Registration and accounts on ecommerce sites have plenty of pros and cons. On the one hand, they can be handy for retention and easy repeat purchases, but they can be a barrier. 

They can present a particular problem on mobile especially if shoppers have forgotten login details from previous purchases. 

To illustrate this point, here's an example from the M&S mobile site, one which must be causing a number of abandoned purchases. 

Here's how M&S does it on mobile

Having failed to remember my password, I choose the reset option. This is easy enough, and set up for mobile: 

Having done this, I receive an email with a password reset link. So far, so good.

Having clicked the reset link on the email, we have this page. A dead-end.

If you have any patience left, you can start the process again on the desktop site which, viewed on mobile, isn't too easy to use: 

However, even if you do persevere, you'll still end up back at your mobile email, with a link that leads to the dead-end above. 

So, it seems that, if you've forgotten your password and want to shop on your mobile with M&S, then you're stuck until you can reset it on your laptop or PC.

I wonder how many potential sales M&S loses like this?  

Here's how it should be done

John Lewis provides a better example on its mobile site. Like M&S the initial password reset page is designed for mobile:

The email isn't so mobile-friendly, but since all I need to do is click the link, it's not a major barrier. 

John Lewis password reset email

Unlike M&S, I'm directed to a mobile-optimised password reset page. Easy. 

In summary

While the M&S example is a particularly bad one, plenty of other sites make the password reset process harder than it needs to be for mobile users.

The most common problem is switching them to the desktop version on the site to reset it, from where customers may find it hard to get back to the optimised version they were using before. 

Thought should be given to this customer journey as, since people have so many passwords to remember, they are bound to be forgotten now and then.

Sites should ensure that this doesn't prevent them making a purchase on their mobile commerce sites. 

Graham Charlton

Published 13 September, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (4)


Andy Geldman

Mobile is crying out for better "forgot password" processes. Instead of sending a password reset email, sites could offer to send an email with a link that logs the user in immediately when clicked. The security is pretty much the same as a password reset email - if a link lets you reset the password a link can also log you straight in.

almost 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

I've seen one site (can't remember which) that did this with date of birth and a security question. No need for email.

almost 5 years ago


Nupur Manchanda

I bought from Gap's mobile site yesterday and had forgotten my password. The 'front half' of their site is mobile optimised, but when you enter the checkout it kicks you into the desktop version - not great for using on a mobile so I was somewhat skeptical about going through the forgot password routine. Turns out they are one of those sites that asks you to input a password hint when you first create an account - made things much easier when I forgot my password as I didn't have to faff around clicking on email links but stayed within the Gap environment.

almost 5 years ago


Grant Kemp

Strange to see that from M&S.

I remember a project I worked on where the client even left off the forgot password link from the mobile site as it wasn't part of the minimum marketable features.

( then wondered why mobile wasn't converting!)

almost 5 years ago

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