Effective Use of Forms for Ecommerce

Essential to nearly any type of business-driven website, forms are an especially important data collection tool in ecommerce for collecting leads, fulfilling orders, soliciting feedback, fine-tuning marketing messages, and so much more. The structure for all types of forms is pretty much the same – simple prompts with blank fields for each. With such a straightforward format, it’s all too easy to “set and forget” forms on your site without considering how they are implemented or their impact on customer experience.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can prevent forms from becoming obstacles in your conversion funnel. For example:

  • Show new customers the bare minimum of form fields for their first purchase, then follow up via email with additional forms to complete the account/profile set-up process.
  • Rather than trying to reduce user-submitted errors by having two fields for “Create Password” and “Confirm Password,” use one field that makes password characters visible by default to allow customers to easily see if they have made an error.
  • Instead of having fields for First and Last name, area code and phone number, or month/day/year (i.e. 3 categories of data, divided across 7 fields), combine them to create a Full Name field, Phone Number field, and Birthdate field, respectively.
  • For address information, use autofill features to speed up the process and reduce shipping errors.
  • Automate error messages so they appear dynamically as each form field is filled in instead of waiting until after the user tries to submit the form – causing them to backtrack spend extra time “proofreading” the form themselves.
  • Forms can be frustrating for mobile shoppers who must “tap in” information via small touch screens. A responsive design that works on all screen sizes can solve this issue.

Customers may love your website and products, but that doesn’t mean they like filling out your forms. Remember, each blank field on a form is a step in the checkout processes – and in ecommerce, more steps = more opportunities to abandon carts. Try filling out your own forms to experience the process from a customer’s perspective and help identify opportunities to improve usability.

 

Landing Page Tips for Ecommerce: Part 2

In our previous blog post, we went over tips for improving the content and functionality on ecommerce landing pages to make them better at engaging users and driving conversions. In this post, we'll present a few guidelines for page layout and design you can use to make your landing pages more visually appealing and memorable.
    

Balance visual appeal with practicality

Some ecommerce professionals consider the “design” of a landing page as whatever makes it pretty or eye-catching. As such, the layout of design elements becomes one of the last considerations when creating the page. However, this lack of planning can hinder customers from quickly finding important information or navigation elements – making them more likely to bounce. Don't overload users with information upfront. Imagine the page from your customers' point of view, and ask yourself: What do they want or need to know first? What info is vital to convince them to take action?

Break up content to make it more digestible

Keep the text short and actionable for users by formatting your content so that it is easy to scan (especially for mobile users). You can accomplish this by using bulleted lists, separating blocks of text into sections with sub- headlines, and providing detailed information through accordion-style navigation or separate pages.

Leverage color psychology

When making your landing page, don’t just think about what looks good – consider how the colors will work together to resonate with the audience and use this to your advantage. For example, red is known to create a sense of urgency while purple is usually synonymous with luxury or royalty. Consider what color combinations match the tone of the page and use them to subtly reinforce your messaging. Once again, A/B testing is a useful way for finding the options that work best.

Landing Page Tips for Ecommerce: Part 1

A landing page is a web page created specifically for convincing visitors to act (i.e. to sign up, buy, download, etc.). Like the sales displays or helpful associates at a brick-and-mortar shop, your ecommerce site's landing pages can be a deciding factor in getting shoppers to complete a purchase, or dive deeper into your site for more information or other products. To help make your landing pages as successful as they can be, we've assembled the following tips into a 2-part guide. In this post, we'll cover some important considerations for content and functionality that can make most types of ecommerce landing pages more effective.

Clear paths & CTAs

Landing pages serve as informational gateways about your products and brand - they are rarely the last step in a buyer's journey. Whether your goal is to get visitors to "buy now," "contact us," or "learn more," the content and navigation on your landing pages should make it as easy as possible for customers to take the next step. To figure out the optimal placement of these elements, use A/B testing to find a configuration that works best.

Go beyond plain text

Plain text may clearly communicate everything you want it to, but not every user responds to that. A landing page that uses a variety of content types – especially video – can increase information retention and conversion rates. Create video demonstrations of your products, or other types of visual content, to grab users' attention and quickly communicate key information about your product offerings and/or CTAs.  

Simplified lead-gen forms

If your landing page is geared toward getting users to "sign up" or submit info, you need to make it as quick and easy as possible for them to complete this process. Keep the required fields to a minimum and only request the information you truly need – you can always follow up for more detailed information later via “complete your profile” emails or pop-up prompts. As a rule: make it possible for customers to complete actions in a few steps as possible.

Next week, we'll supplement the above info with layout and design tips for making landing pages that are more appealing and engaging.

Localization & Ecommerce: Tips for Expanding into New Regions

More and more companies are trying to change up their merchandizing strategies in preparation for entering new global markets. Beyond translating marketing content correctly into various languages, e-tailers also need to reevaluate information like item specifications and sizing details to align with regional norms and local consumer protection laws. Social standards as well as neighborhood laws are also critical factors to think about with development into new markets. To help ensure that your website and product information is comprehensive, relevant and accessible to foreign audiences, follow these guidelines.

Make updates to product specifications and descriptions

When expanding your reach to global customers, it's critical to localize product information across webpages and promotional content. This includes revamping SKU info with market-appropriate specifications (e.g. converting imperial measurements to metric) and descriptions that properly translate into your target audiences language(s) and/or dialect(s).

Research cultural norms and make changes accordingly

Ecommerce sites that sell to different regions need to consider numerous cultural aspects, such as seasonal trends, societal norms, and holidays. For example, the color purple is associated with aristocracy, royalty, and riches in many parts of the world. However, in Brazil and Thailand, purple is associated with somber occasions and periods of mourning. Your product offerings and item descriptions may need to be customized according to these kinds of nuances.

Guarantee Quality Control and Legal Compliance

Policies concerning labeling, licensing, and merchandising all vary between countries. For example, many regions have different labeling formats and information requirements for ingredients, country of origin, and health warnings. Sellers (especially those with large item catalogs) may require sophisticated product information management systems to assist them with making and tracking changes for regulatory compliance quickly across numerous markets.

Top Causes of Abandoned Carts, and How to Fix Them

There are several reasons why shoppers choose to abandon carts. But in most cases, the reason boils down to checkout pages with poorly designed user experiences. In a behavioral survey of 1,300 online shoppers conducted by ecommerce technology company, Namogoo, 75% cited the importance of an "easy checkout process" for a desirable shopping experience. According to the survey, the following UX issues had the greatest influence on cart abandonment rates. Are you addressing these on your ecommerce site?
    

Form Fields

More than half of those surveyed (63% of mobile and 53% of desktop users) said that excessive or repetitive form fields at the checkout stage were the most frustrating part of shopping online. With this in mind, think about ways you can streamline the process of submitting information during checkout. For example: incorporating autofill features into your delivery/billing address forms. Or if your ecommerce site requires account creation to complete a purchase, consider alternatives like Guest Checkout or social media login functionality.

Site Stability

If your checkout process loads too slowly or crashes, that’s definitely going to cost you sales. Make sure to test your site's checkout thoroughly by accounting for as many user actions as possible, like using the browser’s back button (in the above mentioned survey, 36% of mobile shoppers abandoned their carts when the back button didn't work as intended, requiring them to re-enter all of their purchase confirmation information). Additionally, look for ways to proactively help users avoid checkout errors. For example, you can automate error messages so they appear dynamically as each form field is filled out, rather than after the user attempts to submit the info.

Distractions and Clutter

Shoppers are more likely to abandon their carts if any of the steps for finalizing the purchase are unclear. The Namogoo survey found that 46% of users consider website navigation to be a deciding factor for whether to purchase from that site. Similarly, 29% of users said that pop-ups and interstitials on the checkout page distracted them from completing their purchases and negatively affected their perception of the website. Keep the checkout flow as clean as possible by saving non-checkout CTAs (e.g. "Sign up for our Newsletter" or "Other products you may like") for the "Thank You" page, and adding features that help users progress with checkout rather than pause it – for example, adding options to change the quantity, color, size, and other attributes of the items in their order without having to leave checkout.