Vistaprint has an interesting order and checkout process. There is lots of cross-sell and a decent amount of persuasion tactics used.

A few years ago, the website was all sorts of wrong, as Graham Charlton detailed, beaten only by GoDaddy.

Things have moved on and I must say that I don’t think it’s too complicated any more. There are a number of steps to the order process and to the checkout process but that was to be expected when designing a customised t-shirt (my chosen product).

Cross-sell and upsell is now presented on pages where I already feel assured the design process is going well.

Mainly there was a lot of clear information and some fairly persuasive copy and design techniques which I think has been judged correctly.

However, the company must be careful to keep cross-sell relevant. After being offered similar products, stationery and the like, I was then offered website builds and marketing services. This felt wrong and made me think the process might become more tiresome. If I was busier, I could have abandoned at this point.

See what you think of each stage of the order process..

First I select my style, note the discount which is featured here and elsewhere, making sure I know I’m getting a bargain.

Then I have to select a design.

Note that I’m reminded once again of a discount should I order today. Nice urgency-creating tactics.

Once I’ve selected a design I upload my custom image and Vistaprint handily allows me to ‘save for later’.

This is an important addition to a potentially time-consuming process. There’s less chance I’ll crash and burn.

Once I’ve confirmed the design for the front, I’m upsold the back design with some nice copy.

The reverse side may be seen first – make yours stand out!

There’s also a nice checkbox system, making me think I’ve already got the front design for free and I only have to pay £1.24 more to get a designed back of the tee shirt, too.

This is fairly persuasive stuff.

I decide not to choose a design for the back of the tee and next I’m presented with a ‘you’re almost done’ message and invited to sign off the online proof.

I feel assured by this page, so Vistaprint takes another opportunity to say ‘are you sure you don’t want that back design for £1.24?

So, now the order process is complete. Here I could shop on if I wish.

I am encouraged by the message ‘you have already saved £3.12!’

On this page I’m also encouraged for the checkout process to follow as I’m assured I can shop with confidence’ by a satisfaction guarantee and various payment service logos.

Admittedly some kind of trust-e tag or similar would have been more assuring.

Onwards and now I’m into the real cross-sell territory. From the breadcrumb trail, I can see I’m in for four pages off the stuff and to be honest, that’s maybe too much in most stores. However, because I’ve designed a t-shirt and am happy so far, and the checkout process is working nicely, I didn’t experience too much pain.

I just clicked through. However, the irrelevant cross-sell stuck in the craw a little bit.

I’m sure conversions for single purchases would increase if some of this was removed. In the long run though, these cross-sell sections may be driving revenue as people shop further on their company cards.

Here are the products I’m offered, using information and files I’ve already entered or uploaded. It’s compelling stuff but is it too much?

Cross-sell page one

Cross-sell page two

Cross-sell page three

This is when it starts to feel mis-judged.

Cross-sell page four

Wow, do I not need this! Franking machines, ads in the phone book, it goes on.

Yes, I understand customers may not be aware of the Vistaprint catalogue, but they don’t need to thrust each business product at me.

Now I’m ready for the checkout. I’m not going to detail all of it, but there’s a nice initial touch. When I click between delivery options, the calls to action change, directing me to what just a few more pounds will get me.

I wasn’t prominently given delivery charges before the order process, which I think can be improved, but I like this dynamic messaging on delivery selection.

Let me know what you think of this kind of cross-sell below.

Ben Davis

Published 23 January, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (7)

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I use Vistaprint on regular basis for my clients' business cards. I find quality, ease of using their software and delivery process very good but I must say that I always sign as I know what is coming - many pages I have to go through before the last click. The cross sell is (a) too much (b) not always relevant (c) sometimes makes me want to abandon the order. The same goes for the vast amount of emails I receive afterwards, I always unsubscribe on the first one as they would be filling up my inbox too often. There is a subtle cross selling and there is spamming. I would put them into the spamming category.

over 4 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Thanks for commenting! I can see how regular use of Vistaprint would hurt.

I did receive a very prompt abandon cart email, which seemed too prompt. Waiting a day or two might work better, though they did send a well-presented email showing me what product I had abandoned and how I could pick up where I left off.

Interestingly, even the abandon cart email had some cross-sell in it, so it's obvious a big part of their marketing.

over 4 years ago



There's a "go to cart" button in the screenshot you provided that you failed to call attention to.

over 4 years ago


Dan W, Digital Marketing / Ecommerce / Optimisation Professional at Personal

Nice content marketing guys - I'd love an econsultancy t-shirt! Where can I get one?

over 4 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Maybe we should start an ecommerce venture with our own clothing lines. Put our money where our mouths are.

Until then....Vistaprint.

over 4 years ago


Michael Banner

VistaPrint's check-out process is actually a good example of how a company can make additional profits in an ultra-competitive & price-sensitive market. Were you an actual buyer and not researching your article, you would not have been attracted to say a $29 tee shirt offer, but at $9, including logos, you would be interested. Likewise, were VP making a $20 extra profit per tee shirt, they would be less inclined to cross-sell. This too is why buyers will not mind a company cross-selling, if relevant: they know they are getting a good deal.

Dell for years has done something similar, and it hasn't seemed to turn people away.

I believe, based on the example given, VP is executing well while not making the check-out process too cumbersome.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

@Joshua - the go to cart button is there, but it seems to be deliberately less prominent than the alternatives.

@Michael I guess only Vistaprint knows whether this works and, if it's testing and using analytics, it may know exactly how much it can 'annoy' customers without deterring them. This is typical practice in such a sector, but it would be unwise to use such tactics for other ecommerce sectors.

over 4 years ago

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