Without question, Crate & Barrel’s checkout experience is a competitive advantage when contrasted against other furniture retailers.  Their checkout experience clearly echoes the beautiful, modern home products that they produce. Their conversion experience is reduced to its most basic parts and clearly speaks to the minimalist brand they’ve built over the years.

Let’s look deeper into how their checkout flow is structured.  C&B uses a six-step checkout process to move customers from prospect to paying customer:

  1. The Shopping Cart
  2. Account Creation/Guest Checkout
  3. Shipping Information
  4. Delivery Options
  5. Billing Address, Payment
  6. Order Review

In each step, C&B injects some subtle details that make their checkout experience more  enjoyable. Let’s break it down step by step:

Step 1. The Shopping Cart

  • Emphasize Security Early
    C&B wastes no time in reassuring their prospective customers that this is a secure checkout experience. I like how they are alleviating any uncertainty in the 1st second some one hits this page.
  • Transparent Shipping Costs
    High shipping costs are the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment. C&B chooses to put an estimate of shipping costs in front of the customer immediately. Most retailers wait until the last step of checkout to show shipping costs. Don’t make this mistake.
  • Clear, Distinct Calls to Action
    C&B’s checkout flow moves from left to right and their “Proceed to Checkout” steps are clearly differentiated from other options on the page. They use a unique color for their CTA and customer’s eyes are immediately drawn to it.

Step 2. Account Creation/Guest Checkout

  • No Account Necessary
    Surprisingly, many online retailers still require users to create an account before they can check out. It’s a fast way to lose new customers. C&B rightly provides a way for customers to check out without going through an account creation process.


Step 3. Shipping Information

  • Clear Steps to Completion
    I like how C&B provides a clear indication as to where I am in the checkout process.  My current step is clearly highlighted and I know exactly what’s left to complete before I’m done.
  • Zip Code Validation
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve entered the wrong zip code into a checkout form only to have the entire form reset. It’s a frustrating experience. Some thing I don’t like about this page is that none of the form data is validated in-line. I have to click “Continue” before I’m notified of any mistakes. Despite this, C&B does a nice job of presenting me with options to correct my mistake if I mess up the zip code field.


Step 4. Delivery Options

  • Hidden Non-Critical Elements
    C&B hides elements of the checkout process that aren’t relevant to the majority of their customers. In this case, they hide “Gift Options” in a slider that only reveals if the user opts to interact with it.
  • Clear Shipping Costs
    Again, C&B reassures me that the shipping costs they gave me earlier are in fact accurate based on my shipping zip code. There will be no surprises when I get to the final step.


Step 5.  Payment Options

  • Visually Reinforce Accepted Payments
    Though it would have been a pleasant surprise if C&B had detected my card type as I entered my card number, I do like how they provide visual confirmation of their accepted payment types.
  • Carry Data Forward
    C&B does a nice job of using data that they captured earlier in checkout to streamline this step. They brought forward both my name for the “Name on Card” field, but also have brought over my shipping address too. If they’re lucky, most customers will be shipping to their billing address and this feature will make checkout even easier.

Step 6. Order Review

  • Clear Call to Action
    There’s isn’t much to say about the final step of their checkout flow. If a customer has made it this far, there’s a pretty good chance that they are ready to convert. C&B does a nice job of giving customers a big clear target to finish up.

What do you think of C&B’s checkout experience? Is there anything that you would change?

Mike Arsenault
Mike Arsenault is the Founder & CEO of Rejoiner. He works with 350+ online retail & eCommerce companies like Hydroflask, Footjoy, GUESS, and Big Chill to help them grow faster using lifecycle email. He also once lived aboard a 36' sailboat in Boston.