With 78% of people reportedly making a purchase on mobile within the last six months, it is clear that mobile shopping is on the rise.

However, despite this fact, basket abandonment remains a particularly big problem for online retailers – especially considering the often spontaneous and time-sensitive nature of buying on a smartphone.

According to MEF’s new Mobile Money Report, 58% of people have started to pay for something via mobile, only to abandon it before the final checkout. 

With 31% saying this was because they were asked for too much sensitive information, and 21% saying the process was too long – it has been suggested that offering a ‘buy now, pay later’ option could help combat this. 

But would this option really prevent buyers from abandoning their baskets?

Here’s a bit more info on the feature, as well as how online retailers are currently incorporating it. And to learn more about mobile UX, check out these Econsultancy resources:

Paying at a later date

Some retailers have been offering the option to ‘pay later’ for a while, however this has commonly involved opening a credit account with potentially steep interest rates.

Recently, a number of new third-party payment companies have popped up, aiming to offer more flexible and transparent services, and bridging the gap between consumers and retailers.

Brands like FuturePay and Klarna essentially pay the retailer first, which means the consumer then owes them. These companies typically promote low or no interest as well as multiple payment options, providing the consumer with greater flexibility. 

Of course, there is still the suggestion that it is irresponsible to offer any type of credit, however companies like Klarna deliberately position themselves as an alternative to stereotypical credit companies.

With a focus on the quick, easy and trustworthy nature of the service - it's all about making the mobile shopping experience as smooth as possible.

How do retailers promote pay later?


AO is known for its customer-centric approach, so it's unsurprising that it offers multiple payment options.

Partnering with credit company V12, it offers consumers the opportunity to 'pay on finance' - meaning they can pay nothing for six months or spread the cost (with interest). 

The service has been around for a while, meaning that the wording is rather out-dated and jargon-heavy. The focus on 'interest free credit' sounds rather serious as opposed to the general notion of paying at a later date, which could put potential customers off.


Curry's is another retailer that offers flexible credit, but it is poorly promoted on mobile.

While it is highlighted on the product page, consumers are still required to fill out a lengthy checkout form before the option arises again.

Similar to AO, the sheer amount of information offered here is also likely to confuse or put consumers off from using it to make the purchase.


GHD is just one of the retailers that has partnered with new third-party payment company, Klarna.

There is immediately a much bigger focus on transparency and simplicity, with a lot of copy dedicated to explaining the concept.

This extends to the checkout process, which includes the enticing 'shop now, pay later' option.

By including it alongside the standard credit card or PayPal options, it's likely to catch the consumer's attention.


Clarks Australia is another retailer that has partnered with a third-party payment provider.

It is also one of the most heavily promoted examples, including links to AfterPay on its homepage and on each product page.

This is undoubtedly the most effective approach.

Not only does it let the user know early on, but it allows them to explore the concept instead of being confronted with it at the checkout.

Will it reduce basket abandonment?

So, back to the real question at hand. Does the option to pay later really provide futher incentive to checkout on mobile?

From the aforementioned examples, we are able to see that the way brands promote and present this information has an impact.

The likes of AO and Currys - with their finance-heavy descriptions and dense explanations - might put consumers off, simply because this type of information is not convenient or engaging on mobile.

However, with the subtler approach demonstrated by GHD and Clarks (plus the customer-centric nature of the third-party companies) - customers are more likely to show interest.

Likewise, prominent promotion of 'shop now, pay later' on product pages and as early as possible during the checkout is key. For mobile shoppers making quick or spontaneous purchases - the concept sounds enticing.

Despite recent criticism over 'shock bills' and spiralling debt, it is clear that flexible payment options can provide greater convenience.

As long as the service is transparent and simple to understand, consumers might be willing to make it part of their mobile shopping experience.

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Nikki Gilliland

Published 1 February, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (5)

Steve McGrath

Steve McGrath, Presales Technical Manager at RedEyeEnterprise

Thanks for the write-up, I agree that for certain high-ticket items I would very much expect some kind of payment options these days. I recently purchased tickets to the British Grand Prix and for the first year Silverstone offered an interest free payment option - not only did this make the buying decision easier buy I also upgraded my tickets for an experience that I would not have been able to do had I had to pay the whole amount upfront, so great for up-sell.

over 1 year ago

Jack Ford

Jack Ford, Marketing Manager at SaleCycle

Really interesting article as ever Nikki! Customer survey data from some of our retail clients show that price and payment options are 2 of the top 5 reasons for cart abandonment. Admittedly this is across desktop and mobile but does support the theory that these alternative payment methods could help reduce cart abandonment rates on mobile (and desktop).

over 1 year ago


Matt Lovell, Head of Customer Data, Insight & Analytics at Eurostar International Ltd.

Really interesting article Nikki and something that will no doubt become more and more prevalent.

The other question I've heard discussed around the mobile journey is around a buy now / pay later mechanism that simply allows you to pay on another device later as one of the difficulties with the above is they still either rely on you having an account with Klarna / Afterpay or still inputting all of your billing / contact details at the original time of purchase.

Interestingly, on that front, I haven't yet seen anyone test it despite discussions at a number of events which begs the question of is this a result of low buy in within businesses or just everyone waiting for someone else to be the first to test it...

over 1 year ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Interesting article. That 58% figure for cart abandonment is spot on. We can confirm it here:

The elephant in the room is, if it's important for an individual shopper to spread repayments, why aren't they already using a low-interest credit card?

There are several financial comparison sites, so anyone who needs to spread repayments, and has not already done so by getting a low-interest card, has presumably been deterred by the complexity of signing up for one. Which means any site that makes it complicated to sign up for their own credit plan is not going to have much success. It has to be really simple.

over 1 year ago


Matt Lovell, Head of Customer Data, Insight & Analytics at Eurostar International Ltd.

Interesting point Pete. I agree with the logic that if we complicate the process of paying that it will deter people but I think a lot of the questions are around offering alternative payment options.

Direct Debit functionality is massively popular across Europe and it's something that's never really become a core payment option for consumer goods in the UK so maybe that's one of the options to look at. I also note that Paypal are now offering a delayed payment option which if people already have a Paypal account, makes things easier...

over 1 year ago

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