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Website Form Best Practice: Developing your digital experience

Why do we use website forms?

Website forms are found on most websites and are there to capture customer data in order to manage the relationships with new and existing customers. Very simply website forms are a digital component with a box, which allows data capture and a call to action button, or CTA.

Forms are commonplace and are regularly used in many parts of websites and applications. Website forms are specifically used to register and log in customers, make purchases, make bookings, sign up to newsletters and to gather insights, to name but a few functionalities.

Well-designed web forms allow organisations to capture crucial and valuable data about their users and customers. But with research suggesting that 60% of consumers provide incorrect information when submitting their personal details online, it’s crucial that website forms make data collection as easy and straightforward as possible whilst keeping user experience at the forefront.

Website forms: What information can we collect?

Website forms can be used to collect a wide range of data from site users. Some of the most collected data includes:

1. Website forms: Address data

Address data is collected in order to provide geographically appropriate content but also, for e-commerce sites, to support successful on-time delivery. There are more than 130 different address formats around the world, along with numerous accents and unfamiliar characters.

With more and more organisations serving customers across the world, capturing different address formats on web forms is critical to building quality customer data and deliver the best possible user experience.

Businesses looking at increasingly accurate geolocation information for deliveries would do well to spend time looking at what3words.

what3words provides a simple way to identify and name any location. This is achieved by dividing the world into 3m x 3m squares and providing each square with a unique three-word address. With the What3Words technology, people can refer to any precise location without knowing the geocodes or postal address all achieved from a single tap on a map.

2. Website forms: Phone

Collecting and verifying telephone numbers opens up multiple customer contact channels such as SMS, or calling and also makes new channels such as Whataspp Messenger for business possible.

Correct information capture upfront through website forms means you’ll be able to ensure fast and efficient communications at each stage of the sales process as well as improving retention and repeat order rates by keeping customers informed throughout their journey.

3. Website forms: Email

With email being the go-to contact channel for most online customer journeys, this is a critical piece of data to accurately collect. However, how can you ensure best practice when creating website forms.

When onboarding new customers, tools such as email verification aid in preventing bogus or spam email registrations from your online web forms, and also reduces the need for a user to enter their email address twice, if you choose.

How to create user-friendly Website Forms: Best Practice

First and foremost, you should never see a form design as complete. Customers’ behaviour and response to a form must be subjected to analysis and evaluation. Ongoing user testing is important, and a user’s opinion and behaviour will always matter.

Quality user testing helps us to understand important aspects like time of interaction with form, pain points and where a user gets stuck or finds themselves unable to complete an entry.

 

Best practice: Use a single-column layout

Speed to complete is undoubtedly the most important attribute for a web form. Users want to move through it as quickly as possible without having to overthink.

One way to up the pace of completion is to use only one column as opposed to two or more. Research by ConversionXL found, “Survey participants completed the linear, single-column an average of 15.4 seconds faster than the multi-column form.”

Its thought the reason single-column forms are faster to complete is because a person’s eyes can move down from the top to the bottom in a natural, comfortable way.

 

Website forms: Only ask for what you need

“Less is more” is so often the best way to maximise a customer experience and web forms are no exception.

Most experts agree that you should only ask for information that’s absolutely necessary and ditch the rest (if not for GDPR reasons alone!). Once you have started engaging with a customer, you can collect more data through a data enrichment strategy. At the offset though, collect just what you need and focus on getting that right.

Also remember, whatever data you are collecting, you can make it even more straightforward by being clear about which fields are required and those that are optional.

 

Show a progress bar

Managing expectations is another import facet in form design especially if your form will go through multiple stages. An example of managing expectations in a straightforward way can be seen in the Etsy shop set up. The simple mechanic of a progress bar shows the new customer what to expect throughout the sign-up process when completing the web form.

 

Address autocomplete: autocomplete form address

When it comes to online actions we’re all lazy and long forms can be off-putting therefore reducing the numbers of successful completions and potential customers. Make sure your form allows auto-complete so users can bring in data they have entered before – speeding up the process and improving accuracy.

Speed up address entry by making use of single-line address capture.

Allow a user to simply start typing their full address and click when the appropriate details are found. This faster address look-up aids the completion of digital journeys and the accuracy of the data captured. If you deliver goods then this can radically improve the delivery success rate too.

Website form design success

Looking to the future, it seems certain that the changes to how we interact and shop will have a lasting impact on our digital behaviour. More people than ever are prepared to share details online as they sign up to access online services in all walks of life. With this is in mind, it might be a good time to review your website forms to make sure they capture data quickly and accurately in a way that builds relationships with customers for the long term.

To find out how Loqate's solutions can help enhance your website forms, speak to a member of the team today.

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