5 Steps to Creating the Perfect Mobile Checkout

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With e-commerce such a critical tool for businesses today, it’s vital to pay special attention to checkout page optimization. Checkout is a bottleneck where the customer makes the final decision—to buy or not to buy. That’s the question: will they complete the transaction, or will they abandon the cart?

Based on market-wide statistics, TechJury reports $2 to $4 trillion lost to cart abandonment annually. While this amounts to a huge number of sales falling through, it also demonstrates how big is the untapped conversion potential.

Prospects may be leaving items in their carts due to poor experiences or difficulty using the web or mobile app. Baymard Institute has studied close to 1,800 U.S. consumers’ responses and found out that complicated mobile checkout experience drives away almost a third of online shoppers.

Checkout pages are often a necessary hurdle for customers, and digital retailers should apply consistent effort to alleviate any potential stress for their online crowds. Not frequently cited among e-commerce development services, checkout optimization needs to be done cautiously by translating the best practices of marketing and usability into technology. This is subject to intense research, yet even minor tweaks can often produce considerable results.

Why Mobile Checkout Pages Are So Challenging

When mobile commerce first emerged, mobile apps and mobile e-commerce websites often followed the same basic design philosophy as desktop web apps. However, this legacy approach often resulted in poor user experience. Quite simply, small touchscreens work in a completely different way than a desktop screen and mouse or keyboard input.

Fortunately, the mobile app industry is constantly evolving. Facing a fundamental paradigm shift in how consumers interact with brands online, savvy developers started learning how to maximize m-commerce sales through incremental user interface (UI) improvements. Much of that comes down to optimizing mobile checkouts, the cornerstone of digital shopping.

The following is five key steps to take in order to model mobile checkouts according to consumers’ expectations.

1. Understand the Difficulties of Touch Input on a Small Screen

With only a few square inches of real estate, the touchscreen presents numerous UI challenges. The screen is too small and the human finger too thick and imprecise. Buttons and links can be next to impossible to click without cumbersome zoom-in.

Fortunately, this yields some straightforward solutions. Web designers can make buttons easier to click by enlarging them. Buttons should be at least as large as the average thumb pad, and there should be nothing else clickable nearby. As for links, it’s best to avoid them altogether: It’s easier than making them click-friendly.

Everything else that visitors need to interact with should be easy to tap with a finger. Fonts should be large enough for customers to read the text without zooming in. With the smartphone screen space at such a premium, it’s vital to make sure every pixel is put to good use.

2. Design for One-Handed Input

It’s rare that people interact with their phones using both hands at once—most of the times because the other hand will be holding a latte. Jokes aside, designing for one-handed input is important if you want to maximize the value of each consumer interaction.

However, one-handed use presents special challenges because the area that the user’s fingers can reach is rather limited, usually to about two-thirds of the screen at most. For this reason, you should first identify the most easily reachable areas and put the critical UI elements there.

3. Optimize Forms for Mobile Use

When possible, forms should be avoided during mobile checkout. One way to address this is to enable auto-fills. Have customers sign up and complete their account information so that their data, including payment, shipping, and personal details, can be automatically filled in. This way, mobile checkout can be reduced to a few simple clicks.

At the same time, the Baymard Institute study cited above also shows that an astounding 37 percent of the respondents would abandon the cart if a website asked to create an account. So while accounts and auto-fills are great, guest checkout is important as well. At the end of the checkout, you can offer guests a chance to create a user account by providing their email address and password, perhaps for a symbolic offer like a 5 percent discount on the next purchase.

Also, do not place forms side by side, since it would be difficult to reach both at the same time. Instead, stack them on top of each other so that they are within easy reach. Ultimately, if customers are stretching too much to interact with your app, they may abandon it altogether.

4. Consider Multiple Checkout Pages

When it comes to desktop web apps, the fewer clicks the better. However, with mobile apps, more pages may actually be a benefit. That’s because it’s more difficult to scroll with a smartphone than it is with a PC. While it’s important to keep pages and clicks to a minimum, it’s even more important to eliminate scrolling on mobile e-commerce sites.

To the greatest extent possible, each e-commerce page should contain all the necessary content on the first screen. If more than one screen’s worth of information is needed, it’s best to put it on another page for better navigation.

5. Always Keep Mobile UX in Mind

Front-end technologies evolve as web developers and user experience (UX) designers discover new ways to increase conversions across devices and platforms. With all this accumulated knowledge, it should be easier for your e-commerce development team to grasp mobile UX specifics.

Consider guest checkouts. From a retailer’s point of view, every account signup is great. Once the retailer has a customer’s email, they can send out newsletters and lure the customer with attractive personalized offers. In the long run, customers benefit as well. Not only do they get deals but they can also use auto-fills and check out much more quickly.

For those customers that do sign up, consider enabling one-click purchasing. Previously, Amazon had patented this feature, but the patent expired back in September 2017, so it shouldn’t hold retailers back from offering this convenient feature on their websites.

Another important consideration is security. Numerous e-commerce websites have suffered serious security breaches that have exposed consumer data. Moreover, people are naturally reticent when it comes to their payment and personal information. By displaying security badges as well as enabling HTTPS and encryption, an e-commerce provider can help customers feel safer.

Conclusion: Mobile Checkout Optimization Pays Off

With sales volumes growing globally, mobile e-commerce cannot be ignored. Smartphones are here to stay, and while they present new opportunities, they also offer distinct challenges. As such, every aspect of mobile user experience should be closely examined and optimized, with mobile checkout being at the center of such optimization efforts.  

Kate Pioryshkina is a sales manager at Iflexion. She has over eight years of experience in IT, negotiating countless development projects and an eye for bottlenecks in development that modern businesses struggle to overcome. This skill allows her to identify specific business pain points and allocate the most appropriate resources from iflexion’s talented pool of developers. "Exceeding expectations" is her professional motto. 

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