When online is your shop window, and your priority is ensuring your search and social strategy are up to scratch, it can be easy to underestimate the importance of the customer journey – particularly the power of the form.
While the form is just one small component of the online purchase, the final stage your customers reach before hitting the ‘purchase’ button, focusing on the form to optimise the customer journey can increase conversion rates by up to 20%.
Furthermore, the form can offer remarkable insight on customer behaviour. Get it right and you’ll create a bank of customer data at your fingertips that gives you an edge.
Earlier this week, ClickZ Intelligence held a webinar in partnership with the customer journey experts Fospha to discuss simple steps marketers can take to make the customer journey as friction-free as possible, and boost conversion rates. Here are five of the most important points from the presentation.
Forms are overlooked
When we asked our webinar attendees what they felt was the greatest barrier to effective form optimisation in their businesses, more than a quarter (27%) reported the lack of a business case, suggesting that businesses are overlooking the importance of properly optimised forms.
According to research by Fospha, many businesses see 90% of customers drop out of a transaction before completing their purchase. While many of our attendees did understand the importance of form optimisation – more than half (56%) named it as a “high priority” – actually executing on building great online forms may have proven a challenge, for reasons we’ll explore in the next part.
People lack confidence
If lack of business case wasn’t a big enough challenge when looking to optimise your customer journeys, at the webinar we found that many marketers simply don’t have the knowledge, technical capability, or indeed confidence to support the optimisation of forms for their business.
Only 17% of our webinar attendees said they were “very confident” that their company’s online forms were properly optimised. Nearly half said they were “not at all confident”.
More than a quarter (28%) said that “poor technology” was the greatest barrier holding them back, while the same percentage reported the “lack of knowledge”. 20% said that “no ownership” was the greatest challenge of all. The mechanism behind what makes a well-designed form need not be a mystery – it’s all about understanding the basics.
Combining data silos is crucial
It’s important to collect and combine data from the customer journey across each channel, across all devices, through to purchase – and beyond – so you can develop an in-depth understanding of your customers’ behaviour. After getting to grips with what your customers respond to, and what they’ve turned off by, you can adapt the journey to suit them so they’re more likely to reach the end of their transaction.
What should you be looking out for? Take note of whether they bought a single item or many items. Did they return anything?
Bear in mind that when there’s a lot of data involved in your analysis – and there will be – it can be easy to draw broad conclusions that, for the most part, aren’t very helpful. Remember that averages are the enemy – you need granular customer data.
Ghosting occurs when an invisible technical error stops your customer on their journey, and causes them to abandon their purchase. Small errors may have been on your site from day one. They will certainly creep in over time. These errors may be small, but their effects build up.
When working with one client, Fospha managed to increase their form conversion rate by 20% just by changing the way their address finder worked. What their client didn’t realise was that their address finder made ‘county’ a required field, but often didn’t fill it in. Customers were unable to see this error and consequently dropped out of the purchasing process.
If you have limited time to work on optimising your site’s customer journey, it makes sense to focus on the issues that have the biggest impact. For example, it’s possible to automate form analysis, which frees up a not insignificant amount of time.
Well-structured forms tell you a lot
How forms are completed can give you a lot of insight into the type of customer you have – what they like, what they don’t like, their quirks – so it’s worth checking out how they respond to your forms.
For example, the time of day the form is completed tells you when your customers are most active, which can inform decisions on how to schedule your marketing activities. Likewise, the information within the form, such as what a loan application is for, or the cost of a holiday booked can tell you a reasonable amount about your customer’s finances and payments. All useful information, but only accessible if you have the right technology.
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