Simplifying checkout for mobile shopping carts

The importance of checkout

Checkout is probably most important step in an online shopping experience. The customer has browsed the store and finally decided to close the deal. But when faced with a 25 field form many would abandon a purchase. Especially on a mobile device where filling in forms isn’t very convenient to do.

The numbers

Shopping cart abandonment rate


of smartphone owners shop online.


of shopping cart abandonment happens at checkout.

This means people enjoy shopping on mobile, but they leave early when the experience isn’t good enough. So, a better designed checkout process would have great impact on decreasing this rate.
To improve the design, we need to know what’s wrong with the current one.

Why do customers leave at checkout?

Here are the top 3 reasons:

  • No guest checkout
    You don’t ask someone for commitment on the first date, do you? Then don’t ask your customers to create an account the very first time they visit your store. It’s the same thing.
  • Too much information required
    The mobile context demands simplicity. Asking customers irrelevant questions can quench the initial rush to purchase and eventually make them leave the website.
  • Complex checkout process
    When customers are ready to buy they want to do that as quickly as possible. Imagine checking out at a department store. How long does the payment process last? As long as taking out some cash or swiping your card. Well, people are looking for the same experience when they are online.

Simplifying checkout for mobile

Smashing Magazine have a really good article about simplifying the checkout process for mobile devices. Considering the top reasons for visitors to leave at checkout, several best practices can apply when designing the checkout experience for mobile:

  • Allow guest checkout
  • Make the checkout steps clear and keep them separate
    When the user advances, you can keep track of their progress. This simple “gamification” implies “Just a little bit more. Just one more step.”
  • Ask less questions
    Requiring too much information is the main reason why people abandon their carts. Remove as many fields as possible. The customers will be very grateful when there are less boxes to fill.

How can OpenCart’s checkout be simplified for mobile

As many of you may have noticed, since OpenCart 1.5.5 the shipping address part is skipped, unless you say you have different billing and delivery addresses. This is a great step towards simplification.

Still, I think it can be simplified even more. Here are some ideas:

  • Hide the shipping and billing address areas altogether, unless the user denotes that they have separate addresses.
  • Don’t make the user choose shipping and payment method if there is only one option.
  • Track checkout progress better, visually.
  • Allow social login and PayPal express checkout for faster collection of personal information

Until the default checkout process of OpenCart is simplified enough, extensions and themes have to do this. Considering how important this part online shopping experience is, we decided to take special care of it when developing our tablet theme. Below you can see some of our efforts to follow the best practices for checkout design.

The future

The need for faster checkout is a great driving force for service improvement. In the near future our money will be even more virtual and our smartphones will be wallets. As we know, Google wallet is already a real thing. Another interesting idea is social media payment.

Such ideas and technology will eventually turn checkout into a one-click process. Until then, we have to KISS as much as possible. :-)

Do you have any examples of simple checkout in the wild? Any ideas about further shortening of the process? Share your ideas in the comments.

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