With online shopping rates continuing to surge, retailers are leveraging new and creative ways to reach the growing number of mobile shoppers. Many businesses have already created mobile apps, while the most tech-forward companies have invested heavily in optimizing their mobile sites.
Responsive web designs, which adapt text and images to different screen sizes, along with simplified navigation systems are key to creating a positive mobile shopping experience. Yet, to be truly mobile-optimized, retailers must also improve their site’s forms. Most commonly found on checkout pages, forms can produce frustrating hurdles for mobile shoppers, as they require manual typing on small screens and keyboards.
Here are three important tips for ensuring your forms are fit for mobile shoppers.
The registration and checkout processes are the first and final steps in any online customer journey—yet they can often be the longest. According to a Baymard study, the average checkout contains 14.88 form fields—that’s almost 15 steps between entering a checkout and making a purchase. These long and complex forms are leading to increased cart abandonment rates. This is especially true on mobile devices—only 16% of shopping carts on mobile devices translate to a successful order. Registration forms can also be unnecessarily complicated since many require customers to input their email and password information twice in an effort to eliminate errors.
Making customers fill out more forms than necessary leads to more errors—manual typing on a mobile device often results in typos and misspellings. Rather than requiring customers to enter the same information twice, retailers can use address verification technology at checkout, which verifies the accuracy of inputted information. Similarly, businesses should make password forms visible to users, rather than keeping them hidden, to allow customers to easily see if they have made an error.
In addition to cutting down the number of forms a mobile site has, it is also important for retailers to speed up and streamline the process of inputting information. Another key feature of address verification technology is its ability to do just that through auto-population. The most advanced types of address verification are predictive and search-based, meaning they offer tailored results that narrow with each keystroke. Not only does this help verify the accuracy of information, it also cuts down the amount of typing needed during checkout and other key points in the online shopping journey.
Auto-population offers an effective alternative to not just manual typing, which results in errors and heightened customer frustration, but also to drop down menus, which can be difficult to scroll through on mobile devices and do not always offer an option for individual customer needs. This is especially true for address information, which varies by city, state, and country.
Navigating an online store on a mobile device can be frustrating for customers, and complicated forms can exacerbate this issue. Small screens and keyboards make it difficult for shoppers to type in information, get to the exact pages they are looking for, and move from one form to the next. To avoid these issues, retailers should always use top-aligned labels and fields. When shoppers click on a particular form, the page will often zoom in to make it easier for the user to see what they are typing. If labels are side by side, the user won’t be able to view both at the same time—therefore it is important that they are always vertically aligned.
Additionally, retailers can simplify form navigation by deleting any single input fields that are split. Forms that ask for information such as phone numbers and addresses are often split up into multiple fields. This is unnecessary and simply makes the process more difficult for the shopper—a Baymard study found that users struggle when single input entities are split across multiple fields.
In today’s digital age, breaking down barriers for the growing number of mobile shoppers is crucial in order to compete. Forms are an important part of any online shopping journey, as they allow retailers to collect customer information and shoppers to complete their purchases. However, they can create unnecessary headaches for mobile shoppers. By shortening, streamlining, and simplifying forms, retailers can increase customer satisfaction, enhance customer data, and pave the way for long-term success.
Tom Mucklow is Partner Development Manager for Addressy