Expedia Saved $12 Million a Year by Deleting One Input Field on Their Website

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Evidence that the tiniest changes in web design can make an outsized difference in how sites are used and how the companies behind them fare in business: Travel website Expedia.com says that by deleting one input field on their site’s order form, they saved $12 million a year.

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The culprit: That annoying, optional “Company name” field that occasionally appears on order forms below the individual’s name. Apparently, this sufficiently confused a lot of users, who would upshift all of their information, then leave the site in frustration after all of their information was mangled up.

Silicon.com gets the scoop from Joe Megibow, Expedia’s VP of global analytics and optimization:

“[The “Company field] confused some customers who filled out the ‘Company’ field with their bank name.”

After putting in their bank name, these customers then went on to enter the address of their bank, rather than their home address, in the address field.

“When it came to address verification to process the credit card, it failed because it was not the address of credit card holder,” Megibow said.

“After we realised that we just went onto the site and deleted that field – overnight there was a step function [change], resulting in $12m of profit a year, simply by deleting a field.

“We have found 50 or 60 of these kinds of things by using analytics and paying attention to the customer.”

According to Luke Wroblewski, whose tweet on the matter made the rounds through Twitter, the response among many designers was incredulity that users could mess up something so basic: See exhibits A, B, and C, the last of whom, Henrik Rypkema, wrote “hard to believe: either the form design was terribly poor or their average consumer was fairly unintelligent / not-web-savvy.” But whether users or designers are ‘to blame’ is in some respects irrelevant: Online businesses will continue to move towards where the money is, and that means accommodating less web-savvy/easily distracted customers. Plus, those “company” fields in order forms have always been irritating.

(Silicon.com via Luke Wroblewski via TopTweets. title image via RightSleeve)

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