Since mobile app purchases are of little use to retailers if consumers bail on the transaction, technology vendors are keener than ever to cure 'cart abandonment.'

Fixing the checkout is the most important element in improving mobile app fulfillment, but the solution to this problem may require a redesign that goes well beyond the payment process, said Ajay Kapur, CEO of Moovweb, a San Francisco-based company that hosts and delivers mobile technology through the cloud.

"A lot of the issues with checkout flow have to do with core usability issues, such as the pages not being intuitive or matching the type of merchant," Kapur said.

Based on research Moovweb has done with transactions that flow through its retail and merchant client apps, Kapur said there are about 400 different elements that span checkout processes. These elements cover what kinds of messaging consumers see when arriving at a checkout step in an e-commerce or m-commerce transaction, as well as what added information is required or optional.

By streamlining and customizing that part of the user experience, consumers are more likely to complete a transaction, Kapur said.

"A flower site may have a gift card user experience, while a large department store may have a warranty upsell," said, adding that while most m-commerce APIs allow for some variance, the overall design suffers from a "cookie cutter" approach that can be improved through technology simpler than some may think. "There are 400 unique capabilities, not thousands," he said.

Moovweb's checkout flow technology, which has been in testing and formally launched Oct. 5, uses a tagging system that is derived from the consumer's engagement with the merchant's existing mobile app experience. These tags trigger the nature of the checkout experience.

"The [tagging] is the trick to say if you get a warranty upsell, for example, but also to do that in a way that's easier to spot and usable," Kapur said. For example, a user coming from an Adwords campaign may get a unique checkout experience, Kapur said.

Moovweb's product, called MoovCheckout, also adds some design elements, such as inserting a "place order" button at the top of the review page. That makes it clear that the order has not been placed, Kapur said, noting a common problem for checkout pages is consumers walk away after they mistake the review order page as the actual confirmation page. The company also uses auto detection of a user's city and state based on zip code, as well as card type, two functions that are designed to make populating the checkout page easier, Kapur said. The product also includes performance tracking and information on conversion rates, traffic and overall transactions. Moovweb’s merchant fees are based on usage volume.

The statistics suggest cart abandonment is a problem. The Baymard Institute says cart abandonment is more than two thirds across e-commerce. Contact Solutions reports 51% of consumers will abandon an app if they struggle with the user experience, and 20% will never come back to the app. Also, Contact Solutions found 55% of consumers struggle with an app at least 20% of the time.

That has led other companies to chase the user experience market, in addition to Moovweb.

Klarna, a Stockholm, Sweden-based e-commerce company, offers a buy-now-pay-later model to encourage people to use mobile apps. The Philadelphia-based ShopRunner has worked with partners such as American Express to enable payments on mobile commerce sites with less navigation.

It can also be argued that the move toward playing "buy buttons" on social networking will reduce the steps of the typical mobile shopping experience.

"There is definitely a big variety of checkout experiences, which is a contributing factor to cart abandonment," said Zil Bareisis, a senior analyst at Celent. "There is a growing number of payment types available, both domestically and internationally, but even with core payment types such as cards the checkout experience can vary significantly. Anything that can help retailers optimize their checkout pages should be welcome by merchants."

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