When mobile retail experiences are frictionless, consumers are more likely to not just research but buy on their phones. Google's UX Research Lead Jenny Gove and UX Design Lead Iram Mirza share 25 tips for designing a retail app or site – from surfacing product information to detailed visuals.

In the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do and I-want-to-buy moments of life, people are increasingly turning to their phones with the intent to act – and they expect brands to deliver. When it comes to shopping, users want immediate, relevant and frictionless mobile experiences.

Given that 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones, the stakes have never been higher for retailers. To meet the needs and expectations of today's omni-channel consumers, retailers must transform their mobile experiences.

Given that 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones, the stakes have never been higher for retailers.

To help app and mobile site developers and brands learn what comprises a best-in-class mobile retail experience, we partnered with AnswerLab to run a retail-specific user study with more than 100 people, testing their experiences on 50 different retail apps and mobile sites. The result: 25 principles to help you improve your mobile shopping experience.

Put users at the centre of your mobile shopping design

We looked at user experiences on both retail apps and mobile sites, closely tracking a variety of activities: searching for products, navigating, exploring a product page and completing a purchase upon checkout.

Results of the research made one thing clear: The design and structure of retail apps and mobile sites should focus on addressing consumers' needs and supporting them throughout their shopping experiences. It was evident from the research that there are multiple points in the process when consumers get frustrated. Sometimes it's because they're asked to register without having yet received any value from the site or app; often it's because they're presented with poor visual feedback and a lack of details about products. And then there are the clunky checkout forms and a scarcity of payment options.

The study also highlighted the importance of core usability and showed the need for it doesn't decline as the web evolves. The good news is that companies are finding new ways to make the shopping experience seamless for users. This includes improving the interface for easier form completion, providing location services and enabling users to pay with third party payment providers or by scanning credit cards.

New innovations in mobile e-commerce can help engage the user and make the shopping experience delightful. It's more important than ever to ensure those new experiences are grounded in the principles of user experience design. We've distilled the research down to 25 critical insights across four categories: exploration and search, product details and reviews, checkout and payments and frictionless shopping.

Let’s get started with Chapter 1, Exploration and Search.

  • 1. Google Analytics data, US, Sept. 2014 vs. Sept. 2015