Ridding the World of Bad Forms

Conversion rate optimisation is the practice of fine tuning your website to turn as many visitors into customers as possible. It is as relevant to SMEs as it is to global brands. Perhaps more so, as SMEs can and need to keep innovating to retain their competitive edge.

Many SMEs already do some optimisation of their site, but there is nearly always one key part of the customer buying process that is neglected, to the consternation of visitors to your site and to the detriment of your bottom line.

Imagine walking down a high street and spotting a beautifully designed storefront. Tempted by the frankly gorgeous display, you head in, to find an intuitively laid out shop, full of things you’d love to buy, for a price that seems too good to be true. After a few minutes, your arms are full with goodies and you decide you want to purchase the lot and head to the tills.

There, instead of a friendly cashier, sits a frankly unusable self service till with unclear instructions about how to proceed. Try as you might, you struggle to scan in your items, and you are bemused that the till is taking you through such a long process, asking you irrelevant questions and bombarding you with extra charges.

Your patience is tested so much by this laborious procedure, that you simply drop the items and leave the store, purchasing nothing.

This situation seems strange enough, but would be made more worrisome if the store owners had no idea that this was going on, and made no attempt to find out why hundreds of people entered their shop and wanted to buy cool stuff, but very few walked out having purchased anything.

Online, the above situation happens scarily often. Formisimo has now tracked over 2.8 million such events online, where a user starts an online form or a checkout with the intention of purchasing a product or making an enquiry.

A staggering 67% of all of those people who start an online form do not complete the process. Forms are often the first real dialogue you have with your potential customers, but they are invariably terrible conversationalists and great at turning your visitors away, potentially to a competitor.

Businesses often do not know why this exodus happens, as they do not have any data to see where the pain points are for their potential customers. For the most part, designing a better form is reliant on guesswork and blogs written about other businesses’ forms.

But just as no two shopping experiences are the same on the high street, no two online shopping experiences are either; forms and checkouts included. Every website has a different type of visitor, and they will behave differently when asked to hand over personal information for a good or service.

Now, there are many common problems with online forms and checkouts that frustrate users the world over (CAPTCHAs and the requirement to hand over lots of personal details, to name two), but you can only truly ‘fix’ your form with the information relevant to you, from your visitors. Where do they make mistakes? Does it take too long to complete? Where do they exit the process?

We created Formisimo to put the data back into the form and checkout design process, and try to rid the world of bad forms. Whilst forms may not be the sexiest part of the brand or website, if you take the time the make it easier for your customers to buy from you, ask you for information or enquire about your service, they will thank you for it.

More and a higher number of happy customers is surely the goal of all SMEs, so make it a priority to at least look at your forms; you’ll already be doing more than most of your competitors.

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