Mobile is eating the world, or shopping is – or maybe mobile shopping is. Whatever. Around 40% of e-commerce happens on mobile. The percentage has been growing rapidly, and it’s no surprise to anyone. So if you are in the business of selling stuff, this applies to you, because currently the state of mobile checkout flows is pretty sad.
Building a mobile checkout experience is not a question of making a desktop checkout more responsive. It is not just a question of fitting the same stuff on a smaller screen. Mobile checkouts do not happen sitting down at a desk somewhere, they happen on the move. I check out stuff when I’m in bed, on the bus, waiting in line at the store, sometimes when I’m walking down the street. So in that sense, the competition for the customer’s attention at that point in time is not a competitor who sells a slightly different kind of jeans, it’s Candy Crush. Or, it’s anything else that would entertain the user at that moment, and give them a way to spend their time until they get to where they’re going. That also means that the as mobile checkouts can happen anywhere there are many more factors in the experience that you cannot control, or even know about. Your customer may be half way through checking out when they get to the bus stop they need to get off at. Or when they reach the supermarket cashier and have to put the phone away. Or when they get by a bike messenger because they just stepped into traffic.
So build for it! Ignoring many of the contextual challenges for now, there are some simple elements to take into consideration when building a mobile checkout experience from scratch. Yes, I said from scratch. Starting from a current desktop experience and trying to squeeze that into a good mobile experience will turn nasty. So the things to consider when designing for mobile are things like building for tapping instead of typing. You know all those fields you have your user fill in on a desktop to enter their credit card and shipping information? Yeah those, that’ll take them 4 minutes on their mobile phone, and in that time they’ll probably have reached the next bus stop and you’ve lost them. The good news is that there are so many new payment forms coming up. Things like Apple wallet, Stripe, and the good old ones like PayPal. They make it very easy to build for one tap instead of a whole lot of typing for payment. And last but not least, you have to make it fun. There’s no way around it. Unless you are selling inhalers to asthmatics, or diapers to parents with newborns, what you’re selling most likely is not critical for your customer. That means that the only way for you to get them through the checkout experience is to make it better than crushing candy.