Ecommerce Mistakes That Make Mobile Checkouts So Tricky

As many visitors to my other websites know I like to shop for stuff and a lot of the time I use a mobile. And here’s one thing I am sure of: even in 2016 mobile ecommerce sucks balls. Here’s why

I have to register before I buy something

Sigh. Even as far back as 1976, well OK at least 2009, we knew that forcing users to register was a seriously bad idea because it puts a big fat wall between the user and the product and I’m still left stunned that I see it anywhere. Why can’t I just go straight to a payment screen? And while you will often see a ‘proceed as guest’ option, even that is still an extra click.


Data input is tricky

There are times when you have to fill out forms online but the process can be made simpler with methods such as correct keyboard selection, small number of required fields, correct use of controllers, large target sizes etc etc; but one of the biggest crimes is password masking.

I’m looking at you, Boots:

Don’t you think it’s a bit nonsensical having a Password strength indicator?

Strict password rules meant I had to type a password I found unnatural and because everything was masked I made a mistake and failed registration. While I could have persevered I chose to leave the site because I was so sad 😦

So, yeah, masking passwords on mobile is the work of Satan and this practice should have been burned along with Edward Woodward at the end of The Wickerman. Work that one out.

thewickerman_lordsummerisleImage copyright Lord Summersisle

Add to basket does not work for one-off purchases

Even when you get a lot of things right, the checkout process takes waaaay too long because of the ‘Add to basket’ metaphor. Ooooh feel the controversy!

Let’s look at buying a laptop from Curry’s with the following user journey in mind “I want to go to Curry’s website and buy as ASUS X55LA because a friend recommended it to me and I should be able to buy it with the minimum of clicks. I just want to select the laptop from the site, click ‘Buy now’ and be directed to a screen where I can give my credit card information and delivery address”. That’s a two step process, OK?


Step one:step 1

At this step I want a ‘Buy now’ button which would take me to the credit card/delivery address malarky, but the Add to Basket leads to…

Step 2

step 2

A confirmation screen, which I find kinda annoying, but I know in ecommerce confirming stuff builds trust etc so…

Step 3

step 3

I know! Jeez. I just want to enter my delivery address and buy the thing!

Step 4

step 4

Welcome ya hey! *Sobs*

Step 5

step 5


Step 6

step 6


Your site is not upfront about costs

A no-brainer really. When I see a price of something I expect to be confident that it is what I will eventually pay. If I am confronted by hidden charges I will bail. Indeed, according to the Baymard institute, extra charges is THE reason folks drop out of the purchase cycle:


I can’t find the damn thing

And last but not least, if your information architecture is a rambling, incoherent mess seemingly organised by a marketing department staffed entirely by monkeys, it is unlikely I will even start the checkout process because I can’t find what I want!

picture-116Lots of bags

I can’t stress how important good taxonomy and categorisation are; lots of research needs to be undertaken so users can find what they want where they want, but that’s a whole other blog post!


And that wraps up this quick little article on mobile ecommerce in 2016. I think there is still lots of room for improvement, alas.

Thoughts? Comments due south.


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