Mobile commerce shows no signs of slowing its furious pace of growth, as consumers get comfortable using their smartphones and tablets to shop anytime and anywhere they want: In a report titled \u201cU.S. Mobile Phone and Tablet Commerce Forecast, 2015 to 2020,\u201d Forrester Research estimates that mobile commerce sales will reach $142 billion this year, up from $115 billion last year.\n[ Related: Apple, Google, Samsung and others betting on mobile payments ]\nRetailers haven\u2019t necessarily been doing high-fives in response, though \u2014 that\u2019s because the Forrester report also found that while almost one-third of merchants\u2019 online traffic originates on mobile devices only 11 percent of actual sales are completed via the mobile channel. The thing is, while people spend time browsing, researching products and even starting the purchase process online, actually placing an order on a phone can be a tough task. Anyone who has squinted while hunting for a shopping cart on a tiny screen knows mobile checkout can be a huge pain \u2014 so it may come as no surprise that experts say it\u2019s the most likely place for frustrated customers to abandon ship.\n[ Related: A Guide to the Top Mobile Payments Options ]\n\u201cThe mobile checkout process has not been easy, intuitive or predictable to date,\u201d says Mario Vollbracht, managing director of retail strategies for Alsbridge, an advisory firm that helps clients find sources for IT services. The common challenge, he explains, is usability \u2014 shoppers may, for example, be required to sign up or click through a long series of screens. And, of course, entering a promotion code on a mobile device can be like threading a needle.\nIn a recent research article titled \u201cThe State of Mobile Checkout & Form Usability,\u201d the Baymard Institute describes the average checkout process experience as \u201cseriously flawed\u201d \u2014 in many cases, the problems are so severe that users don\u2019t complete their orders. According to the report, the biggest issues include \u201cpresentation of and interaction with total order cost, shipping options and account features,\u201d as well as \u201cform redundancy, lack of field descriptions and deficient error messages.\u201d\n[ Related: When Will Mobile Commerce Be Ready for Primetime? ]\nHow to improve the mobile checkout process\nSo, how can retailers improve the mobile checkout experience? E-commerce pioneer Stephan Schambach says that the mobile retail model needs to be reinvented from the ground up.\n\u201cThe online shopping cart is dying a gradual death,\u201d says Schambach, the founder of Demandware and current CEO of NewStore, a provider of a mobile retail platform. \u201cBetween constant registrations and passwords, there\u2019s nothing convenient about it.\u201d He says that 60 to 70 percent of purchases are of single items, and shopping carts shouldn\u2019t be necessary for such small transactions.\n[ Related: 7 reasons mobile payments still aren't mainstream ]\nInstead, he says, the holy grail of mobile checkout would be a native mobile app equipped with direct payment options such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, which have billing and shipping information stored in them. \u201cEventually, the mobile commerce experience will be an app-centric approach,\u201d he says.\n\n3 tips for improving the mobile checkout experience\n\nMake it easy to tie into a payment system. The easier it is for shoppers to pay for their orders with systems such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay, the better, says Mario Vollbracht, managing director of retail strategies at Alsbridge. "The goal should be to make it as simple and easy as going into a brick-and-mortar Starbucks and using the Starbucks app," he says.\nStreamline the checkout process. Reducing the amount of steps involved in mobile checkout can make a big difference, says Natalie Belanger, vice president of customer engagement solutions at Aptos. For example, make it possible for users to expand and contract forms using the plus and minus signs, so they don't have to keep skipping to a new page for every step in the process. And choose fonts and colors that make your checkout screens easy to read and navigate. "This increases the usability," she says.\nPut yourself in the customer's shoes. Make sure you define your mobile checkout process based on how customers will actually use it, says Belanger. Will they be filling out the mobile checkout form in public? Will they be browsing your site while they're in physical stores? Do you have older customers who may need bigger text? Above all, she says, "make sure it's a natural process."\n\n\nOther experts, however, maintain that retailers should focus on browser-based systems, because they attract a wider audience than apps do. According to February\u2019s Mobile Checkout Report from BI Intelligence, people spend most of their mobile shopping time in browsers, not apps. The report also found that mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Android Pay could still boost mobile commerce within browsers.\nThe size of a retailer\u2019s customer base plays a big role in determining whether an app or the mobile web model is the best choice, says Natalie Belanger,vice president of customer engagement solutions at Aptos, a provider of retail technology solutions. \u201cIf you are a retailer with high volume and high frequency, it\u2019s easier to justify building a mobile app that consumers will download,\u201d she says. \u201cBut, if you are retailer of specialty apparel and the average customer buys with you once or twice a year, it\u2019s less likely they\u2019ll be willing to download your app.\u201d\nGetting mobile checkout right\nClearly, some companies are getting mobile checkout right: Forrester estimates that Amazon and eBay capture about one-third of all shopping done on mobile devices in the U.S. And Alsbridge\u2019s Vollbracht says retailers such as Staples, H&M and Walmart.com have top-notch mobile checkout options. \u201cIn all these cases, you will see that less is more as far as what gets presented to the customer checking out,\u201d he says.\nBrick-and-mortar stores are doing mobile checkout well, too, says Vollbracht, citing the Apple Store and Sephora as examples. \u201cThe Apple mobile experience, combined with in-store checkout with Apple Pay is a trailblazer,\u201d he says. Meanwhile, Sephora\u2019s Flash subscription option enables in-store shoppers to use their phones to select items that they can\u2019t find on the shelves and then combine all of the goods \u2014 both those they have in hand, and those chosen online \u2014 into one purchase during the checkout process.