Next month e-commerce will change forever thanks to Amazon. September 12 marks 20 years since Amazon filed for their 1-Click patent. This means that the patent will expire and the technology behind it will be free to be used by any e-commerce site. Starting next month more and more sites will be offering a one click checkout experience. Most major sites have already started development with plans to launch soon after the patent expires.
History behind the patent
Amazon applied for the 1-Click patent in September of 1997, the actual patent was granted in 1999. The whole idea behind the patent is when you store a user’s credit card and address you only need a single click to order a product. For the last 20 years Amazon has kept a tight hold on this technology, they have only licensed it to one company Apple. No one knows what Apple paid to license the technology, but the value of the patent has been assessed at 2.4 billion dollars by sources. Over the last 20 years Amazon has defended the validity of the patent in several cases, even having to revise the patent at one point. But, now the wait is almost over and this technology is about to make it into the open market.
Not a one page checkout
The one click checkout is not to be confused with a one page checkout. With a one page checkout all of the account, checkout, and payment information is on one page. With a one click checkout a user is sent straight from the product (or category) page to the order confirmation page. No clicking through any steps or accepting any charges, one click from a product page and an order is placed. The user will land directly on the order confirmation page. Order placed, once click and done.
Merchants listen up
If you are a merchant, this can be a huge opportunity for you. With the holiday season right around the corner who does not want to offer their customers a quicker, easier way to checkout? You can reduce the friction of going through a whole checkout process down to just one button press from a product page. Look at the image below, pressing the buy now button will take a user directly to an order confirmation page and charge their payment method.
Not all credit card processors have the technology to support a one click checkout system. Some that we know that have the technology are:
- First Data
- Paypal Pro
These are the ones we have worked with in the past that we know use a card vault. Others likely support it too, so if you know another processor that uses a card vault let us know. The card vault is the key to the frictionless payment. Customers store their card to use it later, that is one of the keys to the one click checkout process.
How serious is this?
It is serious enough that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has started writing a draft proposal for one click buying methods. They have recruited some of the top companies in the industry like Google, Apple, and Facebook to help come up with a set of specifications. Google has already implemented some of the standards in its Chrome and Chrome Mobile browsers, with more likely to come in the future. They have proposed ways of storing cards and address data in the browser and letting the browser communicate directly with your payment gateway to send the card or bank information. Sounds pretty useful doesn’t it?
What are we doing?
We realize that is technology is important to our merchants. This is something that will change e-commerce in a major way over the next year. We have already started on a framework to extend the thirty bees 1.0.x branch to allow for single click buying. We are developing a module that will allow payment modules to hook into it, so that developers can extend their payment modules to work with a single click buying. We are going to develop several of these modules in house, such as the Stripe module and a couple of other modules. We are also going to release a couple tutorials on how to hook into the single click checkout module, so that developers will be able to easily update their modules to support the new system.