Guest Blogger: Cheryl Barton is a professional Content Marketer, an inspired author, and social media enthusiast. She loves to learn and share the latest digital marketing updates and trends. When she isn't working she likes to learn French, watch French comedies or reread "Little Prince". You can contact her on Facebook and Twitter.
If you think about it for a moment, it seems amazing how fast mobile phones have evolved into fully-fledged, multifaceted work and leisure stations that are smartphones. This technological leap was a shot in the arm for many industries.
But if there is one industry that benefited the most from the rise of the smartphones and mobile revolution, it is probably ecommerce.
No wonder; an industry built around the concept of “buying things online” always strives for streamlining and maximum efficiency of the process. That is especially the case for small businesses for whom every element of the customer journey is at stake: overall user experience, conversions and subsequent purchases.
And for the longest time the biggest ecommerce challenge on the mobile platform was the checkout process.
What’s the Problem With Mobile Checkout?
Checkout is one of the key elements of performing the ultimate goal of an ecommerce operation — purchase. It is a page or a series of pages that cover various aspects of the purchase, such as selecting products in the cart, verifying credit card number, shipping address, and finally, paying for the products. Checkout is designed to double check every element of the purchase equation so that there will be no unfortunate mistakes.
While the concept of the checkout is a completely reasonable thing, it also gained some notoriety due to being a factor in the customer abandonment of the purchase. Why? The short answer to this question is because it is too complicated.
Let me elaborate. While being a necessary part of the purchase process, checkout is not always designed with clarity and brevity in mind. According to research by The App Solution, unoptimized checkout accounts for four out of ten reasons customers are abandoning their purchases midway through. In the bigger picture, that figure grows up to 30% of all cart abandonment cases.
In some cases, checkout is just a bunch of stuff thrown together. In other cases, checkout is a labyrinth of a page after page, seemingly without an end. In both cases, checkout is doing self-sabotage, actively preventing them from accomplishing their own goal. This is not something any ecommerce entrepreneur would want.
Because of that peculiar oversight, instead of letting the customer check the accuracy of the order and the payment, checkout may move him or her away from the purchase, which can quickly become a big problem for a small business.
And while checkout is hard on the desktops - it is even more sensitive subject when it comes to the mobile platform.
Hopefully, we have a couple of tips on how to make Mobile Checkout work.
How to Make Mobile Checkout Work
Break the Checkout process into several stages.
There are two common types of ecommerce checkout, one-page and multi-page. The thing with mobile checkout is that one-page checkout doesn’t work in mobile in the majority of cases. It is just way too much stuff to handle on one tiny screen.
And yet some folks keep on putting it onto their marketplaces as if it was a good idea. And so they get the cart abandonment ratios sky-high and the business taking a nasty nosedive.
Multi-page checkout is a much more reasonable format for the mobile platform, due to pace and design convenience.
You can break the process into the logical chunks and keep everything within a couple of touches (and probably a couple of swipes), and design in an intuitively accessible manner.
Use Automatic Data Filling / Detection
Typing on a mobile phone, especially on a touch keyboard, is a dubious process riddled with mistakes and frustrations. These things are an irritation, and that is something you really don’t want your customer to experience, especially at the checkout stage.
However, there is a solution; auto-fill and auto-detect wherever it is possible. Auto-fill is a good way of streamlining and simplifying the checkout process to its bare essentials. For example, you can identify the country of the customer via geotargeting features, and it can help with handling the shipping part of the deal.
The downside of this approach is that first-time customers still need to fill in the blanks with their information. After passing that stage, an account can be created to fill in as many fields as possible for future purchases.
Keep the progress bar visible
One of the reasons customers keep on bouncing off the purchases during the checkout is because of impatience caused by the seemingly endless process of validating one element of the purchase after another.
While there is limited practical use of a progress bar in the checkout process, it plays an important role in marking every step of the journey toward a purchase. This will keep customers’ patience intact and will ward off thoughts of leaving.
Because of that, it is reasonable to make the progress bar visible, with the option of going back at every point.
Think about the thumb
One of the reasons customers keep abandoning purchases mid-way through is because the whole checkout process requires too many inconvenient and uncomfortable movements that often cause needless irritation and frustration. In other words, the thumb just can’t reach all the stuff.
Because of that, it is reasonable to keep the checkout design scheme adapted to the touchscreen areas.
Here’s how it works. Place the most important elements of checkout in the areas that are easy to access with a thumb. The static element of the page can be placed in the out of reach areas, while optional fields or information can be placed in the areas that can be accessed with an effort.
This approach will make smooth up the checkout process and make it relatively seamless.
Touch Keyboard Optimization
Another reason mobile checkout fails to deliver is that the input of information is complicated by an inconsistent and unbalanced appearance of input fields.
Here’s the thought process that occurs in such cases: if I can’t even enter the information required for the purchase, why bother doing it?
There are several problems that might occur. Let’s count them down:
- The field is too small to select
- The fields are jam-packed together in one place and it is hard to get the one you need
- The fields are left with no designation as to which one is for which.
Such issues often seem like a bad joke at the checkout stage and cause stress where it is not needed.
Add Final Confirmation Screen
While adding another screen to the checkout process seems to counterproductive, there is a reason why it is justified. Upon completing the checkout, customers often have doubts whether every single bit of information is correct and if there are any inconsistencies in the purchase.
In some cases, this may lead to an abandonment, and that is something that can be easily avoided by adding one final screen with all relevant information for the customer to check.
Basically, it is just a total order page with the product price, shipping, taxes, and overall fee figures. It can also include an approximate shipping date and some other optional information.
In many ways, mobile checkout is something of a secret weapon for the ecommerce marketplace. If done right, mobile checkout can be a nice, easy, stress-free experience. If implemented poorly, they can deter your customers from making purchases.
However, with these handy tips, you will be able to make mobile checkout smooth and sweet and avoid the perils of cart abandonment with a power of mighty design.