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As mobile devices are becoming more accessible to a wider demographic of consumers and as mobile shoppers are becoming more confident, we’re seeing steady growth in the amount of people making purchases on their smartphones and tablets. 

However, conversion rates lag behind those on other devices, and the checkout can be one of the biggest barriers to mobile commerce.

Research from IMRG and Capgemini found that 23% of all online retail sales in Q2 2013 came from mobile devices and interestingly, while tablets account for 85% of all mobile sales to date, smartphones have seen a greater rate of growth in mobile transactions. 

YOY Growth: Total e-Retail & e-Retail excluding mobile

With the consumerisation of IT, people are now more sophisticated than ever when it comes to mobile and expect a good user experience when shopping on smartphones and tablets.

According to the Jumio Consumer Mobile Insights study, users will abandon their mobile baskets if the checkout process is too long or too difficult to navigate on the device. This is why it is so important for retailers to implement a smooth mobile payment process when it comes to mobile apps and the mobile web, as well as responsive websites.  

Simple design

When thinking about delivering a great mobile web or native app shopping experience, it’s best to take a mobile-first approach. This means starting from scratch when it comes to mobile.

The mobile shopping experience is very different to the desktop shopping experience so marketers need to be understanding of mobile shopping behaviours in order to create a seamless mobile payment experience. 

Findings from IAB Research in 2012 show that the home is the most widely used location for mobile activity. But it’s important to remember that people are still using their mobile devices while on the move as well. Marketers need to find the right balance when thinking about the different types of devices content is viewed on and where.

This means analysing the situations users are in when using their mobile devices and the behaviours they adopt in those contexts. 

A simple design should make it easy for consumers to find what they are looking for. The key is ensuring users have a good mobile experience. Keeping an app or mobile website simple is key to providing a smooth payment process. 

Don't redirect to pay

When users are redirected from an app to a web page to finish their transaction it disrupts the payment process.

Consumers expect web pages to load quickly and being redirected outside of an app could lead to a loss of a sale, not only this but it might make consumers feel worried about the security of the payment if they are being redirected to somewhere unfamiliar. 

Seek relevant info at the right time

By the time the user reaches the checkout screen, it’s likely they are going to continue with the transaction, unless of course the process isn’t made easy for them. No one wants to be greeted with a really long form to fill in. Brands can always request additional information at a later stage.

Some companies are now making it easy to integrate secure payment systems that only ask for the relevant information ensuring the user’s time isn’t wasted. 

The key details needed to process transactions online are the delivery and billing address, as well as the long card number, expiry date and CVV number. Clearly labelling what needs to go in each of the form fields and in what format is also important; some users may not know what a CVV number is or they might not know whether to include spaces in between their card number for example.

Threadless does this well by instructing the user exactly what needs to go in each form field.

Threadless mobile website 

Create seamless transitions between screens

Keep the user informed

Ensuring the user knows exactly where they are and how long they have left before the process is complete will decrease the chance of drop offs. Including a progress bar helps in most cases and a lot of retailers already do this.

Topshop mobile checkout

Show clear delivery options

Make sure the user knows exactly how much their delivery costs and when the product will be delivered. A survey conducted by Econsultancy and TolunaQuick found that 74% of shoppers would abandon a purchase if delivery charges were too high - this shows how important it is to show delivery costs from the beginning so the user isn’t misguided.

The John Lewis iPhone app shows clear delivery options for each product with the option to click for further details.

John Lewis mobile app checkout

Checkout as a guest

Making users register an account before they checkout is a proven way of reducing conversion rates. As mentioned earlier, no one wants to waste their time filling in unnecessary form fields just to register in order to make a purchase and there is clear evidence for this. ASOS managed to halve its abandonment rate on the registration page by removing any mentions of creating an account.

Remove distractions at checkout

By the time the user has reached the checkout, they are probably going to want to buy.

Brands no longer need to attract the user’s attention so the checkout area can be kept minimal, only showing the required fields so as not to distract the user from the checkout process. 

Communicate security assurances

Consumers need to feel protected throughout the checkout process and know that their debit or credit card information is completely secure. According to a 2013 white paper on basket abandonment by Jumio, the top reason for users failing to complete a mobile transaction is not feeling comfortable entering credit card information. 

The key to making sure customers feel safe is providing constant reassurances as well as providing alternative payment options, like PayPal for example, which doesn’t involve the user sharing card details directly. Make sure there is always an encrypted connection for users at the final checkout page and use padlocks and familiar logos to communicate the site is secure. 

According to the Jumio Mobile Insights Study, abandonment of mobile transactions is at a level of around 66%. This figure is so high for a number of reasons, the main one being that many consumers are still cautious when making payments on mobile devices. What we can do as marketers is encourage a secure shopping environment and make the checkout process as easy and as smooth as possible. 

Clair O'Neill

Published 13 January, 2014 by Clair O'Neill

Clair O'Neill is Marketing Assistant at mubaloo and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow on Twitter and Google Plus, or connect via LinkedIn

13 more posts from this author

Comments (2)



When it comes to mobile checkout one of the biggest mistakes I believe is when sites add in the verified by Visa / Securecode checks.

This has an adverse effect on conversions for several reasons.

The first of which is that it adds another step to the checkout process
Secondly the actual verified by visa screens are not mobile optimised

If you are looking for best practice when it comes to mobile checkout look no further than Amazon, it's quick and simple which is what consumers want when they are mobile and time poor.

Be interested in hearing others thoughts on this

almost 3 years ago


Martin Wilson

As specialist in mobile web services, we see a whole range of elements that impact dramatically on the performance of a service. Many are well before checkout.

Design. Yes, simplicity is key. The term ‘Responsive’ is hugely abused. Deliver a service that is geared to the user. Services that are ‘Audience and Device Aware’ are the way brands should be thinking. Deliver what the user wants / needs and make sure it works on the device that they are using.

On mobile. Make a good impression in 5 seconds or risk losing a customer. A homepage needs to provide a strong reference point to the consumer. Simple elements like placing content below the fold is very bad on mobile.

Elements to avoid: slow download, scrolling, unnecessary clicks, continual page downloads, large sized, images, premium rate phone numbers, links to pages that are not optimised for mobile - all will have a dramatic effect on usability and lose customers.

Get the service basics right, you can then start to focus on the actual sale conversion ratio. There are a number of elements that will help dramatically increase the results. These include the Payment provider you use and the integration approach.

A specialist in mobile can help guide a brand through these.

almost 3 years ago

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