We’ve all had those irritating, or worse questionable experiences shopping or otherwise providing our personal data online. It may have been an account sign-up that wanted too much information, like gender, age, and household income. It could have been a business that couldn’t validate your home address or threw error messages at you when the phone number wasn’t formatted to their exact standards. These little UX errors can cost e-commerce businesses big.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and money in this competitive world to find and retain customers. Building trust into your websites and your products is a key step to keeping these customers. It’s essential that consumers feel safe and secure while entering their personal data on your website.
Three tenets of good UX are essential to following best practices for collecting customer data: clear, simple, and fast.
Clear means there’s nothing questionable to a customer or messy about your checkout process or online forms. Important information should be grouped together and easily distinguishable to users.
Simple means the forms used to collect information use comprehensible, plain language, and design that leaves no room for misunderstanding. Help text aids user understanding and specific formatting requirements are clearly stated.
The more time visitors spend inserting information into forms and carts, the more likely they are to leave. If things are simple and clear for the user, the resulting experience should also be fast. If users are spending too long on a task, there’s likely a usability or trust issue to blame.
What are the best ways to put these tenets into practice?
Help users succeed with hints and instructions
This often takes the form of placeholder text providing examples or hints provided directly below the label. These pieces of microcopy serve an important function to increase learnability for the user. HelloFresh does this through placeholder text.
Keep it short and only ask for what you need
When designing your forms and processes consider if you really need all the data that you are asking for from users. A HubSpot study found that conversion rate drops with increased form fields.
Speed it up and collect only what you need as you need it
Today, digital forms are easy to create and distribute. Instead of designing one large, long form, consider designing shorter forms that are linked to specific stages of the customer journey. Try to group together relevant questions relating to the stages of checkout, for example, so that they feel secure answering them. Sephora demonstrates this by breaking their checkout into five mini-forms or stages.
Let the computer, not the user, handle information formatting and validation
Few things confuse users as often as requiring that users provide information in a specific format. Format requirements for information like telephone number fields are particularly common, but the bigger problem for the business is incorrectly entered information, especially in address fields. Packages that are marked undeliverable or delivered to the wrong address cost businesses money and reputation. Merchandise may need to be sent twice and customers could post negative reviews online.
In a recent survey by web measurement firm comScore Inc., 18.6% of consumers cited difficulty inputting details as the primary reason they did not convert on mobile devices. E-retailers know that easy address entry makes the customers happy and makes it less likely that the shopper will abandon the purchase. That’s a real concern, as the median shopping cart abandonment rate for U.S. retail sites is 66%, according to Forrester Research.
Address verification is one example of how to help users double-check their work (and speed up the process). Kohl’s checkout process uses type-ahead verification to predict the user’s address as they type.
Type-ahead address verification
In fact, type-ahead verification scored higher than four alternative check-out styles in terms of perceived accuracy and preference, based on recent testing by Loqate. The preference for type-ahead ranged from 62% to 84% of testers with no more than 19% preferring an alternative, which included no validation, drop-down verification (often used with the list of states), partial verification (zip code is used to populate city/state), and post-entry verification screens or pop-ups.
The most common comments from testers were that the type-ahead system saved them the time of typing in their data and gave them confidence that the address was correct because it was already in the retailer’s system. As one tester put it, “The checkout found my address and I didn’t have to type it in, which was nice. And this way I know that the address for delivery is correct.”
While 51% of those who tested type-ahead on a computer said they preferred it “a lot” over the alternatives, that preference shot up to 65% for smartphone testers. As one tester put it, “If there is any opportunity to do less typing on a mobile phone then I prefer that option a lot.”
Type-ahead verification also solves a real problem e-retailers face. Consumers often enter the wrong address and then blame the retailer when their package does not arrive when expected. According to the U.S. Postal Service, 6.8 billion items could not be delivered as addressed during its 2016 fiscal year, more than 4% of total mail volume.
How can you improve your customer’s online experience?
Loqate’s products help ensure correct information is entered through their global data verification and geocoding solutions, including address and email validation.
Loqate is proven to reduce address entry time by up to 78% and cut back data entry errors at the point of capture by more than 20%, all improving UX.
Loqate helps eService businesses drive more engaging digital experiences. Ticketing, fitness, dating, and food delivery eServices will benefit from global verified data, and user-friendly verification tools with a reduction in failed communications, improvements to the quality of internal databases, and better user experience on checkout and registration pages.