The View from England

E.U. anti-fraud legislation emphasizes mobile

Recent E.U. legislation requires banks and payment processors to use two-step authentication. For online transactions in the E.U., the payment now requires not only the card number and the three-digit security code but also the code sent from the bank to your phone. It’s another step in the ongoing war to combat payment fraud. The E.U. has extended the implementation deadline by 18 months. But it will happen.

Whilst it is clearly better to have added security and safer money handling procedures, two-step authentication adds a step in the checkout process. It requires customers to have a mobile phone in hand.

I suspect even tighter authentication will eventually be mandated. Biometrics, such as a fingerprint or retina scan, could someday verify a transaction. This, again, requires a smartphone.

Mobile is easier

Indeed I am finding it easier to shop online with my mobile phone rather than on a computer. The verification is seamless and hardly disrupts the checkout process.

This means that I prefer to use mobile-friendly websites, where the sites scale sensibly down to my mobile screen and remain easy to navigate and view products. It’s much more than merely having a mobile version.

Thus it is increasingly vital that an ecommerce site is designed specifically for mobile phones. It is worth looking at your analytics for the percentage of visitors on smartphones and, also, the number of mobile conversions. Likely, both will grow over time.

Your mobile conversion rate should be least as good if not better than from computers. If, like me, visitors find it easier to check out and pay on a mobile phone, the mobile conversion rate should be higher. If not, your site is presumably not mobile-friendly.

To be truly mobile-friendly may require a redesign, a better template, or even a different ecommerce platform.

The best time to revamp and improve a site is typically after the holiday rush and January sales — thus late January or early February. Use this busy fourth quarter to gather information, and the next quarter to improve. Consider using an expert for the rework. It is better to use an independent third party to view your site, someone who is not blind to flaws.

In short, get ahead of the regulations — the ever-tightening security restrictions. Make sure your site remains a place where consumers can easily shop and spend.

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