6 min

February 17, 2020

Mobile checkout - how to figure it out?

To begin with, let's ask ourselves - are we doing everything to monetize mobile traffic? Why is it that over the last couple of years we've seen a big increase in mobile traffic that doesn't necessarily translate into sales? Is the User Experience (UX) we offer customers, spoiled by the use of apps like Uber Eats or Allegro, the one they are looking for?

In 2020, there are already ways to smuggle solutions that have long been hosted in native apps into online stores in a way that is unnoticeable to the consumer. They can be summed up for the purposes of this article with the 4Ps principle: Payments, Ordering Process, Parcel Pick-up Points, PWA.

1-Mobile payments, or 1-Click Payments

A customer who buys on a smartphone expects fast mobile payments. You'll say you make GPay or Blik payments available to customers. Are you sure you do? Surely redirecting the customer to an external payment gateway is a mobile payment in your store, or is it using the provider's technology and adding one unnecessary click to the customer's shopping process? I'm already leaving aside the fact that by sending the customer outside the store we don't know what is happening to him, we don't fire any pixels tracing his behavior there.

The solution here is simple - implement native mobile payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay, One Click Blik) e.g. via Payment Request API.

Big ecommerce players in the West such as Shopify have long offered 1-click native payments. In Poland, we see them only on mobile apps which is sort of forced by Apple and Google. It's surprising that with 70% or more mobile traffic, none of the big stores have native mobile payments in Poland. You can see how native ApplePay works in an online store at e-garderobe.com (PWA).

Importantly, native mobile payments allow you to skip the order form altogether and buy directly from the product card or cart preview (if you want to buy several things). How is this possible? Apple and Google securely store our contact information, email, phone number and various delivery addresses. As a result, this data is automatically sent to the store and the customer does not have to fill out an unnecessary dozen fields from the order form.

Whether native mobile payments are likely to be a successful investment depends largely on the customer profile. If mobile traffic is >75% of the total and is mainly generated from iOS by young people, consider Apple Pay. Otherwise, Google Pay or One Click Blik will be a better decision.

2. shortening forms, i.e. why do I have to manually type it in?

Inconvenient form filling is the most common problem (43%) reported by Poles when making mobile purchases. (https://eizba.pl/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/raport_GEMIUS_2019-1.pdf)

Figure 1 Gemius Report 2019

Having customer data is, in a way, your duty. Thanks to them you will correctly book the transaction and send the package to the right place. So how do you reconcile your duties as a seller with the user's preference to enter as little data as possible? Let's take the address as an example. By default, there are 5 text fields, where errors can additionally occur. By using third-party APIs (e.g., locit.io), we can standardize address data, while offering users a single field to enter an address that dynamically populates as they type. (See an example at e-garderobe.com, go to checkout and start typing in your address.)

What's more, this approach allows you to automatically retrieve statistical data - whether it's a single-family home, how many people live in the building, and what the average income is at the indicated address. These are data sets through which you may be able to confirm or deny your idea of who your customer is.

Do you use Google Captch to protect yourself from unwanted accounts or newsletter signups? On the one hand, it works. On the other, it prolongs the process by a few dozen clicks. Perhaps a healthy alternative is sometimes to validate entered emails using an external API, such as mailgun.com. In addition to excluding non-existent email addresses, this allows you to detect typos, temporary emails or gmail address variations. In other words, it makes it possible to take care of the company's interests and the correctness of the data, while on the other hand verifying the veracity of the customer's intentions.

3. Shipping, or the bane of parcel search engines and other pickup points

Another customer calls saying he can't choose a parcel machine. You can't do anything about it because it's a free third-party integration. No one basically helps you, and your hands are tied. InPost's API doesn't respond for several hours, the Parcels in Motion widget in your WooCommerce "throws" an error 500. So you and your IT team decide to ditch the interactive map and rely on a secure dropdown list. All it takes is a few hours of developer work. In the background, "Eagle Shadow" plays nostalgically. Welcome to the 1990s.

As it happens, for a user of the new iPhone 11, the last thing he dreams of is scrolling through a few hundred items, sorted by an enigmatic pick-up point identifier (for the purpose of this article, let's call them POP). This customer is unlikely to leave money here anymore, he will look for the product elsewhere. Does this have to be the case? Not necessarily.

It is enough to draw from the experience of the best, for example, the Allegro app.

In fact, to make a POP widget reliable, you can base it on external data replicated in your own database. The input data is nothing more than a little-changing list of available POPs with their parameters. This data in periodically can be synchronized and stored in its own database. In this way, temporary problems with the availability of data in third-party systems do not affect the operation of the widget.

The visual layer itself should relate to the interface known from native applications and encourage the mobile user to interact. You can set the map on the user's geolocation or the address previously provided in the contact information. Second, there is no need to create dedicated widgets for each form of mailing, you can freely put them on one map supplemented with filters. Third, the widget should have dedicated mobile and desktop views.

There is already a solution on the Polish market that helps companies without extensive IT departments to meet all the mentioned assumptions. Punktodbiorupaczek.pl is a solution available on a monthly subscription basis dedicated to Polish e-commerce.

4. PWA, or WWW on steroids

If any technological innovation has generated particular interest in the mobile commerce world, it is the development of PWA applications. According to AliExpress, after implementing PWA, there were 82% more conversions on iPhone, 74% longer sessions on mobile and 104% higher conversions for new mobile users. OLX increased engagement by 250% with native PUSH messages and reduced Bounce Rate by 80%. The loading speed of stores made as PWA rarely exceeds 1.5 sec which has a significant impact on User Experience.

Many functionalities, usually bundled with native apps are available in PWA:

  • Operation without delay in loading subsequent views/pages (not applicable to the first visit to the store)

  • Ability to be installed on the desktop with its own icon

  • Full-screen view (without Chrome/Safari navigation overlay)

  • Offline availability

  • PUSH messaging

What basically is a PWA? Google calls it by the acronym FIRE - Fast, Integrated, Reliable and Engaging. It is worth strongly emphasizing that PWA is not meant to replace native apps where their use is warranted. Instead, it can successfully improve the mobile experience where speed and UX are key. Since PWAs are indexed like traditional websites, they are visible in Google search. On the other hand, they are also available on Google Play and only an expert will distinguish a native app from a PWA.

In conclusion, mobile checkout is no black magic. Knowing what the consumer wants and being aware of the availability of technology, we can drastically improve the effectiveness of sales on mobile in a month/two. If you need support, it is worthwhile to turn to agencies with experience with PWA and mobile UX and thus significantly reduce the implementation time.