Smarter Commerce – smoother shopping experiences

Have you had any spookily good experiences when buying something online recently?  Have you thought “that was pretty neat” or maybe even just thought “that seemed surprisingly easy”?

Companies, brands, UX experts, designers, and technologists are all putting huge amounts of time, effort, and resources into making things work better and more intuitively.

Granted it doesn’t always work and we’d love to hear about your experiences – silkily smooth, through to grindingly off-putting.  Shout out in the comments below.

We have noticed a few really smart and neat developments recently that are well worth calling out.

Shopify – a back-bone e-commerce platform for many small traders – now has a really, REALLY good interface when you find yourself logging into a website using their system. Shopify asks you to log into an app on your phone and gives you a passcode that you type into the browser on your laptop.  Hey-presto, you’re magically logged into the website, even if you haven’t shopped there before – finding your details, logging you in, and filling in your name, address, and email details.



Mobile phones now often make it easier to shop online than laptops.  When your smartphone detects a form field, the phone offers a one-click fill-in, because it’s SMART.  First name? Yes, of course, it is “Simon” (it’s on my phone); address? Your beauty… fill all of that in.  I don’t even mind if it makes a mistake – correcting it is far easier than typing the whole form. Why doesn’t this happen on laptops and browsers?

In fact, many of the big platform providers – Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all working on password-free log-ins.  Let me say that again slowly … “Password-free log-ins”.  No more scrabbling to remember your quirky password, no more resetting your password even though you KNOW you entered it correctly. No more “Email and password unrecognised” annoying trip-ups.    Just look at your phone and you’re in.   Apple, Google, and Microsoft are in the process of pivoting to passwordless sign-ins for accessing websites and apps across their devices and platforms. The companies announced their joint support for a system created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium, which they say will allow for “faster, easier, and more secure sign‑ins.”

As with many brilliant user experiences, we largely have Apple to thank for finding a super-slick solution that really works. Does fingerprint unlock? Facial recognition unlock and password? One-click NFT payment? Thank you, Apple – for these, we love you.

Another neat example comes from Forever 21.  They actively show how much you need to add to your basket to qualify for free shipping. Why spend $5 on shipping, when you can spend $10 on an item and get the whole lot shipped free?  Done deal.


And has a smart function:  If you pause when you’ve added your smart new headphones to their basket – maybe your phone’s ringing, or maybe you’re having second thoughts – you are prompted to choose to “Email cart” to yourself, so you can easily return and buy later.


(Some other e-commerce sites do this automatically if you are signed in.  Abandon a cart and you’ll get a spooky email a few moments later saying “Did you forget this?” or “We’re keeping this aside for you; click here to complete the purchase?”. Personally, I find them a touch uncomfortably intrusive… but you have to acknowledge the value to both the customer and the retailer.)

Nike also places messages like “Just a Few Left, Order Now” to encourage shoppers to complete their checkout.  FOMO!

Lululemon takes a more complimentary approach: “You’ve got excellent taste” greets you as you add something to the cart.

But whilst we’re at it… a couple of pet peeves.  These things REALLY should have been sorted by now.  Insurers – fill in my details!  If I come back to your site 12 months later for a new insurance quote, please do not make me fill in my address, driving license details, age, passport number, etc, etc, etc.  You have all those details; they haven’t changed. Do me a favour: Pre-populate them for me.  I know you’ll cry “protecting my precious customer data”… but then why have I logged in?  Why collect them each time I visit?

Let’s embrace the progress and the moments of magic, being uncovered by brands that care with smart teams focused on making our journeys frictionless.

So, every day, little by little, user experiences get better and better.  Commerce is evolving. Just remember to keep the valued Consumer at the heart of it.

By: Simon Stokes

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