August 27, 2020   |   4min read

Usability in E-Commerce—the Optimal Purchasing Process

There are many reasons why users decide not to make a purchase in an online store. Firstly, it is due to the necessity to set up an account—which the users don’t want to do or lack the time. Secondly, it’s the too long or too complicated purchasing process. How to make this process more intuitive, short as possible, and effective?

Try to shorten the contact form to eight text fields

Results from Beymard Institute studies indicate that it’s not the number of checkout steps is the greatest problem, but the number of text fields, including shipment address and data of the recipient. Contact form is the most sensitive step in the purchasing process. It often seems too long, asking for information that, from the users’ perspective, is not necessary. How to make your contact form more user-friendly?

  • Mark the fields that are necessary and those that are not. Don’t make the user guess which information is necessary for placing an order.
  • Decrease the number of text fields: combine name and surname, automate the process—apply the mechanism which automatically inserts the street and city after the users entered the postal code; only then give the option to edit those fields.
  • Remember about the checkbox “the address on the invoice is the same as delivery address” — thanks to this solution, the user doesn’t have to enter the same address twice.

Shipment form in an online store

Stray away from the “drop-down” element (a drop-down single-choice list) when there are more than ten and less than five choices. If there are more than ten options, the best solution is to use a text field with the automatic suggestions appearing after entering first letters. When there are below five choices, use the radio button or light buttons.

list of options to choose at an website

When the user enters the credit card number, make sure that there is a space after every four digits. The number can be validated with the Luhn algorithm, which minimizes the risk of error, thus ensuring the transaction’s safety.

Credit card form on a website

Order summary

The order summary page is usually only “scanned” by the user; here, we check if everything is alright if we haven’t been charged with additional costs. That is why this page needs a well-thought-out graphical layout — information must be clear and put in the right order.

Here, the user should have the option to edit the data provided in the previous steps: address, delivery type, payment method.

The button finalizing the order (“place the order” / “proceed to payment”) must be visible right after entering the page. It should be placed on the top of the page or be a sticky menu/navigation bar. Otherwise, you risk a situation in which the user will think that the order was placed, and he/she will exit the page.

summary of purchasing in Zalando online store Order summary at Zalando is a good point of reference when designing this view. The user can edit the data. The expected date of delivery is presented, and the button for finalizing the order is clearly visible at the top of the page.

Safe shopping on the Internet — can I trust this site?

Users often decide not to place an order because of the lack of trust in a given website. This is due to several factors (we will cover this subject in a separate article), but let’s focus on the trust in the purchasing process itself.

We are increasingly more aware users of the Internet, and we care about our personal information. That’s why we rarely and reluctantly answer questions that are too sensitive to us. Those include our identification number, date of birth, credit card number, phone number, or sex. In the case of online shopping, the phone number is necessary for the contact between the courier and the client. Providing such a (or other) reason for requesting the phone number next to the text field increases the credibility and instills trust that the data won’t be used for marketing purposes.

A part of a contact form from an online store

The trust issues also arise from the lack of transparency with the additional fees. If the delivery will cost extra, inform the user about that fact as quickly as possible. Even a small amount of money, when unexpected, can make the user abandon the cart. If you can offer free delivery from a specific price of the order, do it — it’s an effective way to increase your sales.

Make sure that you offer delivery and payment methods known to the users to increase trust and safety. According to the “E-commerce in Poland 2019” Geminus report, Polish clients mostly choose DPD, DHL, and In-Post, while the most frequently chosen payment methods are the instant bank transfer through payment services like PayU or Przelewy24.

Creating an account as a primary reason for forgoing online purchases

“Continue without logging-in” became the industry standard. As Internet users, we have so many accounts that we are glad not to add yet another to our list. Provide such an option and make sure that it is clearly visible.

It is a good idea to add the option to register an account at the end of the purchasing process, saving all the data already entered. The chosen payment and delivery method should also be saved to suggest it for the next purchase (of course, with the option to change them), and thus shorten the purchasing process. The only information left to provide is the password for the account. Overly complex passwords should not be required. A “minimum of 6 letters” should suffice. Such information should be provided when the users enter the passwords and not an error message.

Registration view in the paper concept online store Paper concept as a default option enable purchases without registration

Do you want to increase the conversion of your online store, thanks to a well-designed website? We can help you with that! Contact us at

Agnieszka Czyżak

Creative Director

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