The checkout process is often the chief obstacle to success for e-commerce mobile apps, but is also a major opportunity to differentiate the app experience. Harriet Phimister, Marketing Manager NN4M explains
The simpler this can be made for customers, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Take Amazon as the gold standard of ecommerce checkouts. Its one-click to purchase eliminates common barriers and makes it almost too easy for customers to hand over their cash.
One of the problems we frequently see is that retailers tend to make their app payment journeys identical to their website counterparts. Don’t be afraid to make the two types of checkout different and optimise them for each platform. For instance, mobile users will likely be shopping on-the-go and have to make their purchase on a much smaller screen.
These customers will have less patience than those sitting down at their desktops to shop. Furthermore, when brands’ apps do not integrate using APIs, they tend to have to integrate directly with the commerce website by either wrapping the checkout within a web view or using “scrape” methods. These solutions inevitably make the checkout inflexible as they must match the existing journey. With an API, your developer can engineer checkout to be the best experience possible with far fewer limitations.
Another of the main problems that most retailers face when it comes to app checkout is that they model their guest checkout journey on their logged-in journey, keeping the two as similar as possible. We suggest that the two don’t have to be the same. In fact, you can take the opportunity to engage with the customer in totally different ways through each journey. For instance, if a user is logged in and has saved their payment details, why not offer a one tap checkout to save your users time and hassle?
1. Quicker, streamlined checkout
The first principle of a good mobile app checkout is striving for a quick, streamlined journey. You must allow returning customers to smoothly move to payment confirmation and skip information that they have already confirmed previously. Save login details and users’ preferences to allow them to smoothly move through their next checkout. Some apps are integrating with Apple’s Touch ID to make their login process even more streamlined. By saving a user’s details it is possible to complete checkout with only six taps (1 – Login, 2 – Pay and confirm, 3-5 – enter CVV and submit). Enabling customers to use the delivery and payment details that they have already registered on your desktop website will help as well.
Providing shortcuts for customers is a good idea – small things such as using the billing address as the delivery address will make checkout more pleasant. Additionally, using a postcode lookup tool and allowing customers to select recipients from their device’s address book will pre-populate fields and save typing. It is also crucial to ensure that your checkout pages load quickly. Customers start to get frustrated if they have to wait longer than 3 seconds between making an action and seeing the result on their screen. Speed is crucial to delivering a truly outstanding customer experience.
2. Limit the amount of data you collect
Make sure that you ask your customers to fill in only the mandatory information and reduce the input fields to the bare essentials. For instance, do you really need your customers’ home phone, work phone AND mobile phone numbers? Similarly, when setting up your payment details page, you don’t actually need customer name or address, just card number, CVV, post code and expiry date. The less information your users have to fill in, the more likely they are to complete the checkout process.
3. Offering Guest checkout
One of the most crucial elements of a successful mobile checkout is the ability for users to checkout without having to register for an account. Obligatory registration is a barrier to purchase anyway, but is a complete no-no on a mobile app because every superfluous field to fill in on a small screen means more hassle for the customer. Due to the nature of mobile, many customers will be shopping on the go or in a rush and will be looking for the simplest route to purchase. Even though you may miss out on collecting customer data by offering guest checkout, what is more important than converting a sale? Many customers will abandon their purchase if guest checkout is not offered.
4. Provide alternative payment options
A well-designed ecommerce app checkout enables users to select from a range of payment choices. Forcing users to input their credit or debit card details rather than offering other payment modes will have a negative impact on the success of your app. 3-D Secure (3-DS) or “verified by visa,” now included as an extra layer of security for many credit and debit cards, is a conversion killer. Adyen reports a 15% drop off for 3-D Secure. However, we suggest that retailers speak with their payment service providers about implementing customer-specific rules to limit the frequency of 3-DS, such as only requiring it for users that have made less than three purchases on a specific app. Apple Pay (likely to be released in the UK this year), Google Wallet, PayPal Express Checkout and Amazon Payments are a few of the options you may want to include to speed up the checkout process. If a customer selects one of these options, your checkout journey will change drastically. After a quick login or finger print scan, customer information including shipping and billing addresses will be pre-populated, saving your customers valuable time.
5. Reassure customers about security
Security is the largest concern among customers when it comes to paying for products via their mobile phones. No matter how secure your checkout is, customers will still have the perception that it may not be as secure as other payment methods. This means that you need to reassure your customers that your checkout is secure and that their details will be kept safe. The best ways to do this include making sure that your checkout looks and feels like the rest of the app, ensuring that the app performance remains fluid, and using “secure checkout” messaging and icons.
6. Eliminate distractions
You want users who have committed to making a purchase to see that purchase through. Therefore you should remove any content that would distract your users from completing the checkout process. This includes menu options, social media icons, store locators and anything that is not explicitly related to payment.
7. Accurate pricing throughout checkout
Throughout the checkout experience, make sure that you keep the final total price updated prior to entering payment details. Show a subtotal, shipping fees, taxes, gift cards or discounts deducted, and the order total. Ideally this information will auto-update as customers move throughout checkout, guaranteeing that there are no hidden fees at the end of the checkout process. Hidden delivery costs are a big cause of abandoned carts. Adding extra charges at the end may reverse any trust you may have built with the customer as it can be frustrating to fill out all the fields only to be met with an increase in price. Additionally, make sure you include a confirmation page before payment details are entered so that users can double check their order without accidentally confirming their payment before they’re ready.
8. Mobile UI optimized
Users of your app will prefer a familiar experience that is consistent with other apps on their device. It is therefore important to adhere to the UI and UX device standards that are recommended by Apple and Google. This applies not just to checkout but to your entire app. This involves things like using a card scanner to save time, using date pickers and lists instead of manually typing in data such as expiry dates, swiping to delete, avoiding drop down menus, and using the back button on Android devices.
Make sure that your checkout allows for some flexibility. Let your users go back to any step in checkout in case they wish to adjust any information or correct a mistake. Forcing the user to exit checkout if they want to change a previous field will result in frustration and often, cart abandonment.
10. Avoid Web Checkout
Many otherwise impressive commerce apps make the mistake of saving money on development by pushing users to mobile web checkout. This quick fix can make for a poor and disjointed user experience. Additionally, if your app integrates with an API, your checkout can be far more flexible. With an API, your developer can engineer checkout to be the best experience possible, far superior to the limitations of wrapping your checkout within a web view, or “scraping” your site. Conversion rates for mobile users on web checkouts are 70-80% lower than on desktop sites. Our customers’ apps with native checkout boast an average of 1.75% conversion (our highest being 3.14%) compared to an industry average of .98% for mobile web checkout.