Global mobile app users are on the up and will continue to rise in the wake of the COVID-19 wave of digitization. This applies to ecommerce apps too—yet while more customers may be browsing retail apps, that doesn’t mean they’re automatically likely to convert.

In fact, mobile ecommerce conversions remain half of those seen on desktops. Furthermore, 40% of ecommerce transactions are impulse buys. This means that mobile ecommerce apps must provide exceptional UX so as not to give customers the slightest reason to go back on their purchase decision.

If you’re an ecommerce business eager to grow in the current landscape—which is becoming more saturated by the day—you need to take action to perfect your mobile experience. By creating a user-friendly checkout process, integrating new technologies, and prioritizing accessibility, you can do just that.

Streamline the checkout experience

Too many mobile shoppers abandon their carts because the checkout process is clunky, lengthy, or doesn’t seem trustworthy enough for them to hand over their credit card details. In fact, the third most cited reason for cart abandonment is a long and complicated payment process—something which is completely preventable when it comes to quality UX. This is proven by the 35% increase in conversions that the average large ecommerce site sees when it implements better UX and UI design.

Imagine you’re at the checkout in a physical store, but the checkout line is long and the cashier asks you several questions before you can leave with your purchase. At best, you waste an inordinate amount of time on a single purchase, and at worst, you abandon your basket and never return. The same applies online: The more convoluted and frustrating the checkout process, the less likely a customer is to make the purchase.

So, how can you prevent this from happening in mobile apps?

First off, you can make it easy for customers by ensuring the shopping cart is easily reachable from the main navigation screen. If customers can’t figure out how to pay for their purchases in the first place, there’s a high chance they’ll leave the process altogether. 

It’s vital to show the stages of the purchase and break up the checkout process to minimize scrolling, while simple and clear forms which immediately flag errors in payment information make life easier for users. You can also offer guest checkout for users that might be put off by having to make an account—guest shoppers contribute 13% higher revenue than logged-in shoppers. 

There are a number of ecommerce apps that demonstrate good checkout design practices. For example, the Amazon app shows the user’s registered address at the top of the main screen, which triggers them to change it if it’s incorrect. This kind of design makes the payment process smoother at checkout. The Wish app has also proven successful in creating conversions, as it provides discounts as a motivator to checkout within a certain time window.

Integrate new technologies

One of the biggest technologies entering the realm of UX right now is biometric scanning, which mobile app creators are using to create smooth and secure in-app experiences. Biometric authentication such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition is more secure than traditional methods, eliminating much of the doubt that users may have around typing in their payment details. 

Users can use their fingerprints or faces to immediately log in to apps and make secure purchases, removing the multiple steps which might otherwise put them off. Moreover, integration of this technology is only set to grow: It’s estimated that by 2022, one trillion transactions will be authorized by biometrics each year.

Other examples of up-and-coming technologies that UX ecommerce app designers are beginning to experiment with include AI-powered visual and voice searches. ASOS has integrated visual search into its app that allows shoppers to upload a picture and discover products from its catalogue that match the item in the photo. intive also recently worked with apparel retailer ESPRIT in developing its ecommerce app, which lets users take a photo of an in-store item’s tag and barcode, and subsequently leads them to the product page inside the app. And by implementing voice search functionality, ecommerce apps enable customers to make quick, hands-free searches and purchases.

Prioritize accessibility

UX designers can expand the amount of people that enjoy a smooth in-app experience by integrating accessible features into design from day one. Not only should mobile apps champion inclusivity from a moral standpoint, but it also means heightening the chance of conversions as more people are able to browse and make purchases without accessibility roadblocks.

Mobile ecommerce apps should take into account users that have limited mobility, sight, or hearing, or cognitive impairment. For example, UX designers should avoid the uneven spacing of words, and placing black text on a white background which could be problematic for dyslexic users. Designers should also avoid relying on color to convey meaning, which would exclude color blind shoppers. Furthermore, sliders or carousels can be an issue for customers with limited mobility, so consider avoiding these altogether. 

Apps operating in the US can refer to WCAG 2.1 Guidelines to ensure their UX design is accessible to those with disabilities and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. With the pandemic causing a surge in mobile ecommerce app usage, many companies have failed to comply and are now facing discrimination claims. UX designers should champion continuous user testing to ensure they don’t let anyone slip through the cracks.

What’s important to remember about UX design is that it’s a continuous process— as users’ wants and needs evolve, so do the practices. Creating successful UX that converts means keeping your finger on the pulse of today’s consumers through user testing and implementing new techniques and features, generating incredible ROI in the process.


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