Dev

How Maslow's hierarchy can help you build a great mobile checkout process

mobile shopping checkout

Everybody’s talking about the m-commerce boom, but if you look past the sophisticated surveys, app owners are struggling to figure out why their conversion rates fall short of expectations.

It’s not surprising if you consider the fact that mobile shopping cart abandonment rates are around 97 percent. Many frustrated developers have asked me how they can decrease these huge numbers that just don’t fit their business model.

I’ve tried to look at this challenge differently, not as a payment expert but rather from a psychological viewpoint, exploring our users’ needs and expectations throughout the checkout process.

Many influential payment companies in this ecosystem have introduced backend solutions that address merchants and developers’ needs. So as a developer you can now enjoy easy APIs, friendly onboarding, methods with reduced processing fees, all of which make their lives easier. The one factor that’s left out of this equation is the user, who somehow seems to be neglected, even though they’re the only one who controls the transaction.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory used to understand human motivation. The hierarchy is based on five levels of needs. In order to reach the next level, a person must first satisfy the lower level of needs.

Even though it’s a little far from the original framework, some of its principals can actually be applied to understand the influence of users’ needs in reference to mobile conversion rates.

Basic needs: keep it simple

Twenty-nine percent of mobile shoppers who abandoned the checkout process did so because they were required to register before buying.

Mobile commerce is here to stay. We’re not just targeting early adopters anymore. However, in order to achieve mass market adoption the basic process needs to be clear and simple.

Many app owners require that their users create an account, even for a one time purchase. Yet people need to get their feet wet before jumping in the water. Forcing users to register and remember yet another password can be a huge barrier for someone who still has concerns about their purchase.

Every complication along the way gives the user a chance to stop and rethink their buying decision, while chasing away most impulse buyers among your users. This is obviously less basic than the need for air or food, but it’s probably the key factor to increasing conversion rates.

Main takeaway: Facilitate a simple checkout, avoid forcing the user to create an account or use a password.

Safety: Give them peace of mind

Forty-two percent of consumers have stopped or abandoned a purchase on a website because of a safety or security concern.

Security concerns are probably the #1 barrier to online shopping, and things don’t improve on mobile. However, it’s a matter of perception rather than facts. The level of security available with today’s range of technologies is high. Financial risks exist in the physical commerce world as well, but whenever there’s a mobile payment involved, the fear factor kicks in and users becomes more alert. Delivering a secure process isn’t enough; our biggest challenge is to make users FEEL that the process is secure.

One of the problems in most checkout experiences on native apps is redirecting to the PSP’s web page to complete the transaction. At that very point where your user has finally grown to trust you, you pull them away to a different site and bring them back to square one in terms of their attitude towards the purchase. This triggers many doubts about this unfamiliar external page, about its level of security, and what could go wrong while trying to return to the app. Creating a full native experience will ease those concerns and give your users more piece of mind.

Main Takeaway: Maintain a native in-app payment; avoid redirecting to an external web page.

Belonging: create a familiar environment

Forty-nine percent of mobile shoppers don’t shop more on their smartphone due to an awkward shopping experience.

A sense of belonging is triggered in a familiar environment. The beauty of Amazon’s checkout is that you can buy a book, a pair of sneakers or a laptop, but the checkout process is the same. By creating this payment standardization process the consumer feels like they are in a familiar place.

Your payment page doesn’t have to win a design contest; it has to look like a place where people pay, with a reliable look and feel, aligned with the standard payment conventions.

Another way to maintain familiarity and continuity is by enabling users to pay without re-entering credit card details. Make sure you keep security in mind and meet the standards of PCI compliance; if you need a reminder, go back to level 2 of the pyramid.

Main takeaway: Deliver a seamless experience without asking for details that the user has already given in the past, and don’t get too creative with design and special effects.

Esteem: let them run the show

Seventy-nine percent of decisive consumers said they would be more inclined to make online purchases if given easier and more secure payment options than credit and debit cards.

People like to believe they have freedom to choose. When you limit users to one payment method, you send a message of “my way or nothing at all.” By offering multiple options, the user becomes actively involved in the process, they’re the one calling the shots.

If you’re a global player, multiple payment methods are a must. In some countries credit card penetration is very low and other methods are essential.

Main takeaway: Offer your consumers multiple payment methods suitable for your geography and business model.

Self-actualization: keep up with them

Sixty-three percent of consumers prefer mobile commerce because they can do it while multi-tasking.

Today’s consumer has a lot on her mind. Mobile shoppers want to be a savvy consumer, one who gets things done, gets the best deal and wastes as little time as possible, because time is money. By giving shoppers an efficient experience, they’ll feel like they made a smart choice.

Users are often faster and smarter than us, and expect vendors to keep up. Without unnecessary friction, they’re left with more time to concentrate on the big decisions that makes each of them unique.

Your users are smart. Give them real benefits; they’ll appreciate it.

Main takeaway: Stay up-to-date with the latest innovations to help you tailor your consumer focused checkout.

mobile checkout

Noam Inbar is vice president of business development at ZooZ, a consumer-driven checkout platform for e-commerce and mobile, enabling developers and retailers to boost conversion rates.

Top image credit: zizzy/Flickr


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