The success of e-commerce is directly linked to the correct contact details of customers. Therefore, a correct delivery and billing address is crucial when it comes to making a purchase. The steps between the purchase decision and the completed order are often cumbersome. What can online retailers do to improve this critical phase?

Entering Address Information on E-Commerce can sometimes be Time Consuming

When they place their first order, online shoppers on this website must fill out an average of 9 to 10 form fields for their address information. Entering this information is time-consuming and often confusing: Does the house number have its own field, what should be entered in the additional information? If the delivery address is not correct, however, no delivery can take place, and it is self-evident that the entry is mandatory. Different entries to the previous purchase, such as an abbreviation to Str., may create an unnecessary second profile and dilute the assignment.

The process of entering optional fields is made even more difficult because the option must first be clearly identified as such, e.g. by a missing mandatory field asterisk or a corresponding designation. It becomes clearer if fields that are not necessary, such as the address suffix or the company name, are only displayed on click and otherwise remain hidden. Customers must be able to clearly see which fields are relevant.

Having to enter the complete billing and delivery address again independently of each other rightly causes displeasure. By default, the billing address should correspond to the delivery address and the corresponding field should only be displayed proactively in the case of a delivery to a different address.

Data Quality Tool for The Address Field

One simple as well as effective method is to use a data quality tool for auto-completion of address and contact data, which facilitates the input.  This suggests suitable entries when they are entered in the address field. This is based on a database (which must always be kept up to date) that accesses city and street names and refines these suggestions with each additional letter entered (the type-ahead search). Or, after entering the postcode, the city name is already entered automatically. The typing effort is significantly reduced, incorrect spellings or typing errors are avoided. This helps not only in the check-out process, but also when creating the customer account.

Particularly for mobile shopping, a so-called single-line entry is ideal, in which the address field resembles a search field. With the input, a selection list of the addresses found is displayed without having to start with a specific parameter beforehand. This also considerably reduces the number of input fields.

The address validation of address4.com is another data quality tool that provides online merchants with security for correct purchase processing. The automatic address validation ensures that fewer delivery delays or returns occur due to incorrect address information. Here it is important to signal already at the time of entry that a correction is supported here, or to confirm a correct entry. A real-time validation, or live-in validation, checks in real time during the input process. Accordingly, it plays back positive or negative feedback directly at the relevant input field. This increases user satisfaction and leads to a higher completion rate, because users can make the necessary changes while they are still mentally in the field.

Would users have to jump back in the process to make corrections, this would be irritating, especially in mobile shopping, as it leads to even more scrolling movements and destroys the linearity of the process. Positive messages, such as a green tick when the entry is correct, also have a motivating effect and convey a secure feeling of progress in the purchase process.