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In the classic late 80s film “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner is inspired to turn his cornfield into a baseball field after hearing a mysterious voice whisper the famous line, “If you build it, he will come.”

Indeed, the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson soon shows up, followed closely by the Chicago Black Sox and half of the town.

Unfortunately, many marketers believe that if they only build an 'awesome' website, the customers will start pouring in. But what happens when visitors show up and, instead of playing ball and inviting all their friends, turn right around and leave? 

Building a 'site of dreams' requires a whole lot more than a pretty hero image and scrollspy navigation. To truly capture and engage today’s consumers, brands must focus on creating an immersive, interactive user experience that spans channels and devices.

Here are three UX pitfalls causing your customers to abandon your site, and how to make them stay.

1. Complex registration, login & checkout

The fastest way to make site visitors turn on their virtual heels and leave your site is by welcoming them with a laundry list of questions.

The same goes for abandoning cart. I’d rather shop somewhere else than provide my social security number to buy a T-shirt. 

11% of US consumers admit to having abandoned a site because it asked for too much information (Forrester). And as mobile usage approaches 25% of all internet usage, lengthy forms will become an even bigger roadblock as consumers attempt to register and checkout via smaller mobile screens. 

If you build this, they will stay

Give consumers a fast, simple way to register for and login to your site or app regardless of device.

Social Login allows visitors to verify their identities with the click of a button using their existing social accounts, while granting you permission-based access to the information you need.

Offer login options from payment providers like Amazon and PayPal to further simplify the checkout process by auto-filling mandatory fields like credit card number and shipping address.


2. Lack of connectivity

The interdependent growth of mobile and social have made modern consumers 100% connected, nearly 100% of the time.

The ability to consistently reach out and interact with others has turned even the most mundane, everyday events into social experiences, from listening to a song on Spotify to checking in at a restaurant. 

Modern consumers don’t just want to read your content, they want to discuss it. They may want to buy that pair of shoes, but not without seeing what their friends think first.

User-generated content is 20% more influential, 35% more memorable and 50% more trustworthy than any other medium, according to Millennials (Social Times).

You can bet that if you fail to provide consumers with a forum to check in with peers on-site, they will seek it elsewhere - and may never return. 

If you build this, they will stay

Make your site or app a hotspot for consumer interaction by implementing solutions like comments and reviews.

Enabling customers to share and consume valuable feedback in the context of your site not only creates a sticky user experience, but it also builds brand trust and improves SEO performance. 

3. Single channel experiences

As mentioned earlier, mobile usage is quickly growing, with 44% of adult consumers under 35 visiting websites on their mobile phones on a weekly basis (Experian).

While marketers are embracing responsive design as an extension of desktop experiences, many are failing to see how mobile contributes and fits in to the overarching multichannel picture. 

67% of online shoppers admit to having recently made a purchase that involved more than one channel (Zendesk), with many of them using multiple screens in tandem.

Having to start from scratch as an anonymous user each time you engage with a brand on a new device is extremely frustrating. Failing to connect the dots between channels is a sure fire way to send users on a search for a more cohesive user experience.

If you build this, they will stay

Providing visitors with a quick and painless way to register and login across devices is only the first step to creating successful multichannel experiences.

Next, you need to use a database that can store and aggregate data from multiple sources to create a single, actionable view of consumers, enabling one experience to pick up where the last device left off.

Creating a website is easy, but building a sticky yet streamlined user experience is harder than it sounds. Brands that start by developing a strategy to combat these three key areas of abandonment are sure to hit a homerun.


Published 19 May, 2014 by Rachel Serpa

Rachel Serpa is Content Marketing Manager at Gigya and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.

5 more posts from this author

Comments (7)

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Again, I think how fast the website responds and loads has an impact to the users, and if the site takes longer loading then the potential customers might leave. A great post hey!

about 3 years ago


Rachel Serpa, Content Marketing Manager at Gigya

Thanks Nvulane! Load time is definitely critical to creating a great user experience. This infographic has some great stats around how speed affects your bottom line: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/

about 3 years ago

Ian Hammersley

Ian Hammersley, Managing Director at smartebusiness

Don't forget the value proposition! This is the biggest secret of why visitors abandon your ecommerce site. It's not a lack of lack widgets / gadgets or gizmos, its because the value proposition is not right. i.e. are your prices right? Is your delivery quick enough? Are you products in stock? What is your guarantee and return policy like? Whats your trust and credibility like? Fundamentally , you have to ask 'are you competitive' do you offer value over another ecommerce website?

Get your value proposition right and you'll see much bigger improvements to conversion. I think a lot of people are looking for the 'magic pill' i.e. if i install this module on my site I will automatically double my conversion rate. Forget those, and focus on the basics first.


about 3 years ago


Bernd Burkert

Oops, I can't do a social login here ... ;)

Performance and value proposition are critical factors, but that's just the basics (like putting 4 wheels at your car). To get the fastest track time you still need to get the setup right. And just like in motorsports, it's sometimes the tiny details that prevent you from getting a "winning" conversion rate. There is no silver bullet, though. Implement analytics, create content variants (including UI elements like buttons and colours) and test, test, test.
Another interesting approach is to use artificial intelligence to automate the optimization. Those of you who visit the internet world in London, may be interested to hear the case story "Content & Commerce - How to get it right?" at the E-Commerce theatre http://www.internetworld.co.uk/page.cfm/Action=Seminar/libID=1/listID=5/t=m

Cheers, Bernd

about 3 years ago

Ian Hammersley

Ian Hammersley, Managing Director at smartebusiness

Yes I agree totally. But you know what amazes me is that at how many ecommerce sites dont do it do the basics properly!

I think the other critical stats to monitor for eCommerce are the amount of people that :

- go from the home page to the category page
- go from the category to the product page
- add something to the basket
- proceed to checkout
- complete the checkout
(- also check search conversion)

Then you compare the above stats to the average for your type of industry (ask me if you dont know what your averages should be, as we've recorded these stats over the last 10 years).

e.g. if you're getting less than 5% of all traffic adding something to the basket , you've got a problem . i.e. it tells you which bits of your site are performing badly and where to optimise.

My brother wrote this guide, http://www.smartebusiness.co.uk/buyers-guide/seven-conversion-rate-secrets-they-do-not-tell-you/ might be interesting for some to view.


about 3 years ago


Josh - MTC

Love the link from Field of Dreams. I have worked with companies who seem to use the principle “If you build it, he will come.” but often fail to keep it current.

about 3 years ago


Guy R Cook

http://goo.gl/6CKcTE check this out, when planning your online project 3 makes sense things to do and have customers, instead of one time visitors that never come back to your site. This post originally by +Rachel Serpa explains very well what will work. I will include parts of this in a forth coming class in the Help your Website Everyday series, - How to Digitize Your New Story Board is the forth coming class.

about 3 years ago

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