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Checkout Flows

When brands use a single frontend checkout experience, all shoppers, regardless of their individual needs, proceed through the same flow. When merchants elect to instead provide a variety of checkout experiences, they gain opportunities to optimize checkout, creating the potential for higher conversion.

Checkout flow

A checkout flow (Patent Pending) is an optimized checkout experience designed to serve a specific set of shoppers based on a set of criteria, such as the type of device they're interacting with, their screen size, or the items in the cart.

Each brand may have one or multiple checkout flows. The following diagram shows an example of some various flows a brand might have:


A frontend is any interface a user interacts with that collects the information required by the backend to process an order. For instance, a frontend can be:

  • An online form a shopper fills out.
  • The interface an employee uses during an in-store purchase.
  • The voice prompts a person replies to when placing an order with a virtual assistant.

Checkout template

A template is a frontend interface created and optimized by Bold Commerce. A template is ready to use without additional development, and Bold provides several ready-to-use checkout templates.

Checkout templates can also be used as a base for a custom frontend. Custom frontends must be accompanied by a custom backend and must be self-hosted. Brands can create any number of their own self-hosted checkout flows to meet their particular customer needs.

Flow identifier

A flow identifier is the unique string used to label a specific checkout flow and distinguishes it from other checkout flows.

The flow identifier is found in the flow_id field of each order's application_state. You can also find the flow_id on each order's Order details page in the Bold Checkout admin.

By setting the flow_id field on the order, a brand can determine whether a particular checkout experience performs better than others. Filtering metrics by flow_id enables brands to compare performance based on the checkout flow.


The flow_id is an arbitrary string, and it is up to the brand to choose particular values related to any individual checkout experiences offered.

If you do not set a flow_id, it defaults to null and is displayed as "Unassigned" in the Checkout admin.

Types of flows

With Bold Checkout, you can choose between three types of flows: Bold-hosted, self-hosted, and partner flows. The following table outlines each flow type:

Flow TypeDescriptionHosting LocationFrontend OptionsNumber of supported flows
Bold-hosted flowsStandard and optimized flows created by Bold.Hosted by Bold.One page or three page.Bold currently supports the use of only one Bold-hosted or partner flow at a time.
Self-hosted flowsCustom flows created by a merchant (or a development agency on behalf of a merchant).Hosted by merchant.Start out with the one page or three page template, or create a flow from scratch.Bold supports the use of any number of custom flows at a time.
Partner flowsFlows created by a partner for a specific platform, technology partner, or other use case.Hosted by Bold or partner.For example, a social media partner or payment partner.Bold currently supports the use of only one Bold-hosted or partner flow at a time.

Flow logic

If a store has more than one flow, a developer can implement flow logic — functionality that enables a store to evaluate the conditions of the checkout, choose which flow would be most appropriate, and display that flow to the user.

Bold does not provide flow logic capabilities, so implementing it is the responsibility of the developer.