Apple Pay is now available for e-commerce sites and Google has released its Payment Request API, offering e-retailers new opportunities to speed up checkout.

It’s exciting times for new payment methods on the mobile web. With recent launches of Apple Pay on e-commerce sites and Google releasing its Payment Request API, marketers are paying close attention to how higher performance in the checkout process will affect conversions. Knowing the average checkout process is slow—40 seconds is the average across both desktop and mobile sites, and 46% of abandonment happens at the payment stage—the promise of a more positive payment experience on any device or browser could be what finally brings mobile conversion rates to match desktop.

Real-world retailer deployments of the new web payment systems are obviously thin on the ground given that the methods have only been available for a short time. But, early adopter retailers are already out ahead of the pack, which means we’ll have great data on just how impactful these new payment methods are by the end of the holiday shopping season.

There are two basic bodies of work for integrating payments into your user experience. For Apple Pay or Android Pay, this involves working with e-commerce vendors and payment gateways.  The good news is, for those implementing the Web Payments API open standard, the integration does not require back-end changes. If you do want Apple Pay or Android Pay, integrating payments into the back end is sometimes time-consuming, so get this going right away. The second part is similar for all three methods and focuses on designing and implementing the shopper payment experience—the process and flow of how a shopper checks out.

Where should we put payments? How do we message express checkout vs. traditional checkout? How do we bring in all those services which can be unique to each site—like gift wrapping or messaging, shipping items to multiple addresses, promo codes and gift card entries, or options like email subscriptions or account creation? 

Creating a fast and efficient shopper experience requires good design thinking, one that creates simplicity for the shopper. This is where the battle for the mobile moment is won or lost.


Here are some landmines and opportunities to win user experience, as we’ve encountered them:

1. Recognize your traditional payment process will change. The classic checkout flow, with its “add to cart,” “continue shopping,” “checkout,” “checkout with third party payment,” etc. is multi-stepped and complicated. But the fact is, shoppers are used to them. There will be a certain amount of experimenting with simpler, nevertheless new, checkout flows. This requires patience and a willingness to think differently during the design stage.

2. Consult early with your design and engineering teams. The level of friction reduction for both new and repeat customers will come down to how clean and simple your design is and how well your design and engineering teams have worked together to bring shoppers through the purchase process. Involve them early.  Offering too many payment options can introduce a lot of complexity for your users and teams, so offer choice, but focus on what your customers are most likely to use.

3. Think fast and keep it simple. Marketers are used to adding things, such as new features, better services –and more often more is better. But not here. The less communication with the shopper the better. Avoid repeatedly asking for logins, don’t ask for extra info, keep things as simple as possible.


4. Leap on the “quick buy” or “buy now” opportunities. The new payments are about speed, and the low-hanging fruit is those shoppers who are looking for a single product quickly. Adding these quick buy or buy now buttons right on your product listing and product description pages allows buyers to skip the cart, avoiding unnecessary communications for fast results.

5. Beware new cart complexity.  Once a shopper arrives at the cart with multiple payment options, there will be three choices where there were two, with the new express payments options via Apple Pay or the Google Request Payment API, the existing checkout via credit card — or there could be the option to use third-party payment such as PayPal. The design challenge is to keep buyers going toward traditional checkout, ship to known address, etc., again, to avoid unnecessary interaction. For all those great services, gift wrapping, ship to multiple addresses, for example, consider creating an enhanced cart where you can offer all your extras. Or offer some services post-purchase in the confirmation page.

6. Test, test, re-test.  A/B testing to validate which location and messaging give better conversion rates is essential. Also be aware that, while procedures associated with Apple Pay are well known, not so with the new Payment Request API, which will require new naming conventions that can and should be tested. 

Ultimately, the new web payment systems are exciting opportunities for improving the buying process. But by themselves, they are APIs that do what APIs do best—make the connections needed for more effective transactions. The art of the game lies in taking advantage of this opportunity to create another great experience for shoppers.


Mobify provides mobile commerce services to 14 of the Top 1000 online retailers in North America, according to