Companies can leverage user-centered design to collect valuable information about their users and use it to increase conversion rates. If you’re developing digital products, you may assume that fewer steps is better when it comes to signing up for a new product or service. Or you might think that sign-up exit rates correlate with the number of steps in the process. That’s not always the case.
To reduce steps, many digital businesses integrate with open authorization sign-in solutions such as Facebook or Google, trusting that user signups are optimized by asking for less information. However, reducing the number of steps in a sign-up process does not always correlate with reducing exit rates. In fact, some businesses capture more user information during sign-up and subsequently increase conversion rates. They do this by tailoring their users’ experiences based upon the information provided by the user, aka user preferences.
Imagine a new customer has agreed to create an account. Whether the goal is to join a virtual community, receive discounts on a purchase, or save time during checkout in the future, the experience is similar. From the user’s perspective, the account setup process may seem laborious, but it is a one-time cost necessary to achieve their goal. And if the user understands why the information they provide will give them a better experience, then the number of steps in the process is less likely to turn them away.
The difficulty that companies encounter is in knowing how and when to request different types of information from their users. There are two types of information requested during an account sign-up:
- Value-less Information: While this data may be important to the company that is requesting it, it is important to note that from the users’ perspective, it adds little value to their interaction with the company.
- Valuable Information: This is data that users believe adds value to their relationship with the company, because it has a direct impact on the way the company interacts with them.
Two retail industry businesses that model the collection and leveraging of user information to improve the user experience are Stitch Fix and MistoBox. When a new user signs up for one of these services, the user provides extensive information regarding their personal preferences. These companies then customize the users’ experiences based on that information, including recommending items that the customer will have a higher likelihood of being interested in.
Online fashion retailer StitchFix has designed its new account signup experience to collect user preferences. Signing up for StitchFix begins with filling out a “Style Quiz.” This enables StitchFix to tailor which products they recommend to each user. The Style Quiz is engaging because it lets users view and rate different outfits. Users are prompted to be introspective regarding their fashion and lifestyle preferences. To ensure users understand the importance of the data they provide, StitchFix provides the reminder that “the more we know about you, the better we can style you.”
Online coffee retailer MistoBox has designed its coffee subscription service to match customers’ coffee preferences to freshly roasted coffees supplied by over 50 different roasters. Through a personal taste quiz, which asks about preferences such as grind and roast level, MistoBox doesn’t simply supply coffee but rather curates a coffee buying experience based on individual customer preferences. The MistoBox slogan is “Coffee Subscriptions Personalized For You.” This reminds users that the service they are subscribed to is personalized – MistoBox is working for them.
Both companies wait until the point of purchase to ask the value-less (at least to the user) questions, such as mailing address and payment information. At check out, when they have been primed for a personally curated experience, the user is more invested in completing the purchase.
User-centered design principles enable companies to rethink how they fulfill their customers’ goals. Rather than simply providing products, these two companies have become curators that provide products tailored to their customers’ preferences. StitchFix and MistoBox facilitate a more engaging experience by guiding their customers towards products they will more likely enjoy and purchase.
Companies that focus on what’s in it for the user, not just the company, can create delightful experiences for their users, making their relationships stickier.