17 Important Mobile Ecommerce UX Best Practices in 2022
by Fedor Kiryakov
Mobile commerce has been on the rise during the last decade, with an average annual growth rate of 28% since 2013. Mobile commerce, also known as mcommerce, refers to commercial transactions performed using a mobile device. As increasingly more people own portable electronic devices and use them to make purchases, this trend is not surprising. According to the Pew Research Center Survey of US Adults, 85% of Americans own a smartphone, and 53% own a tablet in 2021.
The pandemic speeded up the adoption of technology and pushed up growth in mobile commerce and ecommerce sales. Ecommerce includes all commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet. As people stayed in their homes in 2020, some were forced to venture into mobile shopping for the first time, while others expanded their mobile purchases. Interestingly, Insider Intelligence recent MCommerce Forecast 2021 predicts that the share of mobile commerce sales in total retail sales will continue to rise in the coming years and will almost double from 5.5% of total retail sales in 2020 to 10.4% by 2025.
Source: The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, Insider Intelligence MCommerce Forecast 2021
Source: The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, Insider Intelligence MCommerce Forecast 2021
In 2020-2021, many companies decided to launch new mobile apps or upgrade the existing ones to capture new customers, remain competitive, and increase their sales through mobile channels. Mobile commerce sales grew at an impressive 34.1% annual growth rate in 2020, while e-commerce sales increased by 27.6% in the same period. In comparison, US total retail sales increased at a modest rate of 2.2%.
Source: The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, Insider Intelligence MCommerce Forecast 2021
In today’s highly competitive market, mobile retailers cannot afford to fall behind when it comes to adopting the best user experience practices for ecommerce mobile apps. This article explores current mobile e-commerce trends in 2021 and identifies 17 important mobile ecommerce UX best practices. When you know the practical tools and principles used by successful mobile retailers, you can determine your application’s right mix of features. In addition, you will find helpful examples of the best mobile UX practices for ecommerce.
What Is Mobile User Experience (UX) Design?
Mobile user experience (UX) design is a process of creating positive experiences for users of mobile applications. Designers create apps to satisfy mobile users’ unique needs, preferences, and requirements. A good user experience optimizes all aspects of the app’s usability.
Mobile UX design, ultimately, aims at improving customers’ experience on mobile devices. Contrary to what it may seem at first glance, smartphones and tablets are not just miniature versions of desktops. It takes a specialized skill set and a keen understanding of user behavior to create a successful mobile app. As a result, happier users mean a higher mobile conversion rate and increased revenue flows.
Current Trends in Mobile UX Design in 2021
Before discussing important mobile ecommerce UX best practices in 2021, let’s review key trends in today’s mobile user experience design. Understanding modern mobile ecommerce trends will help you get an idea about the current landscape in which UX designers operate.
- Social Commerce
Social commerce is a relatively recent but rapidly growing part of ecommerce, where a consumer’s shopping experience occurs on a social network. It can also include clicking links that lead to a retailer’s product page with an immediate shopping option.
According to Insider Intelligence Social Commerce 2021 Report, social commerce will contribute to future ecommerce growth. China, the United States, and Australia have the highest shares of Internet users who made purchases through social networks in 2021, followed by Canada, Russia, and Brazil.
The number of social commerce buyers in the United States accelerated 30.2% to 78.9 million in 2020 and will grow another 14.3% to 90.2 million in 2021.
Social commerce sales in the United States were at 27 billion US dollars in 2020 and will accelerate 9.7% to 36.6 billion US dollars in 2021. As mobile retailers continue to use social media checkout and shopping integration, social media shopping will likely continue to expand.
Overall, US social commerce is projected to reach 79.6 billion US dollars in 2025 and account for 5.2% of total US ecommerce sales.
1. User-Generated Content
Social media interactions are naturally based on communication. Not surprisingly, user-generated content and influencer marketing have proven to be successful marketing strategies for building brand awareness and increasing the level of consumer trust in recent years.
User-generated content (UGC) is any content created by users of a product or service. It can take many forms, such as text, images, videos, reviews, and testimonials. As new technologies emerge, the list of UGC keeps widening. Users can now generate vlogs, micro-videos, and even AR/VR experiences.
Combined with a call-to-action, such as “swipe up to purchase” or “product link in bio,” various forms of UGC provide organic opportunities for increasing conversion rate. The importance of user-generated content and influencers increases as social media platforms continue adding new ways to shop directly within the social network.
As of 2021, Facebook is the most popular social media platform for purchases among Internet users in the United States, followed by Instagram and Pinterest.
2. Mobile Payment Wallets
Mobile payment wallets are becoming more popular, especially among consumers younger than 45. According to Morgan Stanley’s 2020 AlphaWise survey of 2,000 US consumers, usage of all major digital wallets increased in 2020. The share of consumers who responded that they did not use digital payment services fell from 30% in 2019 to 22% in 2020. The most popular digital payment service among US consumers was PayPal, with 73% of US consumers who reported using it.
Source: AlphaWise, Morgan Stanley Research
3. One-Click Checkout
Placing an online order requires customers to type in their personal information, such as their first and last name, billing and shipping address, credit card number, expiration date, and a verification number. However, mobile customers have a short attention span and don’t like lengthy checkout.
The one-click checkout process, which Amazon patented in the late 90s, eliminates the need to re-enter customer billing and shipping information for repeated purchases. The patent expired in 2017, which led to many ecommerce retailers adopting one-click checkout.
Mobile customers appreciate the speed, simplicity, and convenience of the one-click checkout process. However, merchants who decide to adopt it need to consider how to implement it. The nature of one-click checkout is that customers must select to store their billing and shipping information ahead of time. As they make repeated purchases, this allows for streamlined checkouts and ultimately boosts sales.
As a rule, the one-click checkout process is best suited for businesses that have many repeated customers or impulse buyers. On the other hand, if a purchase involves deliberation, one-click checkout may not be what your customers want.
4. Mobile Chatbots
Many businesses have adopted chatbots technology in recent years. According to Drift’s 2020 State of Conversational Marketing Report, usage of chatbots as a brand communication channel increased from 13% a year ago to 24.9%.
A chatbot is a programmed chat interface with which website or app visitors can interact. It offers a great way to build customer loyalty, provide immediate answers to simple questions, and resolve complaints. Nowadays, AI capabilities enable chatbots to carry on natural conversations that are indistinguishable from a human.
5. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is an effective tool that ecommerce stores use to engage their customers and simplify purchasing decisions. The ability to visualize a product in the context of the physical space helps reduce the uncertainty during ecommerce transactions. For example, the IKEA Place app uses Apple’s ARkit technology to help customers view how the furniture would look in a natural environment.
Best Practices in Mobile Ecommerce UX Design
Now that you are familiar with current trends in mobile user experience design let’s look at ecommerce UX best practices for a mobile app and consider successful examples of mobile applications that use them. We organized these practices into four main areas that are critical for creating a successful UX design of an ecommerce app:
1. Easy Onboarding,
2. Simple Checkout Process,
3. User-Friendly Navigation, and
4. Optimized Product Pages.
It is unlikely that a given mobile retailer would need to utilize all the user experience best practices for ecommerce mobile apps listed below. In practice, an experienced app design team will guide you in determining the right mix of app features for your customers. It is worth noting that this is not an exhaustive list, and it’s intended to help you get started improving or creating your mobile app.
1. Easy Onboarding
Onboarding is the most critical stage of any consumer journey and a start of an ongoing relationship with your brand. It is when the users get their first impression of what your app is all about and learn how they can benefit from using it. Here are a few tips that will help you make an excellent first impression.
- Practice 1: Clean and Clear Copy
Explain to your customers what your app does in a language they would easily understand. Your copy should be brief but impressive. After reading it, your customers should be curious to try the app because it offers them a solution that will improve their lives.
- Practice 2: Welcome Screens
Welcome screens help to introduce your app to the user. They communicate your unique value proposition to your customers in only a few words. A visual element is equally important to deliver your brand message and entice your users to learn more about your app.
- Practice 3: Quick Registration Process
No one likes lengthy sign-ups that require you to fill in too much information. A streamlined onboarding process that only asks for necessary information, such as an email address and password, and potentially offers to sign up via Google or Facebook is ideal.
- Practice 4: Personalization
If the onboarding process is personalized, it communicates that you care about your customers’ unique preferences and characteristics. As a result, users feel acknowledged and become more engaged with the app. They are more likely to make a purchase and come back again. There are different ways to personalize the onboarding experience.
Case Study: JustFab
For example, JustFab, a membership-based online fashion retailer, uses three welcome screens that introduce the app’s main benefits. The messages are simple and easily understandable by the users. Attractive images are used to showcase the main products that JustFab offers – shoes, handbags, and jewelry.
The registration process asks for only necessary information and immediately offers to get the first pair of shoes for $10 when you sign up for a VIP membership.
To personalize the experience, users are asked to complete a short fashion quiz by swiping left or right to indicate their like or dislike for eight different styles of boots. Users’ curiosity is piqued by a promise to reveal curated products.
The entire onboarding process only takes a few minutes. Once users are in the app, they can shop by category or choose from the items curated for them based on the data they have entered earlier.
2. Simple Checkout Process
According to the data from Baymard Institute, about 70% of online customers abandoned their shopping cart in 2020. That means for every ten customers who add items to their shopping carts, seven leave without finalizing orders.
According to Baymard Institute 2021 survey, the main reasons why potential customers abandon their carts, excluding those who are just browsing, are the following:
Thus, 18% of US digital shoppers have abandoned their carts in the past quarter simply because the checkout process was too long or complicated. Baymard Institute research shows that reducing the number of checkout forms to the minimum required for users to complete the checkout is best. To do that, the following best UX practices can be used.
Practice 5: Single Name Field
Baymard Institute’s research results indicate that users generally perceive their name as a single entity. It gets even more paramount on a mobile device as every unnecessary form adds to the hurdle of typing in the required information on a limited-size screen.
Practice 6: Collapsed Unnecessary Fields
Optional fields, such as ‘Address Line 2’, ‘Company,’ and ‘Coupon Code,’ are less distracting to the users if they are collapsed behind a link.
Practice 7: Zip Code Autodetection
Automatically detected zip code, city, and state simplifies the checkout process for your customers.
Practice 8: Digital Payment Methods
If there are not enough payment options, it turns away 7% of digital customers. It’s easier for a mobile user to pay with a digital payment service, such as PayPal, than with a credit card. The latter involves completing several steps: locating your card and filling in several fields on a small screen.
Case Study 2: Lululemon
For example, Lululemon, a well-known yoga-inspired brand that makes athletic clothes for practicing yoga, running, and working out, offers an option to buy with PayPal. They collapse unnecessary fields that only apply to those customers who would like to split the total into several payments or who would like to redeem a gift card.
Case Study 3: Nike
Nike app is an excellent example of mobile UX best practices for ecommerce in action. Its customers are not overwhelmed with too many fields on the same screen during the checkout process. As a result, the checkout process is smooth, easy, and predictable. After choosing the delivery or pickup option, you fill in your shipping address and submit the order. The entire process takes only a few minutes.
3: User-Friendly Navigation
Designing user-friendly category navigation in an ecommerce mobile app requires careful planning and understanding of the user’s behavior. Best navigation UX practices include the following.
Practice 9: Manageable Number of Categories and Subcategories
Too many categories and subcategories make your customers feel overwhelmed and confused. Browsing long lists of categories is even harder on mobile devices than on desktops. The number of categories should be easy to navigate for your customers.
Practice 10: Intuitive Subcategory Thumbnails
Subcategory thumbnails should be clear and easy to interpret for your users. Ideally, they simplify their decision-making process by showing images that can be easily identified at a glance.
Practice 11: Search Submission Button
Streamlining the search process on mobile commerce apps is critical. Search submission is even more cumbersome here, as users need to type in their keywords on a mobile keyboard. Positioning a magnifying glass icon next to the search field and using a custom “Search” submit button in the user interface helps to provide an intuitive search experience to your app users.
Practice 12: Suggested Products in Search Bar
When a customer uses the search bar, provide suggestions in the search bar for products as a user is typing in their query. The suggested product names can be
- based on their product history or their browsing history,
- belong to the same category, or
- include items that are currently on sale.
In addition, you can list links to related product subcategories they can click on below to optimize the search process and simplify navigation for your customers.
Practice 13: “Save to Wishlist” Option
Mobile shoppers are often browsing and shopping around before they are ready to make a purchase. Offering them an option to “Save to Wishlist” or “Add to Favorites” an item they liked will save them some time searching for it later.
Case Study 3 (Continued): Nike
For example, the Nike store proactively offers you to save an item by adding it to favorites. Those customers who found a pair of snickers they liked would be happy to save it until they are ready to purchase it. The question “Not ready to buy?” makes the customer feel understood and less pressured to make a purchase on the spot.
Case Study 4: H&M
H&M is a multinational clothing company that offers fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teens, and children at affordable prices. When you search for a specific category in the H&M app, you can immediately see a list of related product subcategories. It can give customers, who are just browsing, an idea about where to go next.
The H&M app uses a custom “Search” submit button on the keyboard to simplify the search process.
The number of categories is small, and their names are clear and straightforward. There are only four main categories in the H&M app store: All, Women, Men, and Accessories. When you click on the Women category, it has only four subcategories: Women’s Clothes, Women’s Accessories, Activities, and Gift Cards. You cannot get lost when categories are so obviously delineated.
Women’s Clothes subcategory is further subdivided into ten subcategories: Gifts for Her, Leggings, Coats & Jackets, Dresses, Hoodies & Sweatshirts, Pants, Shirts, Shorts, and Skirts, and Underwear. Importantly, the subcategory thumbnails offer an easy way to interpret the meaning of each subcategory.
Ten is the maximum number of subcategories in the H&M app. Accessories are subdivided into five additional subcategories, and Activities have six subcategories.
4. Optimized Product Pages
Product pages should be carefully crafted to communicate all the information that could help your customers make informed purchasing decisions. From the visual representation to the language used in the product description, a product page should reduce uncertainty for your customers and present all necessary product details.
Practice 14: High-Quality Images
Visual representation of your products is essential. Many customers make purchasing decisions based on the look. Therefore, you can communicate high-quality by using professionally styled photos and videos of your products.
Practice 15. Zooming Option for Product Images
Zooming options are essential to provide when customers may want to see product details or rotate an image.
Practice 16: Clear Product Details
When you write product descriptions, consider what your customers would like to know about the unique features of your items and how they stand out from the competition. Detailed specification information helps undecided clients to make up their minds.
Practice 17: Product Recommendations
Suggest products that complement each other and are often bought together. Recommendations can help your customers learn about different types of products that they weren’t necessarily considering.
Case Study 5: Bite&Bite
Our team created a mobile UI/UX design for Bite&Bite, a holistic European bistro. The app was designed to place dine-in or to-go orders. Given Bite&Bite’s novel approach to ordering food, which is based not only on their customers’ dietary preferences but also on their mood, effectively displaying every food item with its pertinent nutritional information was our priority.
Since Bite&Bite’s clientele includes health-conscious professionals with a dynamic lifestyle, each product page was designed using high-quality images to make it easier for customers to perceive nutritional and visual information and place an order.
Product recommendations are offered when a customer chooses between Traditional Menu and Mood Menu categories.
The checkout process is simplified because clients complete a quick registration process and provide their dietary preferences when they download the app. Payment methods include a credit card, PayPal, and Apple Pay.
On the last step, customers are asked to leave a tip for their waiter.
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Mobile commerce has been growing very fast in recent years and is expected to almost double its share in total US retail sales by 2025. In this fast-changing environment, UX designers and mobile retailers need to rely on up-to-date mobile ecommerce best practices for UX design. High-quality mobile user experience design naturally leads to stronger customer loyalty and higher conversion rate and app revenue.
We grouped mobile ecommerce design best practices into four main areas that can impact your app’s performance: easy onboarding, simple checkout process, user-friendly navigation, and optimized product pages. In each of these critical areas, we identified 4 or 5 crucial ecommerce mobile UX best practices and illustrated their implementation using five case studies of ecommerce mobile apps. Since every app is unique, an experienced app design and development team can determine the right mix of UX best practices for an ecommerce mobile application to create an outstanding mobile shopping experience for your customers.
What is a mobile user experience?
Mobile user experience involves every aspect of user interaction with an app, from downloading it to onboarding and making a purchase. Designers strive to create a positive user experience at every stage of a user’s journey. They study your mobile users’ unique needs, preferences, and requirements and craft an application that matches these needs. A good user experience optimizes all aspects of the app's usability.
What is the app UX?
The app UX involves every aspect of user experience with an app, from downloading it to onboarding and making a purchase. Designers strive to create a positive user experience at every stage of a user’s journey. They study your mobile users' unique needs, preferences, and requirements and craft an application that matches these needs. A good user experience optimizes all aspects of the app usability and relies on mobile UX best practices in ecommerce.
What does user experience mean?
User experience involves every aspect of user interaction with an app or website. Designers strive to create a positive user experience at every stage of a user’s journey. They study your mobile users' unique needs, preferences, and requirements and craft a product that matches these needs. A good user experience optimizes all aspects of the app's usability.
What is the purpose of mobile user experience and why does UX design matter?
Mobile UX design, ultimately, aims at improving customers’ experience with an app. Contrary to what it may seem at first glance, smartphones and tablets are not just miniature versions of desktops. Therefore, it takes a specialized skill set and a keen understanding of user behavior to create a successful mobile app. Designers strive to create a positive user experience at every stage of a user’s journey. To do that, they study the unique needs, preferences, and requirements of your mobile users and craft an application that matches these needs using mobile app best practices in UX design. As a result, happier users mean a higher mobile conversion rate and increased revenue flow.