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.

Color Psychology for Branding & Merchandizing

The science and psychology behind colors is important to consider when measuring the effectiveness of your customer-facing collateral. The colors used for your web pages, advertisements, and exclusive products impact the way current and potential customers perceive your brand. You want to be sure that the color schemes you use resonate with your brand messaging while also evoking the right kind of emotional response from your audience. Whether you're adding a new line of products to your ecommerce site or thinking of re-branding, it's worthwhile to consider how color psychology can work for you. In this post, we'll explain the common psychological associations (from a U.S. cultural perspective) for a spectrum of colors that are useful to retailers and e-tailers alike.

Red    
Associated with: Hunger, Urgency, Danger, Love, Heat
Red is an effective color when placed on call-to-action buttons or ads to grab users’ attention and inspire them to take action.
    
Black
Associated with: Power, Formality, Mystery, Elegance, Expensive, Gravitas
Black is often seen as a color of sophistication and authority, but can come off as intimidating if overused. When used sparingly, black has a grounding effect and pairs well with a spectrum of other shades.

Brown
Associated with: Historical, Traditional, Rustic, Earthen, Classical
Brown shades are very effective when promoting products that have “rugged” qualities, or appealing to audiences with more austere or conservative sensibilities.

Violet
Associated with: Luxury, Magical, Imaginative, Majestic, Passion
Consider the use of violet or purple when unveiling a new or innovative product, as the color invites shoppers into an imaginative experience.

Green
Associated with: Progress, Health, Money, Freshness, Growth, Environmentalism
Most commonly found in the promotion of healthy or environmentally conscious products or services, green can also be used to evoke the concepts of wealth and bountiful prosperity.

Orange
Associated with: Creativity, Expressive, Warm, Exciting, Energetic
Orange is known as the color that “pops.” Consider using for calls-to-action or to highlight product features you would like to bring attention to.

Blue
Associated with: Trust, Calmness, Professional, Reliable, Cool, Peaceful
The color blue puts people at ease. This color works well for promoting customer services or authoritative information.

White
Associated with: Cleanliness, Simplicity, Easy, Purity
White is often used to evoke efficiency, but can come off as cold and sterile if overused. White works best when combined with other colors to soften their impact and add clarity to designs that may otherwise come off as too busy or bright.  

Top Opportunities for Growth & Improvement in Ecommerce

To stay competitive in ecommerce, you should always be searching for opportunities to improve your website and the experience it offers your customers. Over the course of helping several clients bolster their ecommerce businesses this year, we noticed a few common tactics that were effective at improving sites in a variety of areas:

Product pages

Your product pages should provide shoppers with as much detail as possible so customers can comfortably "add to cart" without needing to leave your site to do additional research... and potentially find the information through a competitor. Think about ways you can enhance manufacturer-provided content to make it more robust and preemptively answer customer questions.

Customer experience

Call monitoring tools (if your customer service department uses them) can be a great resource for pinpointing areas of the customer experience that need improvement. Reviewing customer service calls can reveal patterns or errors you may not find otherwise, such as missing information (see above), frequently asked questions, or areas where CSRs need more training.

Cart & checkout

Upgrading the functionality of your site's cart and checkout process can be the most effective tactic for turning abandoned carts into completed purchases. Of all the strategies for improving ecommerce performance, this may be the one that most e-tailers struggle with. It's also perhaps the subject we've covered the most extensively on our blog. Click here to browse our collection of ideas for making better checkout pages.