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8 Effective Ways to Optimize Your Mobile Checkout

8 Effective Ways to Optimize Your Mobile Checkout

According to Smashing Magazine, “Smartphones consistently receive fewer conversions than desktop, despite being the predominant device through which users access the web.”

So, what is it about mobile websites that make consumers want to ditch them at checkout?

As comScore report points out, there are 5 principal reasons why mobile checkout conversion rates are so low:

  • 20.2% of consumers have security concerns
  • 19.6% of consumers think that product details aren’t clear enough
  • 19.6% of consumers are frustrated with the inability to open multiple browser tabs for comparison purposes
  • 19.3% of consumers feel the checkout process is to difficult to navigate
  • 18.6% of consumers think that inputting information takes too much time and effort

As a retailer, you need to consider what this means for your sales, especially since it’s predicted that mobile will make up greater than half of all e-commerce sales by 2021.

Consumers looking to make purchases on their mobile devices are expecting a frictionless experience. Here are 8 ways you can give them the checkout experience they want:

1. Design your checkout for touch (thumb)

Whether consumers hold their smartphone with a single or double-handed approach, certain parts of the mobile screen are simply inconvenient for users to reach. Expediency is expected during checkout, so this is something you want to focus on. Place the most important elements in the areas of the screen that are within reach of the thumb.

2. Take a Minimalist Approach

It’s always best to use a minimalist approach when designing your mobile checkout. Only add the absolute essentials to your checkout page (it’s not the place to upsell or distract from the action at hand). Don’t clutter the checkout with images other than trust icons and/or calls to action. Text should be instructional or descriptive in nature and void of stylized fonts. The goal here is to only use content that specifically helps users get through the checkout process as quickly and easily as possible.

3. Ease Security Concerns

As mentioned above, 20.2% of consumers have reservations about security when checking out on mobile devices. You can alleviate these concerns with trust icons that let customers know their payment information is secure. The one element of trust every m-commerce website should have is an SSL certificate. Without one, the address bar will not display the lock icon or the https domain name, ensuring extra encryption.

4. Make Editing a Cinch

It’s not uncommon for customers to make some edits at checkout if they decide they want a different color, size or quantity of an item in their shopping cart. To avoid sending them on another trip through your website, give them an in-checkout editing option to keep them rooted to that page.

On the checkout screen where customers can see a list of items they’re about to purchase, offer a large “Edit” button beside each item, with a lightbox that opens up to show product variations (it’s essentially the original product page superimposed on top of the checkout). This way, consumers can adjust their options and save their changes without ever leaving the checkout page, preventing lost conversions.

5. Offer Express Checkout Options

On mobile, it’s a real pain to enter and re-enter information, especially if forms aren’t optimized. To expedite the log-in and checkout for mobile users, offer ways to simplify the process by including features like guest checkout, one-click sign-in from a trusted source (like Facebook), and trusted payment options like PayPal, Google Wallet, or Amazon.

6. Use Progress Indicators

The checkout process can be intimidating when customers don’t know how many forms they will need to fill out, what sort of information is required, or whether they’ll be able to review their order before submitting payment details. For a multi-page checkout, you can define each step of the checkout process with clearly labeled progress indicators in a navigation bar at the top of the page. This will also give your checkout a cleaner design by reducing the number of clicks and scrolling per page.

7. Simplify Data Forms

Filling out forms on mobile is a pain point for consumers. The last thing you want to do is get someone all the way to the checkout page only to frustrate them with forms that aren’t optimized. To make the task easier, you can allow customers to use their browser’s autocomplete functionality to fill in forms. Another way to make forms easier is to enable customers to arrow up and down through the form, keeping their thumbs within a comfortable range on the smartphone at all times. You might also consider a checkbox that copies the billing address information over to the shipping fields. Whatever you do, design your checkout with convenience in mind.


8. Provide an Alternate Way Out

Even after you’ve done everything you can to ensure that consumers will have a clean, easy and secure checkout experience, some of them will still be uncomfortable making a payment on their phone. To avoid losing the purchase entirely, give consumers a chance to save it for later. This way, they can revisit their cart on desktop and complete the transaction. While it may not be the ideal solution, it shows consumers you care about their business and helps you capture sales from skittish mobile shoppers.


With people spending nearly 51% of their time with digital media through mobile devices, and over half of mobile sales coming from smartphones, it’s time for you to align your e-commerce features with user trends.

Every step of the conversion process must be optimized for consumer convenience, speed, and security. If your checkout doesn’t align with mobile users’ specific needs and expectations, your mobile conversion rates will drop. And if your competitors offer a frictionless purchase process, you not only stand to lose a sale now, but customers are likely to remember the experience and pass you by altogether the next time they shop.

Any improvements to and testing of your mobile checkout page should hinge on one goal: moving shoppers through your mobile purchase process as quickly and easily as possible.

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Also published on Medium.

About The Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.

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