An industry whose forms are often under-looked whilst the focus is placed on challenges such as homepage optimisation, likely due to more than 60% of online shoppers leaving a site within five seconds of landing on the homepage. A concerning stat of course, but surely as concerning is the fact that of those that stay, and make it as far as the purchase form, only 35% actually complete that purchase.
Across desktop, mobile, and tablet Zuko’s benchmarking data shows that 65% of customers are lost at the final hurdle.
Of course, there are many parts at play, but if we add up the landing page and purchase form data, we have some concerning realisation about missed sales at both ends of the customer journey. If 100 people land on your site, you lose at least 77 of them either in the first 5 seconds, or the last hurdle.
Today we’re focused on the purchase side, arguably the most important, because what buying signal is stronger than starting to input details to finalise a purchase? Think about how much time and effort you have put in to get someone to your checkout, with products in their basket. All that branding, awareness, content, website design, stock management, product choice and availability, pricing strategy and user experience design, only to lose 65 in every hundred people that at least in principle, say they want to buy from you.
Firstly, let’s start by digging deeper into the data.
For the purpose of this article, we’re focusing purely on the purchase form.
Our first data point is the overall conversion rate of purchase forms, which our table (A) shows overall is 35.36%. Now, this does sit at the second highest rate compared to the purchase forms of other industries, but this is not that surprising, given that purchase forms, should, in theory, be simple. An address, and some card details, both of which consumers are asked for regularly (whenever they shop online). Other journeys contain more complex questions and have more stringent data entry requirements, yet still often they outperform eCommerce forms. It is also worth remembering that a 35% conversion rate also means a 65% loss of customers.
65% of all traffic to eCommerce forms came from Mobile devices. This reflects an industry-wide trend of a massive shift towards mobile devices. Take a look at the traffic share for the Schuh website over the last few years:
Despite this, the conversion rate on desktop devices is 19.1% higher than on mobile devices (36.92% desktop vs. 30.99% mobile). Mobile traffic share to eCommerce sites has increased steadily, but many companies have yet to make their checkouts as simple to complete on a mobile devices as a desktop. This feels like it should be a priority.
Now let’s take a look at time spent in more detail. In table B, we can see that the completion time of eCommerce purchase forms is the lowest - fantastic, from this we can conclude the easiest path to completion.
However, we also note that the “Median Abandonment Time” is the second lowest, at 1 min 5 secs. In other words, customers abandon eCommerce forms far more quickly than other forms in other industries. If your form doesn’t work as expected, or is too long, or complex, do not expect people to hang around long.
Microsoft reported that the average attention span fell from 12 seconds to 8 seconds from 2000 to 2013, - you should expect that it has fallen further since then.
In most instances, simplicity is key, online forms are no exception.
An important indicator of simplicity for Zuko customers is the average field return as this metric could be indicative of a complicated field, a piece of information they may not have to hand, amongst other things. A field return is when a user types in some information, leaves a field to go and fill out something else, and then has to come back. This could be because of an error, or a mistake in formatting, or because your form is broken. It is never a good thing to force users to have to come back to field multiple times.
We see in table C that the average field return is lower than average at 3.04 which is positive, but really we need to have that number as close to 0 as possible to show that a form is as simple and optimised as it can be. It should also be low because as mentioned previously, the information being asked for is not unusual - users get asked for address and card details very regularly, so in theory they should not be making many mistakes when entering this. Always ensure that when asking for address and card details in your checkout, you do not make any of the common mistakes that we see.
Finally, we should review how many fields are essential to make a purchase, currently, on average we’re at around 31 fields for an eCommerce site which is closest to the financial services industry and also higher than the overall average of 22.7.
We know that cutting fields isn’t always possible, but that does not mean that the field you do have in your form cannot be as easy to complete as possible. Every single one must be presented with care, be easy to interact with on every device and be forgiving of users’ inputs.
Some good questions to be asking yourself when looking at each of your fields includes:
Which fields are your ‘time thieves’?
Which fields are resulting in abandonment?
Which fields do people return to most often?
We’re in unprecedented times currently, with more people than ever forced to do the majority of their shopping exclusively online. In the US, online shopping increased 49% in a single month. If you’re an organisation seeing a huge increase in demand, it’s more vital than ever, that your online UX be as good as possible, from start to finish. If however, you’re a business experiencing hardship and a drop in demand, then you simply cannot afford to lose customers at the final hurdle. Either way, it is the best time it has ever been to ensure your online store is optimised, and this includes the checkout.
By reviewing form analytics with your Zuko advisor you can ask and answer critical questions about your user behaviour, and discover ways to tap into that lost 65%. I’d love to explore this with you in a more tailored way so that we can ask the right questions for your eCommerce site.
Data in this article is taken from our form performance benchmarking report, an open and free resource to explore benchmarking data across millions of form sessions.
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