How Many Clicks to an Order Form? Staff

Updated · Aug 31, 2001

by Dolores Pepper

Are you making your customers click though unnecessary pages to get to your order form? I visited a Web site the other day, found the product I liked and wanted information on ordering. Since there was no price listed, I clicked the buy button (one click). A page came up asking if I would like the electronic or regular version? (two clicks), so I clicked electronic thinking “Here it is.”

I had to choose from five countries (three clicks). Wow, they're a big company I'm impressed. Next page, did I want the Windows or Mac version? Hey, that's a legitimate question, but you could have saved me some time by asking which version I preferred on the first page.

I'm ready to buy, but I still have no idea how much it costs. I click Windows (four clicks). Did I want to
order the program from them or an outside retailer? (five clicks). Made my choice, now can I buy? No, not yet. I get to choose which product I want from an alphabetized list, or categorized list (six clicks) so I scroll down through all their products.

Uh, what was the name of that product again? I couldn't find it and had to go back because I made the mistake of choosing category first (seven clicks). Back to the alphabetized or categorized list (eight clicks). Now, I know sometimes when you list other products you can make an “upsell” but couldn't you show me what I want first, then offer another product later after I have found what I want?

Please satisfy me I'm so busy, I only have a few minutes in between my life.

One more click, and there is that electronic or regular version screen again. I thought I made that choice six clicks back, apparently not.

After nine clicks and several minutes of wasted time, I found it. You would think I was looking for buried treasure. I had absolutely no idea what the price of the product was until the last page.

That was just finding the product I wanted to order, now I have to order it. I wonder how many clicks that will be?

Make the process easy for your customers to purchase from you. All the questions the company asked were good questions, necessary to ensure I received the correct product order but they could have saved me, their most precious commodity the customer a lot of trouble. State as much information you can upfront, so the customer doesn't have to wade through several pages of whatever.

Go through the ordering process yourself. Have friends and neighbors order from you. If you can possibly find a friend who has never ordered online have them give it a go too. (A good shopping cart system should have a test feature.) Try to limit the ordering process to a few pages from the time the customer clicks the buy button to the completion of the order.

After you made the sale, send your customer a note asking him or her what you could do to make the sale process better. Or, ask if the ordering process was easy to follow, then send him or her a gift or discount on another purchase if possible. In a virtual world where the next competitor is only a click away, be sure you aren't making your visitors leave your site without a smile on their face.

Reprinted from Internet Day

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