Sheri Hebbeln
October 2, 2014 | eCommerce , Site Design and Management | Sheri Hebbeln

Delivering Better Mobile Sales by Improving Checkout

Everyone is going mobile these days. There's a greater likelihood that many of your customers are viewing your site from a mobile device of some kind. However, it may seem like you're not getting a lot of sales via mobile. You're not alone in this, for marketing firm cloud.IQ reported that the current cart abandonment rate for smartphones is 84 percent. However, it may not be the store design itself that's turning them away but the checkout process. The problem is that what works for a desktop when consumers finally make the decision to buy something won't be effective at all in a mobile setting. This calls for making the mobile navigation different from your primary website so that it won't hinder sales.

Getting the right touch
Designing stores for mobile is quite different from regular Web design because the devices have smaller screens and usually run on a touch interface.. As a consequence, processes that could work for desktops and laptops, such as a quantity dropdown menu or a multi-step checkout, would become very tedious on a smartphone or tablet. Reducing the steps necessary to complete the transaction will make it more likely for consumers to convert into sales.

This is especially the case if the shopper has to fill out all his or her information in a form, including shipping and billing addresses. What Smashing Magazine recommends is reducing the amount of required information that needs to be filled out. For example, consumers aren't likely to care about email offers while on their smartphone, nor do they really read the terms and conditions of purchasing. All that is needed is the name, email, phone number, shipping address, and credit card information. Reducing the number of forms can make it possible to complete everything on one page. In another report, Smashing Magazine also recommends disabling mobile autocorrect during the form-filling stage, which can be done with a simple HTML tag. This is because more often than not, autocorrect dictionaries can be weak, resulting in frustration when the wrong name or street address gets filled in.

To accommodate the touch interface, use buttons instead of menus for adjusting quantity. Consider using a type interface when the consumer wishes to purchase a large number of an item. Buttons should be large enough that accidentally hitting the wrong button becomes very unlikely. That way, people don't purchase too much or too little of the merlot they requested.

Staying focused
The small screen size of mobile devices makes it difficult to complete certain actions because of the increased amount of hoops that a consumer must jump through. There are certain ways to address this problem. For one, keeping the amount of content in the mobile checkout process to a bare minimum can deliver effective results. Amazon goes a step further by using an "enclosed checkout," which removes any distracting content from view so that the consumer can focus solely on completing the transaction.

Along with regular content, another distraction is user registration. While having registered users is a great way to collect consumer data, it is also an additional step in the purchasing process that requires filling out more information than mobile users want. Plus, the amount of passwords that a person now has to remember to avoid being hacked is rather staggering, so that adds a layer of frustration to checkout that people aren't particularly fond of. By letting shoppers complete their purchase as guests, they will be more likely to complete sales on impulse. Web consultant Jared Spool proved the benefits by removing mandatory sign-ups from a major retailer's website, resulting in a sales increase of more than $300 million.


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