Checkout Form Design From Around The World

If you want to improve conversion for international customers, here’s a tip – don’t show them the same checkout forms as your domestic market. I wrote about this recently using an example from Victoria’s Secret, which offers a North American and an International form.

But does Vicky’s Secret go far enough? Forms that take into account the cultural differences, address formats, payment preferences and legal regulations for individual countries are easier for international customers to understand and complete.

While I don’t believe in copying other sites‘ formats outright, referring to a site that’s obviously done its homework on international ecommerce can give you an idea of what international checkout forms should look like. PayPal is a great example.

Australia

The Aussie form is near identical to other Western countries, but includes post script that asks for the shopper’s consent to PayPal’s use of cookies and storing customer information in the USA. It also doesn’t present an American Express option.

India

India is also very similar to Western countries’ forms, but has a PIN code field in lieu of a ZIP/postal code. It also carries a (+91) prefix for the telephone number.

Japan

Japan’s form is very similar, but notice it asks for last name first, instead of first name, matching cultural expectations. It also offers an additional credit card option (JCB).

China

Once you hit China, things start getting interesting. Credit cards are not as popular in China, so PayPal adjusts its sails and offers the UnionPay bank card option by default. Like Japan, last name is asked first, but is labeled Surname, and first name labeled Given Name.

Germany

PayPal presents its German form in German, where you’ll find options for a bank transfer or credit card. If you choose bank transfer, you need to enter your account number and birth date for security.

Brazil

You’ll recall from our post on global payments that Brazil commonly allows for payment in installments. In this case, the only option is a one-time payment, which is indicated. Also, field labels are slightly different – Brazil also uses Neighbourhood and ZIP code, which appears to be a mistake. Only the US and Philippines use ZIP, Brazil uses C├│digo de Endere├žamento Postal (CEP).

Conclusion

Whether you want to serve the world through one site or many sites, localizing the checkout form will be more user friendly than forcing everyone into the square hole of a universal form. (If you use one site, you can allow customer to select country first to load the appropriate form, as Victoria’s Secret and PayPal do). When designing forms, make sure you understand the following:

  • Cultural differences (e.g. surname, given name)
  • Address differences (e.g. city/state/postal code/telephone), apply them to field labels accordingly
  • Payment preferences of each market
  • Legal implications of privacy or submission of information

Tags:


Related Articles

6 Responses to “Checkout Form Design From Around The World”

  1. Linda,

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m glad somebody else is pushing to make companies understand the diversity and dynamism in this world, making one-size-fits-all forms a guaranteed failure in terms of data gathered as well as user experience.

    You, and your readers, may be interested to know about a free e-book which I wrote called “Better data quality from your web form – Effective international name and address Internet data collection”. It can be downloaded from http://www.grcdi.nl/book4.htm – and you don’t need to fill in a form to get it!

    Graham Rhind

  2. Great article! It’s extremely important to understand the subtleties of form design for international users. Customers can be easily lost by not understanding these differences. Cultural differences play a huge role and knowing your user is very important. Most wouldn’t even think to allow for an installment plan, as in the Brazil example. Great examples!

  3. Dawn says:

    A topic well worth some thought by any website that sells to international customers.

    I can’t tell you the number of times that I have “got stuck” with a form that insists I tell them what State I live in and won’t accept anything but the US States that it has listed.

    I “tell” the form I live in New Zealand. It doesn’t care. It wants a US state and won’t let me progress.

    If they don’t want international customers – then say so up front.

    Definitely an area of e-commerce that needs refinement.

  4. Definitely an important topic. Paypal could have gone even further and also varied the name of the “CSC” label according to what it is most commonly known as in each specific country, (CVC, CVV, security code, etc.).
    It’s interesting to notice that the Brazilian form is the only one where an example address is given.

  5. Ron Thompson says:

    Another very useful article. Thank you very much!
    I discovered an interesting article to this a few days ago. For those interested in a little extra information on the checkout process design – check it out:
    http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.com/2011/01/shopping-carts-check-out-there-is-often.html

Leave a Reply

© 2014 Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog. All rights reserved. Site Admin · Entries RSS · Comments RSS