Best online checkout

The other day we were trying to work out the shipping rate of some DVD's that we were thinking about purchasing. We clicked through the website and couldn't find any shipping rates so we thought the best way to obtain this information was to go through the checkout process and find the shipping price in the final screen. During this time we realised how much information we had to give just to order the product.

First of all we had to create a new account. We used the usernames asdfasdf and asdf1234 in which both were taken, finally asdfqwer worked. During the next four pages of forms we were asked for our first name, last name, email address, country, phone number, alternative phone number, fax number, billing address, delivery address, confirmation screen for address, another screen for additional details and finally a credit card form plus it showed our IP Address as though customers really need to know that.

The word privacy written on paper with a hand covering itWhy should we provide all this information when all we wanted to do was to buy a DVD. When we visit a supermarket we don't provide any details, if we're buying a t-shirt from a clothes store we provide no personal details, if we're filling up our car with petrol, again no personal details. All around us are shops that we visit and purchase goods without the store asking where we are from and what our home telephone number is. We go in, buy the product and leave.

There is no need for checkout processes to be so difficult on the web. We believe the first page of a checkout should ask for the delivery address and the credit details. Once that is done, your product is purchased and sent. It's as simple as that. The online stores need to allow users to visit the website, purchase a product and leave, just like real life. We shouldn't have to sign up and we don't always need to provide a telephone number. We should be asked for the minimum amount of information for the purchase to succeed which is the delivery address and the credit card information.

Once purchasing the product, we should be given the option to give more information, but we should never have to provide this upfront.