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One of the biggest barriers for customers about to use a checkout is forcing them to register their details first.
Presenting them with page after page of forms in which they need to fill out the most unnecessary of personal details is a quick way to send your customers to the exit, leaving many abandoned baskets and lowering your conversion.
Earlier today I looked at 30 UK retailers and which ones force their customers to register, now it's time to turn our attention to the USA.
We're often looking for examples of good, and not so good, practice in ecommerce for our reports and articles, and there are a few sites you can generally rely on for the former.
One of these in AO.com, formerly Appliances Online. The company was launched 14 years ago and its recent IPO valued it at around £1.6bn.
A key reason behind the company's growth can be found in its focus on good design and customer experience, as well as a culture of testing and optimisation.
As a result, AO.com contains many examples of ecommerce best practice that others can learn from. Here are just a few...
Forms are important online. When well designed they make it nice and easy for people to sign up for newsletters, make a purchase, and so on.
However, badly implemented forms can be a real barrier for potential customers, frustrating them to the point where they give up.
Web form optimisation and good design is therefore vital, so here I've gathered up 21 examples of form best practice from a range of different sites.
We have checkout forms, contact forms, mobile optimised forms and more...
Third party trust logos are used on most ecommerce sites, with the intention of reassuring potential customers that they can shop safely with the retailer in question.
There are a lot to choose from, and a recent Baynard has looked into which logos are most trusted by US shoppers.
In this post, I'll take a look at the test and the results, as well as whether we need trustmarks on ecommerce sites at all...
Registration has benefits for both customers and retailers, but it can be perceived as a barrier by customers.
It needn't be a barrier though, and well designed checkouts can reduce customer abandonment while still encouraging people to register.
The key is to present web forms and order the process in such a way that it doesn't mean more effort for consumers. You can still have plenty of customers creating accounts.
Here are some examples...
House of Fraser launched a redesigned version of its site earlier this week, with a focus on catering for touch screen users.
I've been asking Executive Director for MultiChannel at House of Fraser Andy Harding about the thinking behind the relaunch...
With more than half of its traffic coming from mobile, House of Fraser has today launched a redesigned version of its site with the emphasis on the user experience for touch screen devices.
This marks a change in strategy for the company: designing for the mobile customer now comes before desktop or laptop.
I've been looking at the various sections of the new site...
Vistaprint has an interesting order and checkout process. There is lots of cross-sell and a decent amount of persuasion tactics used.
Things have moved on and I must say that I don’t think it’s too complicated any more. There are a number of steps to the order process and to the checkout process but that was to be expected when designing a customised t-shirt (my chosen product).
Cross-sell and upsell is now presented on pages where I already feel assured the design process is going well.
Mainly there was a lot of clear information and some fairly persuasive copy and design techniques which I think has been judged correctly.
However, the company must be careful to keep cross-sell relevant. After being offered similar products, stationery and the like, I was then offered website builds and marketing services. This felt wrong and made me think the process might become more tiresome. If I was busier, I could have abandoned at this point.
See what you think of each stage of the order process..
Checkout abandonment continues to be a major topic in ecommerce, and one which retailers have plenty of options to deal with.
According to stats from Salecycle, checkout abandonment rates in Q2 2013 averaged 75.5% across all industry verticals.
One way to reduce abandonment rates is to enclose the checkout process, and remove distractions that may form a barrier to purchase. Here's why...
Which ecommerce sites are setting a great example for others to follow?
I've been asking the Econsultancy blog team, as well as a few ecommerce experts, for their suggestions of great ecommerce sites.
I've picked the rest, some because they offer an excellent all round experience, others aren't perfect, but were chosen for specific aspects which others can copy/learn from....
I like Hamleys. Unlike supermarket-style toy stores, it offers a special experience for kids and adults alike, and reminds me of the days before brands like Toys R Us dominated the market.
In fact, as I've discussed often with Chris Lake, such a well-loved brand, known for quality and great in-store experience, should be able to thrive online, especially at this time of year.
Indeed, It appears that it is doing well offline. It's expanding, but I don't think it's making the most of digital.
This post takes a close look at the site, and the general impression is that it hasn't kept with with the growth of ecommerce over the past few years.
Your customer has added items to their basket, clicked to proceed to checkout, so what should they see on the next page?
Well, since registration has been shown to be a barrier to conversion, they should see a page that takes an email address and eases them into the checkout proper.
But are sites doing this? Here are a few examples from ecommerce sites...