23 minutes | Dec 16, 2019

#29 Rebecca Hugo - 6 Findings from Testing the World's Leading Checkout Flows

I've met Rebecca (Linkedin) at the smind conference in Ljubljana Slovenia and I really enjoyed her presentation. She and the company she works for, look at e-commerce websites and learn from what works and what does not work (if nothing else, go and check out the FREE blog). The presentation has a couple of great ideas on how to minimize checkout abandonment. Here is the link for the mobile cheat sheet. The transcript of the podcast: Rebecca: 23% of users in one of our studies cited that a too long or complicated checkout process was a reason for abandoning the site. [music] Peter Mesarec: This is Time4Marketing, the marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference. Hello, and welcome to the Time4Marketing Podcast, the podcast that brings you the best speakers from marketing conferences all around the world. My name is Peter and I'll be your host today for the episode number 29 as we're slowly ending the 2019 year, the second year of this podcast. Before I introduce you to an excellent guest that we have tonight, please go and subscribe to the podcast if you like it, and of course, rate the podcast in your favorite podcast listening app. We now have a website, it's called time4marketing.com. The number four is a number. That sounds very logical. On the web page, you can also subscribe to the newsletter so we'd send you interesting information about the podcast and marketing conference. Now, we go to our today's guests. We have with us-, I'm very glad to have Rebecca Hugo. Hello. Rebecca Hugo: Hello. Thank you for having me, Peter. Peter: Very glad that you are here today. I saw you speaking at the Slovenian Conference e-Commerce Day sMind conference. You are the UX auditor at Baymard Institute. What is it, what do you do and what do you do there? Rebecca: Baymard Institute are an independent usability research company. We specialize in helping other sites improve their e-commerce givings to their users. We do all of independent research. From there, we distill a lot of our findings. We found, I think it's 11,000 I think is our current number of individual issues that all users have come across when they're testing various sites across all industries. From there, we distill those down into-- We're over 750 guidelines at the moment. The number's still growing because we have a couple of research studies on at the moment. Those guidelines look to the design patterns that either positively or negatively are reacted to by the user. That is anything from a product detail page layout, to how filtering options are presented to the user, to how the checkout is or is not optimized, depending on the site. From there, my role as a UX auditor, our clients will come to us and say, "Could you look at our site?" Basically orders us, "Let us know what we are or are not doing well." I suppose it's almost like taking your car in for a service. It's, "Your oil is a little bit low, your windscreen wipers need tightening up, but the leather in your seats are fantastic." We'll do a similar thing with the order. It can be anything from just looking at a single section, doing the entire site, or even doing prototypes. It gets really quite exciting in an odd way, looking at how different industries present essentially the exact same information to their users and also the nuances thereof in those instances to really create a great experience for that user. Peter: I do a lot of SEO audits. When I begin my SEO audit, there's always the one thing that I'm going to go and check if it's done right, that's the canonicals and the language alternates. When you start such an audit, you probably have a workflow that you have to go through, but what is the one thing that you think that companies are forgetting about and shouldn't be forgetting about? Rebecca: That is a ridiculously hard question, Peter. [chuckles] It's so specific. Because depending on the industry for a start, so if you're looking at a gifting website, one of the core aspects of that is going to be wildly different from a heavy text-back website or anything. For example, selling a laptop or even a fridge, mass merchants and so on. One thing we can fairly consistently find that is still an issue with all the sites that we look at is their search. Their search is predominantly quite poor. That's anything from the varying types of search, your exact search, your feature search, you have slang, you have abbreviation, you've got thematic. All of these aspects across the board, the search for majority of e-commerce sites is still surprisingly weak. There are a great deal of users who just prefer to use search. Knowing that if your search is particularly weak, then not having a particularly good category taxonomy to back that up, it can cause just so many issues for that user. It's still consistently interesting to find and look at what the search landscape looks across the majority of sites regardless of industry. Peter: One of the SEOs on my LinkedIn feed was showing a couple of examples of, I believe UK e-commerce retailers who had no results when he searched for Black Friday on Friday. It seems that search is something that people are forgetting about or just using the default settings over whatever their search is. This is something that we often see. Very right. I've mentioned that I've invited you for this podcast because you had a very interesting presentation at the Slovenian sMind Conference. That was called the 6 Findings from Testing the World’s Leading Checkout Flows. Before we go to your presentation, how is-- That's a weird question because I live in Ljubljana. How was Ljubljana and how was the conference for you? Rebecca: Ljubljana was-- It was beautiful. I sadly didn't get as much an opportunity as probably deserving of such a beautiful city to really look around it. One of the representatives from e-commerce sMind was so-- Sorry. e-commerce-- I can't even say it now. Shopper's Mind e-Commerce Day was kind enough to actually take myself and another speaker around a little bit one of the evenings, so we did get to see some parts of it. It's such a beautiful city. I would really like to visit again. The day itself was great. The atmosphere was fantastic. Everyone was so kind. It was wonderful having just people being comfortable enough to come to you for feedback for a start. You never know how these go unless someone actually tells you exactly what they have or have not been able to take away, any improvements and so on. It was a lovely crowd. It was really well put together. It's a real testament to what Ljubljana, Slovenia, and obviously the Croatia side of things as well and what the company has been putting together. I felt very touched to be able to have the opportunity to come and speak. Peter: Excellent. All right. Let's go to your presentation. 6 Findings from Testing the World’s Leading Checkout Flows. Rebecca, here are your five minutes. Rebecca: Okay. Obviously, the checkout is such an integral part of any e-commerce store. If you can't purchase online, it's not really e-commerce. Having a robust checkout that's really going to perform well for a user is so important. What we really found over a lot of our data studies was that 70% of users who put something in their cart would end up abandoning it. That's two-thirds of users we're going through all the trouble of finding a product that they liked, added it to their cart, but they'd still ultimately not purchase it. If you took away all of those users who were simply not ready to purchase, which is completely fair, there's only so much that a site can do about that, but when you look at the reasons that were left, so many of them could be improved with relatively simple checkout optimization. Some of the core things that we were particularly interested in, one of which is checkout length. 23% of users in one of our studies cited that a too long or complicated checkout process was a reason for abandoning the site during a checkout process during their checkout flow. Our most recent 2019 checkout UX benchmark, which is something that Baymard does, we look at 60 top-grossing US and European sites and use those to take a look at what the landscape looks like for e-commerce UX, we found that the average e-commerce site in 2019 has 12.8 form fields within their checkout flow. This may not seem like a lot, but considering you could actually essentially half that number, sites could get that number down to six to eight form fields for a guest checkout. 12.8 is actually quite a lot. There's such a disproportionate amount of time that users will spend with any open-text form field. Increasing time, causing issues, causing errors, that being able to minimize the amount of form fields, essentially the amount of tasks a user has to do can really create an improved performance and improve experience for the user. The other thing that we found really quite fascinating, at least I know that I did, was the perception of site security. Because the perception of site security can be just as, if not even more impactful than the actual site security that is present. 17% of users in the same survey, they abandon the checkout process because they just didn't trust the site with their card information. Users, we found we're believing that part of a page, so if you feel the box and area in [unintelligible 00:10:46] were more secure than other parts. Even though from a technical standpoint this doesn't make sense, the page is either encrypted or not, the fact that we were aware of this fact from our users, we can then leverage this misconception. Creating a visual robustness, leveraging the importance of site seals, and also what sites seals are more beneficial. A fascinating thing, we've found that some large companies were not given the same weight as just a simple padlock because that's something that users recognize. Knowing about these particular instances and how
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