I won’t surprise if we tell you that European e-commerce market is hot and that a mobile-friendly website is a key to success in that field. Last year, approximately 296 million online shoppers spent over 455 billion euros. And 16.5% of that money was spent on small-screens.
You may think it’s just 16%, but the pace at which the share of mobile grows is quite shocking. Argos, the UK retail giant, reported that on the Black Friday morning, they received 700 000 visits per hour and just 20% of that were desktop visits.
This is a strong signal for all of us working in web design to revisit how we handle one of the biggest hurdles for mobile users – the forms. A recent study by UseItBetter, a company behind Form Analytics, can be of great help in that task. You can check out the full study here or continue reading what we found the most interesting.
Why are good, optimized registration forms so important?
In e-commerce, UX elements and micro interactions are not there just to create a beautiful experience for the user. How these elements and interactions function, and how well they function, will impact conversions and sale.
Every failure of a form to perform efficiently for the user means money lost. Every successful signup, especially when it is easily accomplished, brings a sale. And a happy customer, who is likely to come back for more.
There is no checklist to follow that spells out the best practices for creating a signup form, nor is there is a cookie-cutter approach to creating an ideal form. The format and content of these forms are usually defined in accordance with the business practices of the shop owners.
Designing a registration form involves a negotiation. On one side is the customer, who is looking for a form that is easy and not time-consuming to fill out. On the other side is the business, which needs some basic data, and in some cases, has a need or desire for additional data that can be used to personalize a user’s experience on the website.
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Online shoppers need to have comfortable experiences when they visit an online shop
There is often a fine line between a form that both user and the business are happy with, and one where there is a palpable risk of the form being abandoned. A rule of thumb is that, with every additional question that is asked, the risk of abandonment increases.
There will probably never be a formula for a perfect registration form; a form that is mistake-free and will never be abandoned. The reason is the users. Every user is different, and is likely to approach filling out a form with a different mindset, or a different history of online experiences.
According to specialists, we’re talking about some complex engineering:
“The same form can perform differently depending on who’s filling it in. A UK only site shopped by a US user? An already registered user who forgot he’s created an account? A form submitted from soft keyboard on Android vs. OS? These are all pretty sophisticated scenarios to identify and solve. It’s crucial that they are handled with care, so that the users manage to finalize their shopping effortless” says Lukasz Twardowski, UseItBetter CEO.
The form fields and call to action numbers vary from 5 to 34
According to the UseItBetter study, the number of form fields and calls to action on typical mobile registration forms used by the top 40 European e-commerce retailers varies widely. Retailers like burton.co.uk, and johnlewis.com for example, offer simplified experiences. Users only need to complete five fields: email address, password, password confirmation, weekly newsletter signup, and the registration button.
Retailers like makro.co.uk and jdwilliam.co.uk on the other hand, request the highest number of fields and calls to action – ranging from 23 to 34.
72% of the retailers require users to enter their passwords twice
This is becoming standard practice, as it is a sure way to correct errors, but it makes life a little harder for the mobile, small screen users.
20% of the retailers give users the option to display their passwords, while 32% of those analyzed also required users to enter their email address twice. qvuck.com keeps mobile users busy by requiring email, email confirm, password, password confirm, a security answer, and possibly a pin number.
Birthdates are often required, but only 4 out of 13 retailers explain why
Birthdates are sometimes required where a shopper must be of age to make a purchase (qvcuk.com and Next.co.uk). Birthdates are also useful when gathering marketing information, or simply as a security measure (jdwilliams.co.uk). Another reason, and one users are likely to appreciate, is they can be used to give birthday greetings and offer birthday discounts (asos.com).
There are various formats a UX specialist can use to gather information, and figuring out which will work best for mobile users can be a challenge. Most retailers prefer using a dropdown form, as there is less of a risk of losing data.
The use of personal data
Requesting and using personal data has been an important, and at times a controversial topic in recent years. UseItBetter’s study revealed that 85% of online retailers requested permission to use the data for marketing purposes. 15% of top retailers declare they will use personal data for 3rd party marketing, and 8% use it for “other”.
The registration forms can be a great source of information about yours or your clients’ users. But if you want to make sure they are not hurting conversion rates, consider taking Form Analytics for a spin.