers, then agreeing to long drawn out Terms of Services, next came entering nine digits for you zip code instead of five, and now a three digit CVV code that you have to turn your card to find.

Do we really need it? Is it required?

No. It’s absolutely not required for e-commerce stores to collect and pass this value to their gateway. It’s an optional input that is strongly advised. Maybe a little forcibly.

So why are we all asking our customers for it?

In short, to protect against a possible fraud. CVV was invented as an additional layer of security for online businesses who don’t have a physical card they hold and transact. So the CVV was a security feature for “card not present” transactions.

Any data out there proving how much it’s actually protecting us? None that I can find. I’ve asked my bank and I’ve googled for it. No results at all. But still mentioned as a “good to have” feature.

The Seth Godin Principle

If it’s an inconvenience for the 99.9% of people buying something from you and only .1% are causing a problem, don’t punish the 99.9%.

Best Practices Recommendation

First see how many transactions your store processes that are actually fraudulent. you can ask your gateway or view your gateway’s error logs. Mismatches may be the result of typographical errors or failure of the issuing bank to support CVV checking. So find out how many actual transactions tried to process with a fake credit card.

If very little to none, opt out of CVV. And remove an extra form field from your checkout.

*CVV/CVV2 can also go by a multitude of other names and acronyms: card security code (CSC), card verification data (CVD), card verification number (CVN), card verification value (CVV or CVV2), card verification value code (CVVC), verification code (V-code or V code), card code verification (CCV), or signature panel code (SPC)

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Magento Responsive E-Commerce Design: SkinnyTies

SkinnyTies was the highlight of Magento Imagine 2013 boasting as the best Magento responsive e-commerce site design. And it was rightly deserved.

Beyond following design trends like responsive and flat UI, what Skinnyties has done phenomenally well is sticking to mobile rules:

  • big clear selectors/buttons that a fat finger can still push down on.
  • keeping primary CTA’s above the scrolling fold
  • retina-sized images of products

Whether looking through collection or category pages:

SkinnyTies Category Menu

Whether adding a product to the cart:

SkinnyTies Product Page Mobile

Or whether going from the cart to the checkout:

Skinnyties My Cart Mobile

Any mobile e-commerce sites you’ve seen recently follow these uber simple mobile rules?


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Awesome Checkout Releases: v1.4.4 – v1.4.0

We’ve had a few releases of Awesome Checkout while doing our site redesign that led us to not posting about them. But since we’re back up, we wanted to let our customers know about v1.4.4 and releases leading up to it from v1.3.0.

Here’s the list of release notes for each of the releases:


  • respect Magento configuration for allowing State to be optional for certain countries
  • update shipping totals in Progress Box 3 as soon as shipping method is selected
  • enhanced UI for returning customers who choose to use a Saved Address
  • added a slight delay to doing a city/state/country lookup from zipcode to prevent firing of duplicate events
  • fixed small bug with security badges not showing for certain customers
  • fixed small bug with undefined id in shipping:postcode focus event listener


  • Fixed bugs in validations on shipping address
  • Performance Improvements
  • Fixed the bug where more than one action was needed moving to payment step


  • a bug whereby activating layout cache would render the checkout inoperable
  • a bug where the paypal logo was not showing in progress box 2 in some cases
  • a bug where the updated total at the end of first step was not calculated correctly for cases where user refreshes browser after moving to step 2
  • improvement to progress box 3 – the shipping cost is no longer “0″ in case of virtual products. was not needed to state “0″
  • improves the experience if the customer has no address saved, then customer’s name is now auto-filled from the account settings (if available)
  • improvement to step 1 – the email address field does not get cleared if a guest refreshes browser.


  • Store credit bug fixed
  • Virtual products bug fixed


  • Virtual products support
  • Combining Step 1A and 1B
  • Estimate shipping based on location or address saved
  • Better support for handling new/existing users with ability to checkout as guest or register with the option of selecting password as well
  • Support for latest Sagepay module
  • Mobile friendly keyboard usage
  • CSS animation for highlighting changes in prices
  • Agreements modal box
  • Option to subscribe user to magento newsletter option
  • Phone number field is optional
  • Improvements in zipcode autofill
  • Design tweaks and bug fixes
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