Forms, Funnels and Conversion Rate Optimisation

Did you know that 67% of visitors who start a form, abandon it before completion? Of course you do, you’re feeling that in your conversion rates. So what causes this massive abandonment rate and what can you do to minimise it?

According to a Visual Website Optimizer survey, the main reasons for abandonment were as below. 

  • Unexpected shipping cost 28%
  • Had to create a new user account 23%
  • Was just conducting research 16%
  • Payment security concerns 13%
  • Confusing checkout 12%
  • Couldn’t find coupon code 8%
Pretty self-explanatory and very easy to create a hypothesis, test and change.


Shoppers online are getting more and more savvy about online fraud and the dangers inherent in handing over credit card details. Most people know someone who has been stung in some way, no matter how small that may be.

Your job is to reassure the potential customer that your site, form, funnel etc. represent a safe place for them to shop. A survey showed that a strong 48% of participants stated that trustmarks were a factor in them deciding to shop at a particular website. SSL certificates and the use of security seals and payment logos all help in establishing this trust, but where and when you use them needs to be tested carefully. Don’t oversaturate the user experience or stimulate fear in the purchasing process.

Unexpected Charges (Delivery etc.)

A ComScore report stated that almost half (47%) of online purchases were made on sites offering free delivery/shipping. A conclusion that also came from this was that 61% of shoppers were “at least likely to” to cancel the entire purchase if they were not offered free delivery/shipping.

Given that so many shoppers dislike delivery charges, where are best efforts served? Sale items or free shipping? It would seem like no matter how small that charge is, shoppers hate to pay it.

Worse still is the “calculate shipping” scenario where you actually make the shopper work out for themselves how much extra you are going to charge them on top of their item costs! If you have to charge for shipping, make it clear as soon in the process as possible.

So if you can offer free shipping, do! You might need to set a minimum spend, but that can increase shopper spending – the main thing is not to have any surprises at the end. We can help you identify sweet spots for pricing that maximise revenue and conversion rates at the same time.

Coupon Codes

There are a few strategies around coupon codes. Recent studies have shown that 4 out of 5 online shoppers have used discount or voucher codes in the last 12 months. What those shoppers have said is that they expect to be able to enter the code as early as possible in the checkout process – they want to be able to see the savings! The longer you leave the entry point, the higher the anxiety within the shopper.

Shoppers who don’t have a code will often go off “hunting” to find one. A Paypal/ComScore study showed that 27% of participants would actually abandon their cart in their hunt for the elusive coupon. So how can you mitigate the effects?

  • Host your own discount/voucher codes – shops like Macy’s have adopted this strategy to keep shoppers within their own ecosphere
  • Don’t use coupon codes – stops the problem, but shoppers do like a bargain
  • Use url-specific linking from emails etc. that dynamically shows the box if appropriate

Form/Funnel Simplicity

It’s so easy to keep adding questions and content to forms and funnels without checking the impact on overall conversion rates. This can lead to confusion and anxiety (why are they asking me that!) and to a subsequent reduction in potential revenue.

Look at every question that you are asking in the form/funnel. What is its purpose and what does it give you in return? The more questions you ask, the lower your conversion rate, keep the questions short and snappy. If you can, justify each question (for example, email addresses are where you will send the order confirmation and phone numbers can be requested in case of any issues with an order). 

Positioning of form fields and labels, font size and case as well as a number of UX design considerations all add to the complexity or otherwise of your form/funnel. Through testing designs, you can determine the best layout for YOUR customers, remember that just because another website does something in a particular way doesn’t necessarily translate across to your user base.

We use a number of tools to analyse your customer flows and identify areas for improvement and testing.

Login/Account Sign-Up

Remember that the most basic requirement of a funnel or form is to enable the visitor to complete a transaction of one form or another. There is nothing so frustrating as having to create an account to purchase a product. What would you do if you entered a department store, chose your items, queued up to pay and were then asked to fill out a form prior to handing over your money?

At the very minimum offer the visitor the ability to checkout as a guest. But then go further than that, make the guest checkout the first choice. We have conducted tests that have demonstrated the immediate lift seen by showing the guest checkout as the primary option. We have also demonstrated that justifying (see form fields above) the registration process to be of great benefit (first for discount and sales news etc.) can have a strong effect on conversion rates.

Why not start the registration process on the confirmation page? Happy shoppers are far more likely to want to engage with your brand after successful completion of the process.

Window Shoppers

As for those visitors who were just conducting research? Remember to give them the greatest experience possible when they are on your site and make sure they know why they should shop with you. What are your unique selling propositions? Hopefully, you have some. Use re-targeting with Facebook and/or Google ads, this highly focused technique is one of the best ways of bringing those potential and existing customers back to your site in the future.