Henri Frederic Amiel, a Swiss philosopher, had something to say about small things:
“What we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, the embryo, and it is the point of departure which, generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence. One single black speck may be the beginning of a gangrene, of a storm, of a revolution.”
We can safely assume that he was not referring to little things that can make or break a website. But, itsy-bitsy things can please your visitors or make them leave your website in frustration. When we talk about increasing online sales, we usually talk about product display, loading speed, mobile compatibility and other big factors.
But, there is one part of the online shopping process that doesn't get as much attention that it needs: web form design and optimization. While any website that is selling goods will need to get a few details from the users, the process is pretty annoying to someone who wants to buy something quickly and leave. Little things about a web form can be a big turn off to some users.
Want to Go Deeper into How to Improve Online Store Conversions:
Let’s imagine a user, Ellen. She has spent 15 minutes browsing your store looking for the right shoes, and finally she has found them. Although she feels the price is a little too high, she loves the design and want them. She is happy about the fact that you will ship them for free and is ready to buy them, mostly out of impulse. She realizes that she needs to get ready and leave for the office.
So, she heads to the checkout and is faced with a lengthy form. She doesn’t have time for it, but fills it quickly (all the 20 fields!). She hits the ‘Next’ button, but apparently she missed a field. But, now the website asks her to fill the whole thing again! Disgusted, she leaves for work, her interest in the shoes faded.
Ever wondered how many Ellens your website is losing?
Here are the most common form ‘errors’ that make the visitors leave your website without completing their purchase:
• Forms lacking inline validation that force the users to fill up every field again
• Needlessly lengthy forms that ask users for too much non-essential information
• Forms with predetermined options that do not offer the right choice
By using inline validation and keeping the size of your forms small, you can stop many potential customers from turning away from your ecommerce website.
Filling a form is a non-productive and unentertaining activity. Your task, as an ecommerce website designer, is to create a web form that gives the least trouble to the users. One way you can achieve this is by reducing the number of fields that the user has to fill. If information for a certain field is not important, just remove it (You can request the visitors to offer that voluntary information once the sale is complete). Also, do keep in mind that a significant number of users may be trying to buy the product through their smartphones. For them, filling up a number of fields is not convenient. So, by asking for only the most essential details, you can take some of the pain away from the process of filling forms.
As our examples with Ellen shows, most form-field validation that forces the users to fill up all the information again is a bad idea. So, make sure that users only need to fill in the fields with erroneous information. Highlight these fields clearly so the users can see at one glance what field she needs to fill. You can go one step ahead and offer real-time validation that immediately lets the user know that the information entered in a specific field is not valid.
One way in which designers try and make the filling of forms easier for the users will by offering options. The users simply need to choose the right one instead of typing it. However, this can create unexpected problems for some users. One of the most popular examples of this approach making things tough for users is the ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ options that leave transgender customers out of consideration.
But, for ecommerce website the problems arise when a user doesn’t find his pin code or some part of this address in the options. Such a person will be unable to buy good even if he wants to! So, it is best to allow text input for most boxes, even if you are offering options.
Are you in the process of ecommerce website optimization? Don’t ignore web forms: the time spent on creating simple, helpful and easy-to-fill forms is totally worth it. It may look like a small thing, but we assure you – it will have a big impact on online conversions.
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