eCommerce Tip #127: Don’t ask a question if an algorithm can find the answer

Reduce friction!

Don’t bother the customer with questions or options when an algorithm or a query in a database can figure out the answer.

Simplify your customer’s life, not your job!

eCommerce: Don't ask a question if an algorithm can find the answer. Use Smart Defaults in your forms. Reduce Cognitive load
Tip #127 – © Franco Folini

If you are 80% confident you can guess the correct answer fill the corresponding input fields with smart defaults, and make it easy for your customer to change those defaults by inputting a new value. Shorter forms and Smart Defaults can reduce the cognitive load for your users. Reducing the cognitive load will increase the conversion rate. Cognitive load is a characteristic that measure how efficiently a users completes tasks or uses a product or complete a task. The smaller the better.

In the context of eCommerce, a lot of data we collect is highly redundant or is already available in our databases. We must also use what we already know about users to reduce the friction and the cognitive load. We can leverage that redundancy of certain data to simplify the user experience of our customers by providing smart defaults every time we ask a question or require an input. A typical example where we can data redundancy is the zip code.Zip codes can be used to guess the city name and the state. Why not to do it and get rid of a couple of input fields from our forms?

Conversion Rate vs. Number of Form Fields
eCommerce Conversion Rate vs. Number of Form Fields

Franco Folini lives and works in the eCommerce territory, a wild area between the Kingdom of Technology and the Kingdom of Marketing. He speaks fluently the language of both realms. For many years, Franco has been helping people bridge the divide and successfully collaborate.

If you want to find out more about Franco, visit his LinkedIn profile or send him an email folini[at]

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