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Is Your Complex Checkout Inducing Drop-Out?


Certain forms – like holiday, travel and event bookings – require lots of customer details for checkout accuracy. They are by default, complex.

Reducing the number of data fields in your forms isn’t always the answer for optimisation. You don’t want to sacrifice your business’s data and marketing needs. Or else you risk jeopardising the quality of your forms.

If you’re thinking, How am I then supposed to make my complicated checkouts painless for my users?, read on to find out. We discuss the challenges of your data demands and ways certain travel sites have overcome them (so you can too).

The Emotional Impact of Tough Checkouts

According to award-winning technology company Digital Trip:

“95% of all traffic for hotel, airline and tour operator websites will leave long before finishing the booking process.”

While customers drop out for many reasons, convoluted checkouts are a major threat to customer conversion. Some travel sites have up to 50 fields to complete, most of which are contained within their checkouts. Even if a small percentage of these fields are unnecessarily tough, it can greatly increase completion times and make for a tiresome UX.

The most dedicated user can be beaten by poorly optimised forms. But they probably still want to make a purchase. So they’ll go to a competitor with an easier checkout process, spending their money elsewhere.

Is your checkout third class when it comes to UX? Use the following findings for a reality check and learn how to optimise your forms in the process.

The Cross-Selling Conundrum

Cross-selling can be a major source of revenue for retailers. Amazon, for instance, earns approximately 35% of their revenue from cross-selling.

However, some users don’t want to splash the extra cash. For those who aren’t interested in spending more, it’s imperative that they can glide through any extras to finish their purchase as quickly as possible.

Travel Republic expertly balances cross-selling opportunity with usability. For example, radio buttons and pre-selected options make choosing or bypassing add-ons a breeze. A user only has to scroll to the bottom of their page and click once to move on.

Source: Travel Republic

Travel Republic’s scrolling one-pager capitalises on white space and ensures that the steps appear less intimidating to the user. Less cognitive function is required because there’s not as much information to absorb, making it easier to complete.

Fly over to Thomas Cook and we get a different experience in usability. The site came 34th in our UX league table and dedicates three entire pages to flight add-ons. 

The first step of Thomas Cook’s checkout sets the tone for the rest of the form: we have a business-centric focus and it tests a user’s patience.

There’s an option to proceed to the payment page without viewing any extras. But if a customer wants to reserve seats or book an in-flight meal, they have to scroll through three pages of add-ons and view these extras via clunky drop downs fields.  

Source: Thomas Cook

When comparing Travel Republic’s clean interface with Thomas Cook’s chaotic ‘Extras’ pages, we get a clearer idea of what’s needed to ease users through their checkout journey. A simple, flowing form design is critical when you require so many interactions.

A Gentle Approach to Simplifying Your Forms

Certain fields in your forms don’t need erasing. They just need altering to make them more user-friendly.

Customer details take up a big proportion of your checkout. It’s essential that you make entering user information as seamless as possible.

Hoseasons came 2nd in our UX league table and uses a postcode look-up for swift data entry.

Source: Hoseasons

Take form usability one step further with the advanced address look-up in your checkout. One of the biggest benefits of this API is that users don’t need to remember their postcodes to get the right address.

As they type the first line of their address – which is more natural than starting with a postcode – the API uses the process of elimination and GPS to ensure that the correct entry is at the top of the drop-down menu.

It makes address entry hassle-free, and because it’s more accurate than post-code look-ups, it drastically reduces the need for time-consuming corrections.

Hoseasons also capitalises on the power of inline validation to make its checkout both rewarding and enjoyable to complete.

Source: Hoseasons

The site ensures that, if an incorrect entry is made, users are given exact instructions on how to solve the problem to progress. Take away the instruction and you’re still highlighting an error. But the user spends more time solving the issue, making purchasing a longer and more frustrating process.

Only 4.1% of travel companies use advanced postcode lookup. No matter what industry you’re in, by using this powerful API you can jump well ahead in UX.

Intelligent Action

It doesn’t have to be a bumpy ride to optimisation. Form insights empower you to make the right changes to your checkout. You can pinpoint which fields are inducing the largest drop-out rate or those that take the longest time to complete.

Every inch of data you gain from form analysis is valuable. It tells you everything you need to know about user behaviour, linking you to opportunities to enhance your checkout experience.

There’s Room For Both Complexity And Usability

When we say complex, we don’t mean checkouts crowded with fields, annoying pop-ups, drop-downs instead of radio buttons and a host of other clunky form interactions.

Your checkout can have complex data demands without overwhelming a user and driving them to drop-out. Encourage potential customers to complete a sale by offering easy-to-fill fields, a simple and spacious form design, gamification through inline validation and advanced APIs.

Use form analytics to measure the impact of your changes, and witness how an easier checkout will encourage your sales to soar.