Autofill shortcomings deter mobile conversions

Encouraging mobile usage in hospitality can lead to more positive guest satisfaction scores, with a few caveats.
Autofill is the key to increasing mobile shopping conversions.

While e-commerce continues to shift from desktop to mobile, the number of conversions happening on mobile is still nowhere near as high as it is on desktop. Conversion on mobile is around 9% in North America.

So why the lag? Usability is much harder on mobile, says Karl Mattson, senior vice president of growth at Fillr, a smart data exchange platform. Listrak reported that 37% of mobile checkout abandonments occur due to the difficulty of having to type on a mobile device. And 23% of cart abandonments occur because the process is too complicated, according to Statista. Yet another 27% of abandonments are attributed to time restraints, according to Formisimo. That's where autofill can help.

In 2017, autofill, if done well, eliminates the three major contributors to cart abandonment. FierceRetail sat down with Mattson to learn more about the importance of simple and smooth autofill in the customer satisfaction process.

FierceRetail (FR): What are the common complaints that consumers have with autofill?

Karl Mattson (KM): By far the biggest problem consumers have with autofill is its poor accuracy. Autofill is supposed to eliminate the need to hunt and peck and manually fill the 15 to 20 fields in an average web checkout experience. But Fillr’s closest competitors—Google Chrome and Apple Safari—are woefully inaccurate. In fact, the accuracy of Google and Apple autofill across the web’s top e-commerce sites averages just 53%. That means that, on average, Chrome and Safari’s autofill is correct just a shade more than half the time. The rest of the time the poor consumer is forced to fix the mistakes of autofill by manually finding erroneous fields, deleting their contents and then manually inputting the correct information. 

FR: Why so many inaccuracies?

KM: Autofill to date is horribly inaccurate because it has traditionally been relegated to the status of a feature within a larger product—a web browser. And that feature is architected based on false presumptions, namely that autofill is an easy problem to solve when it is, in fact, infinitely harder. So hard in fact that it can’t be solved with just the CPU power of the device that is running the browser offering the autofill. Truly accurate autofill as a service requires a platform approach that includes machine learning and a cloud-based engine that can throw the necessary CPU power at the problem. For example, Fillr takes a cloud-based approach that utilizes sophisticated machine learning powered by massive CPU power.

By way of comparison, FAaaS offers its users 95% accuracy compared to its competitors, Google and Chrome, giving the shopper true one-click commerce.

FR: What are the challenges for retailers when it comes to implementing better autofill programs?

KM: Solving the problem of bad autofill is largely a problem of awareness. When it comes to implementing better autofill, the three main challenges retail apps face are, one, where does the problem of autofill sit in the tech stack that drives my e-commerce business? Is it in the browser or is it elsewhere? Two, is it possible for me to solve the problem of inaccurate autofill on my own? Three, if it is something that can be solved, which companies are solving it and how?  

And the answers to these three questions are as follows: First, bad autofill does reside within the browser technology being used in your app’s e-commerce checkout process. But, FAaaS provides you a workaround. Second, yes, your e-retail app can in fact solve this problem on your own. You do not have to wait for a Chrome or Safari solution, if one were ever to come that offered 90%+ accuracy. Third, there is one company now who can solve the problem of bad autofill for your e-commerce app. Fillr’s Autofill as a Service (FAaaS) offers an SDK-based solution for e-retailers that is simple, secure and easy to white-label. Simply integrate the Fillr SDK into your e-commerce app and, presto, you will have the world’s most accurate autofill. That autofill generates more than two-times higher rates of conversion on an app than the same app without Fillr.

FR: What else can you tell retailers about the future of e-commerce and autofill?

KM: The abandonment economy—what we call the sum of lost transactions due to shopping cart abandonment—is huge. In 2016, Forrester estimated the abandonment economy to be $4.6 trillion. As e-commerce continues to shift from desktop to mobile, with its higher cart abandonment rates and lower conversion, the abandonment economy will continue to grow. 

We know from our own individual conversations with mobile retailers that m-comm cart abandonment is a major concern and source of major pain. Broadly speaking, if e-retailers and shopping aggregators like Ebates do not solve this problem, they can expect a drop in revenue, even though more mobile shoppers will be coming online! Many of these frustrated mobile shoppers will migrate to more mobile-friendly e-comm sites like Amazon, perhaps never to return. 

In addition, mobile commerce cart abandonment is largely a problem of usability: It is physically difficult and frustrating to hunt and peck and manually input all the information necessary to buy things online while using a mobile device. It takes too much time and many merchants make the problem worse by offering poorly designed and overly complicated checkouts. Poor autofill compounds the problem by forcing the user to correct autofill’s mistakes.

This is a solvable problem, though. And that’s why we developed Fillr’s technology. We envision a world where mobile commerce is frictionless. And by frictionless, we mean one-click autofill. That one click will be when the user checks the box in their app experience and is asked, "Instant Autofill?" The consumer will then check the box and the purchase is complete.