The Temptation Equation: A look into Amazon's Checkout Process

This blog post will talk about Amazon's checkout process and how it is designed to tempt you into buying something.

For the last few days, I was so tempted to buy the Sony WF-1000XM3 earphones on Amazon even though I own an Airpods Pro and 6 other pairs of earphones. I clearly knew I don't need the earphones, but the offer was irresistible.

After a lot of self-questioning and analysis, I decided not to buy them. But, I was curious. I've shopped on other websites during their sale days. But, nothing hooks me like Amazon. Their shopping experience is designed in such a way that at every stage of the checkout process you'll be reassured that you're making the right choice.

This made me wonder "What is so unique about Amazon's checkout experience?"

During sale days like "The Great Indian Festival", Amazon's entire checkout process is designed to mimic a bargaining process. Yes. At each step, you'll receive a reward (discount/delivery time/no-cost EMI) that will make you think "I can't get a better deal than this! Let's buy!"

In this blog post, I'll take one product (Sony WF-1000XM3 as it troubled me for a few days) from Amazon and analyze its checkout experience during Amazon's sale days.


Price and Reviews

The first thing you'd see while you're on the product page is the price and reviews. In this case, you can see that a product with 14,338 ratings averaging 4 stars is being offered at a 50% discount. If you're someone who's been wanting to buy this, you'd already know that this is a good deal. It caught my eye because the Sony WF-1000XM3 is one of the best wireless noise cancellation earbuds out there. Better than Airpods pro. So, if you're a consumer who's aware of the product, you'll already be hooked on this point. The next step is where you will receive your first reward.

The Coupon

When you're thinking about whether to buy or not, you see a small coupon right below the price of the product. A coupon for Rs.1000. When you apply, the final price of the product is Rs.8990. At this point, you're an inch closer to buying the product. You'll be thinking "A discount on top of the slashed price? Oh yeah!". But, there's more.

Delivery time

Right below the coupon code, you'll see delivery details. It says "FREE Delivery by Tomorrow". For some products, it would say "FREE Delivery by Today 10 PM". Instant gratification. One more reason to buy the product. 

Bank and EMI Offers

Right below the delivery information, you'll see the bank and EMI offers. In this case, you'll get an additional discount of Rs.500 if you use a RuPay card. But, when I checked out the product, HDFC was offering a 10% additional discount which brought down the price of the product to Rs.8091. And, I also got the option to convert this into a 6-month no-cost EMI. What a deal, right?

(Note: A no-cost EMI is technically not no-cost. There are hidden costs like taxes and stuff. I'm mentioning it here to talk about user temptation)

When you look at Amazon's product page, you get all the essential information including warranty, replacement policy, etc. right on the first fold of the page. You don't have to scroll down to learn more about the product or make a decision. Everything you need to know is right in front of you. Now, let's take a look at how the same product is listed on Flipkart.

You can observe the following differences.

  • The title of the product on Amazon mentions key features right away, whereas on Flipkart it is put under the Highlights section.

  • There is a countdown timer on Amazon that says how long the deal is available compared to how many are left in stock. 

  • The delivery option is well below the bank offers and the warranty info

  • The color options are mentioned along with the product info on Flipkart. Instead, they could've placed it below the images on the left side of the page. On Amazon, the color options come in the second fold of the page.

Overall, I personally feel that the layout of a Flipkart page had too much information. But, in reality, it has the same amount of information as Amazon (in fact less). The way the information is structured on Amazon makes all the difference.

At this stage in the buyer journey, you'll hear Amazon saying "This is a great product! We've offered you a discount, an Rs.1000 coupon, and free delivery by tomorrow" - enough reasons to click on the "Buy Now" button and move on to the next step.

Payment Page

The next step is the payment process. On the payment screen, you can see how much discount you can get for each of your saved cards. You can enter the CVV code of the card of your choice and make the payment.

A similar experience can be seen in Flipkart as well.

But, the difference (or at least I think) is, I can't choose the tenure of my EMI on Flipkart. For example, the screen says Rs.1534/month. But, it doesn't say for how many months? 

Also, on the right side, you can see the total. 16990 including 1412 bank interest is still 16990, which was a bit confusing.

But, on Amazon, when you choose an EMI schedule, you can clearly know the interest rate, percentage, and the amount you should pay every month.

Amazon's checkout process is designed to give you rewards and answers. Rewards to move further and answers to your questions to help you reassure your buying decision. The 'Buy Now' button on Amazon will be small and on the right side compared to big buttons placed in the center. That's the trick. When you're tempted enough to buy a product, you'll click the 'Buy Now' button anyway irrespective of its size and placement.

I'm not sure about you. But, I found this really intriguing. Hence, I thought I'll write about it. If you resonate with me or observed other such nuances in Amazon or any other eCommerce platform, share it with me via Twitter or send me an email.

The Biggest Problem With Indian Crypto Exchanges Today

I stumbled upon the problem with Indian crypto exchanges by chance. 

It was a Saturday. A strong cup of coffee at 10 PM isn't always a good idea. But, I had one anyway. It kept me awake like it did and I started browsing the internet to burn off the caffiene. I kept switching between multiple things until an article about cryptocurrencies caught my eye. One thing led to another and by 12:30 AM I was having FOMO. I realized that I'd missed out on so much that was happening in the crypto space.

So, I decided to start investing. Like any other greedy crypto noob, I wanted to identify and invest in the next bitcoin and become a millionaire. I did a bit of research and came to know that I can buy cryptos from India. I told myself that I should open up an account in one of the Indian crypto exchanges the following day.

But, I couldn't.

It took me a really long time to create an account in one of the available exchanges. So much trouble, so many processes and numerous roadblocks. 

I became successful after a while because I was patient and went through the process despite the difficulties. But, I immediately imagined an average user. They would eventually lose interest, drop off, and might never come back.

This blog post is my observation of the user experience of Indian crypto exchanges. I'd also added a few suggestions on how they can overcome these roadblocks and acquire users faster.

Don't think about current users. Think about potential users

I don't know much about cryptocurrencies. I am interested. So, I should be the ideal target persona for a crypto exchange. Not someone who already knows their way in the crypto world. This is what every crypto exchange is getting wrong. They focus on building and shipping the product for pro crypto traders and investors instead of designing the experience for someone like you and me.

Lack of learning module

User education is key to bringing in new users into a platform. This applies to crypto as well. People might have heard about it through their friends or on social media and would have decided to invest. But, they would be hesitant because they's want to learn more about them. But, where do they start? They try to watch a YouTube video or read an article on the internet.

This is a golden opportunity for crypto exchanges. They can have a dedicated learning module on their homepage to educate people about cryptos and handhold them into creating an account. But, most exchanges don't have a section that teaches you the basics of cryptocurrency.

WazirX doesn't have anything on their home page. They have a blog that was regularly updated. But, I doubt if people would search for it and read it.

Coinswitch Kuber has a blog section that leads to sections like Crypto 101 and Invest 101 sections on their blog. But, it doesn't have information in chronological order.  For example, when I click on Crypto 101, I'd be expecting to see something on "What is crypto?" and not an article on Polygon.

CoinDCX has a learning module, but they have too many clicks and it requires a sign-up to access the free content. Why make the user suffer. Make it available for everyone like a video playlist!

Zebpay is the only player who got this right (but they have a very bad onboarding experience). Zebpay has a Learn section on their homepage where the content is segmented for users with different levels of expertise - beginner and intermediate. They also have a crypto glossary and a video series. The content is not gated. You can instantly access the ebooks.

I loved Cointelegraphs's content for each cryptocurrency (Bitcoin for beginners | Bitcoin 101 | Cointelegraph). Crypto exchanges should try something like this.

Users should be educated on the following areas:

  • What is crypto?

  • How does cryptocurrency work? What are their real-life applications?

  • Why is it beneficial for someone to invest in crypto?

  • How to choose a cryptocurrency?

  • Things you should consider while evaluating a new crypto token

  • The advantages of having a wallet etc.

Onboarding is a Pain

The onboarding is messy on most of these platforms. They let you sign up using your phone number and an OTP. And, within seconds I was inside the platform. For a moment, I thought "Wow! That is awesome". But, the actual trouble started during KYC verification. The KYC verification is hard and if it fails, you won't be able to get to the good part like adding funds or buying large volumes of crypto.

Here's how the onboarding experience looked like in different apps.

Coinswitch Kuber

I used my phone and email to create an account at Coinswitch Kuber, but my KYC got rejected since the picture on my PAN card and my passport don't match. My PAN was taken when I was 20 and I got my passport when I was 27. I had become bald and put on weight. Of course, the photos wouldn't match. But, the name and other particular do. So, why reject! I reached out to them on Twitter and raised a ticket as suggested. Got a generic response in return. Not cool!


I signed up for an account on the web app, and it told me to install the mobile app to complete the KYC. I installed the mobile app and used my registered mobile number to log in. But, I couldn't as it asked me to create an account instead. I came back to the web app and the account I had created was gone. It asked me to register again. That's it. I was done.


It allowed me to register, but when I tried to buy it said "The facility is not available for your country." Then why let me sign up! They could've simply said "Coinbase doesn't allow you to buy cryptos from the exchange. However, you can use it as a crypto wallet" or something like that.


Probably the easiest onboarding experience of all. I was able to create an account easily and the KYC verification was smooth as well. But, I got stuck in the next step, which I'll talk about in the next section.

I understand that these companies would want to give users the experience of the platform, but offering that experience without KYC verification is like giving them too much hope and taking it away when the verification failed.

An ideal flow should let the user sign up and submit the necessary documents for KYC. Once it is verified, you can let them in. This could be a bit hard, but users wouldn't mind doing it in the beginning rather than struggling with it later.

What's with the Mobikwik wallet!

Well, the KYC is done. Woohoo! The next step was to add funds to my crypto account and buy crypto. But, the problem was most crypto exchanges only allow Mobikwik wallet integration. You'll have to have an account with MobiKwik, have to log into your account, and you'll have to add money to the wallet in order to add funds to the exchange. I bet there is a KYC for Mobikwik as well if you want to add more than 10,000.

There are options for Netbanking and UPI, but they're often greyed out with a message saying "we're working hard to bring this feature"

WazirX has the option but is very unpredictable. Sometimes, it is available and sometimes it isn't. Yesterday it said that my bank account is verified but the bank is not supported this deposit mode. Weird because the mode was 'Netbanking.

I'm not against using a Mobikwik. But, users need to be given a choice and not an ultimatum. You can have all options, but show Mobikwik as an ideal one due to lower fee or cashback instead of saying "This is your only option".

Warn People in Advance about Selling/Withdrawing Cryptos

At times, exchanges like WazirX blocks the selling of certain cryptos. They call it the 'rapid listings initiative' or something along those lines. I guess they do it to minimize too much volatility in buying and selling. The point is, you can't be 100% certain that you'll be able to sell your cryptos and get the money.

So, while buying certain cryptos, exchanges can show a warning message mentioning this scenario and ask them to subscribe to WhatsApp alerts to notify them whenever the rapid listing is imposed or lifted on certain crypto. This way, users will be updated about the status of crypto at all times.

To sum up, the experience of crypto exchange platforms isn't designed for a modern user. The experience is similar to stock trading in the 90s and early 00s. You'll have to read about the domain, fill out paperwork, and deposit a cheque in order to buy a stock - so much trouble.

Lack of customer education at each step and a cumbersome onboarding and buying experience are major roadblocks that would prevent a user from actively using these platforms.

These companies should do extensive user research, analyze product usage patterns to understand adoption and drop-offs and most of all should spend a considerable amount of resources to educate the Indian audience. (like the 'Mutual funds sahi hai' campaign).

And, no - I haven't bought any crypto yet. Hopefully soon.

Google Pay is missing the one thing Google is famous for — a UX case study

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog post is purely based on personal experience. It was not influenced by any external factor.

A sneak peek into the redesign of Google Pay Indias most famous payment app

When Google launched Tez (now 'Google Pay') in India during 2017, their primary goal was to design a simple payment app to replace cash. And, thanks to their rewards program that went viral among the users. The rewards program that involved the scratch cards, became a conversation starter. (You might have come across someone asking you "How much did you win in Google Pay?").

During their 3 years of existence, they've worked on several iterations to make the app better. They tried new technologies like the Audio QR code (AQR), which uses audio frequencies to communicate with nearby devices to enable payments, but later moved on to using traditional QR code.

But, in the process of making the app simple, the product team has made a few compromises on usability. For example, a product that has 67 million monthly active users does not have a search bar on its home screen! They missed adding some very basic features that could have enhanced the user experience by several-fold.

In this blog, I have analyzed the shortcomings of Google Pay from a user's perspective and have also designed mocks to show how we can overcome those shortcomings with subtle design changes.

What's missing?

Before getting to the solution, let's take a quick look at what's missing in the current version of Google Pay.

Too much Negative space

When you open the app, the first thing you see is the GPay logo followed by a subtle, minimal illustration of a landscape. The top 30% of the app screen which could've been used to house a ton of key features and functions is left blank. Why!

The most basic thing they could've done is added a search bar (something Google is good at since their launch in 1998).

Areas of improvement portrayed in this screen This includes too negative space and inability to add favorites

No Favorites

The next section after the landscape is where you see the contacts to whom you've sent money recently. But, the issue with this section is the arrangement of contacts.

There is no way to pin or favorite the most frequent contacts or businesses for quicker payments. And, when you click on the 'Show more' button, the list is endless. And, you can't search or alphabetically sort your contacts. It is messy and confusing for a user like me.

New Payment Button

The '+ New payment' button, which is the primary CTA, hovers over the contact icons which makes it difficult to see sometimes. And, Google did not make use of the 'long press' feature, which they've pretty much had everywhere on Android and some of their apps.

Imagine long pressing the '+ New Payment' button and you get options like 'self-transfer', 'scan QR code', 'money transfer', etc. That would've taken the user experience to a whole new level.

Other areas of improvements shown in this image This includes the mentioning of a primitive payment activity page

Referrals and Payment Activity

Google Pay focuses a lot on the referrals. I came across three CTAs on the main screen that nudges you to invite or refer your friends to Google Pay. Another area that I felt lacking was the payment activity section. The payment activity section doesn't give you an option to search for a specific transaction by month, date, or category. And, the option to share the receipt of a transaction is positioned behind another click. Instead, they could've had a share icon next to the transaction, or a share option when someone long presses on a transaction.

The Biggest Usability Issue

The biggest issue with Google Pay is, being a search giant, Google did not make the best use of search within the app.

The Solution

After considering all the usability issues, I asked myself

"How would I redesign the home screen of the app so that it is easy for a user like me!".

I put on my thinking hat and started designing the solution.

Search Bar and Shortcuts

First, I made a list of all the frequently performed actions in Google Pay and it came down to a short list. They are,

And, in the current version of the app, the home screen is blank and you find payment options like bank transfer, QR code, etc. only if you click on the '+ New Payment' button.

Keeping that in mind, I decided to redesign the first 30 percent of the screen that was left blank in the app.

I added a search bar and a couple of key shortcuts that we use more frequently. I added other frequently used options but hid them under an expand/collapse menu. The search bar allows users to search for a contact, business, or a vendor for bill payment.

This image shows how I came to a decision of creating the redesign of Google Pay

I placed the rewards icon on the top left corner making it easy for users to access their rewards. After the redesign, it looked something like this.

Highlights of the redesigned homescreen shown here


The second thing I worked on was the contacts section.

I want this section to allow users to pin their frequently used contacts as favorites. They can see up to 7 of their favorite contacts on the home screen. If they want to see more favorites and other recent contacts, they'll have to click on the 'Show all' button.

A mockup of the redesigned screen

If you wish to add a contact to your Favorites section, you can choose the 'Add to Favorites' option when you're sending money to a contact. Another way is to have a star icon next to each contact (like how we bookmark webpages) would also do the job.

An illustration showing how you can favorite a contact by clicking on the options screen

You can add or remove contacts from the Favorites section by clicking on the More icon (three dots) next to the Favorites section.

This way you can quickly send money to your frequent contacts.

I removed the 'Businesses & Bills' section from the home screen as I wanted it to be subsumed under the 'Show all' option.

Instead of 'Businesses & Bills' I have added the Promotions section followed by payment activity, checking your available balance and the banner to promote rewards for inviting your friends to use Google Pay.

Payment Activity

I've also made a few enhancements to the payment activity section.

The 'smart search' bar at the top of the page will allow you to look for a transaction based on the month, vendor, or the amount paid.

You can long-press on a transaction or select multiple transactions to share their receipt via WhatsApp, or email.

I've also tried to display the UPI ID of the transaction in the list making it easy to share them with vendors (some ask for the UPI ID after the payment).

Monthly Spend Report

When I sent this blog post to a couple of beta readers, one of the suggestions I got was, it would be nice to have a spend report inside Google Pay. A report that gives you a monthly overview of how much you've paid as bills, how much you've sent to your friends and family, rewards earned, account balance, and so on.

If you think about it, it need not be an extensive expense report like you get from Walnut or your bank's mobile app. It can be a simple report that tells you how much much you've spent through Google Pay and what's the balance left in your account.

If you're someone who uses Google Pay, then you will have all your transactions in one place. It could also refrain users from using other UPI apps and stick to Google Pay as it helps them visualize their monthly spending in one place.

I took the liberty to design a very basic mock of how this would look.


If I can design a better, usable version of Google Pay putting myself in the shoes of a user, imagine what product teams could do when they start listening to feedback from hundreds of users. Distilling them and putting them in action would be a great way to deliver an amazing product experience.

And, for a company like Google, if they made use of the elements and interactions that worked for them in the past (things they've learned while improving apps like Google, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, etc.), Google Pay would've created a far better user experience.

I'm not sure if they'd see it, but I am happy to have learned a thing or two about product design and user experience while working on this case study.

I hope you like it!


I've sent this blog to 23 professionals as part of the beta reading program and I got some amazing feedback. Special Thanks to Vishnu VardhanRohit ViswanathanGanesh, and Smriti. They have a huge part in how this article came into shape.

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