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Reducing cognitive load in the mobile checkout

Elke Bretz, Loqate

Cognitive load is quickly becoming a term retailers are paying attention to, and is a huge issue for consumers shopping via mobile. So what does cognitive load really mean and how does it affect your business?

In cognitive psychology, cognitive load refers to the mental effort being used in the working memory. In ecommerce, customers often struggle to digest the vast amounts of information they come across on a web page, leaving them overwhelmed. This is a serious issue for retailers ignoring page load time or failing to offer a simple checkout.

The average online cart abandonment rate is a surprising 69.57%12, and of that, over a quarter of online shoppers abandon the checkout if it is too long or complicated. On top of this, research from Salecycle shows that retail, fashion and travel are among the top industries affected by high cart abandonment rates13. It is down to online retailers to work around this problem, and there are many ways they can do so.

Abandonment rates

Source: The Remarketing Report, Salecycle, 2016

Simplify form fields

One way that online retailers can optimise the checkout is by simplifying their form fields. Forms are an integral part of the checkout, but by making them difficult to fill out, you risk the possibility of consumers leaving your mobile site in favour of a competitor. According to Checkout Conversion Index™ (CCI) by PYMNTS.com, the top performing merchants wrap up their checkout flow in 118 seconds vs 184 for the worst performers (36% faster), and require 17 clicks to checkout vs 25 for the worst converting merchants14.

Today’s empowered, time-poor consumers no longer have the patience to make their way through lengthy sign up processes and multi-step checkouts.

Identify field types correctly in the code so the relevant keyboard appears on screen when appropriate. For example, if a field requires solely numbers, make sure you’ve launched the numeric keyboard. Input-specific keyboards make entering data so much easier.

Label fields

Making sure your form fields are labelled ensures that visitors to your site understand what is needed from them. Without clearly labelling these fields, mobile visitors are likely to grow confused and impatient, driving them to abandon the cart in favour of a less complicated one.

An even more effective way of improving this step is by adding an example - showing your customer the particular format you require them to use is a really helpful, e.g. 01/05/2022.

Save on typing with auto-suggest

In many cases, visitors to mobile sites are time-strapped shoppers. By implementing address verification with auto-suggest capabilities, you reduce the amount keystrokes required when completing checkout forms, saving customers time and effort. Auto-suggest technology allows the customer to search any part of their address, bringing up a list of accurate matches as the user begins to type - even when typos are entered. This is particularly useful when you consider the issue of ‘fat fingers’, often associated with typing on mobile. Smaller screen sizes and keys are often the reason that users make more typos than if they were on desktop.

On average, by using type-ahead address verification, you can reduce keystrokes by 78% which enables consumers to get through the checkout faster, and in-turn increases conversion rates.

A great add-on to address verification technology is single-tap geolocation - a feature currently available in the UK that enables shoppers to find their location in just one tap. This eliminates the need to type, making it the most convenient way for mobile shoppers to enter an address. 

Use progress indicators

Take the stress out of the checkout by showing customers what they have completed so far and what is required of them next. This means they will have less surprises, and a clearer idea of how long it will take them to complete the checkout process. Not only do you remove friction and confusion, but you also allow them to prepare for the next step, i.e. getting their bank details ready.

Reducing cognitive load increases brand trust, customer experience and, as a consequence, conversions.

Mobile best practice from Bloom & Wild

Bloom & Wild progress indicator

Flower delivery company Bloom & Wild was founded on the strong, yet simple belief that sending and receiving flowers should be a joy, every time.

The company's bespoke presentation boxes are meticulously presented to ensure a great visual experience for recipients.

Bloom & Wild is committed to giving customers a seamless and friction-free online experience regardless of the device. Their simple navigation and streamlined checkout on mobile guides shoppers through the process with ease.

Bloom & Wild’s progress indicator visually guides a user through the checkout process by breaking it up into logical steps in order to complete a specified task in each step.

Bloom & Wild mobile checkout

Bloom & Wild use Loqate's real time data verification to capture and validate accurate customer address details and speed up data entry in their forms. Field advice prompts are associated with the address search box ‘search for the address by typing…’ to help users understand what to do before they get started.

"Our mobile apps allow us to make use of native features like user calendars, addresses and Apple Pay to make ordering flowers even quicker. People generally don't like typing a lot on mobile devices and so using native features to reduce the need for typing improves the customer experience and resulting loyalty.
With the mobile revolution it became even more critical for us to have an address validation tool. The way Loqate works makes it perfect for people that are constantly on the move. It is highly intuitive and predictive which makes it ideal for customers using iPhones and iPads. We’ve definitely seen significant double-digit percentage increases in conversion rates since deploying it."

– Aron Gelbard, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bloom & Wild

Key takeaway

Use smart address verification in your mobile forms to reduce cognitive load.

12 Source: Baymard Institute 37 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics. 13 Source: The Remarketing Report, Salecycle, 2016 14Source: PYMNTS.com Checkout Conversion Index Q4 2016