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Improving Mobile to Desktop Checkout Experiences

People are now buying and booking more through their mobile phones than they ever have before, but there are still many out there who only like to browse and window shop on this format without ever committing to making that purchase, resulting in high checkout abandonment rates.

Companies are investing big time into making their sites responsive and optimising them for conversions, but the barrier for visitors seems to be more psychological with general feedback being that they don’t necessarily want to make a decision on their purchase until they’ve seen it on a ‘big screen’. It seems to apply to ecommerce stores across the board, but it’s even more relevant to big ticket item such as a holiday and high-end goods.

So what can retailers do about this?

Firstly there needs to be a far better cohesion between desktop and mobile/tablet sites, but what options do retailers have here?

Several companies such as Voyage Prive, Fabletics and Achica only allow access to their websites once you have signed in or become a member. Although this very action is likely to deter many as it’s clearly an additional hurdle for the customer, it does enable them to capture the browsing and shopping cart data of each visitor. So if the customer later logs on from a different device, any preferences or shopping carts are maintained.

I would hazard a guess though, that if this kind of enforced membership were to be rolled out on a previously ‘open’ site, it would put many loyal and new customers off.

There are some businesses such as ASOS who have introduced enforced sign-up at checkout, however shopping carts could be abandoned before this point and as such this approach is more about gathering age and gender data.

So what other options are there?

I can’t say for certain whether any of these ideas aren’t already in use but they’re ideas I’ve had over periods of time using the internet whilst considering how to improve cross-device cohesion.

On a basic level I would expect the most successful solution completely disregards any necessity for sign up as that would vastly limit its success, so that immediately rules out wish lists and the like.

One approach could be to simply add a button that allows you to email the contents of your basket to yourself (or parent/friend etc) with a link that allows you to quickly restore the contents on any browser. It negates the need for signup and is super simple in terms of usability.

basket

If we’re looking for an even more simplistic approach, we probably need to rely on the techies that work for those computer manufacturers. Apple already offers a great cohesion between desktop, tablet and mobile (and even TV in some cases), so for them they may already be thinking about inter-device browser cohesion too. If not then I do hope I get some credit for the idea should it come about!

There are other potential solutions some may have considered, for example an app that you install on all devices that acts as a database for cookies collected from your browsers. A seemingly simple solution, but unless this kind of app comes ready integrated across all computers, tablets and mobiles, it’ll mean users have to manually install them which already makes the idea’s success unlikely.

To Conclude…

It seems the bigger the service provider / retailer, the more likely they are to enforce membership sign up at least at checkout, but for those starting up and those operating on a smaller scale, usability and conversions across devices are of utmost importance. So anything they can do to improve the retail experience here is likely to have profound impact on sales.

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