Paul Rouke
Founder & Director of Optimisation
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  • Conversion Rate Optimisation

4th Jul 2012

4 min

Through our on-going consumer research, particularly for our multi-channel retail clients such as Speedo, Lakeland, Molton Brown, AllSaints and Monsoon Accessorize, we are finding that postcode finders are now becoming almost expected amongst consumers.

Thankfully many retailers and other brands that require visitors to provide their address details are featuring a postcode finder. But, and this is a big but, how postcode finders are implemented can have a major impact on the user experience for visitors.

Why invest in a postcode look-up facility?

Postcode finders should have 2 clear objectives that they should do exceptionally well:

  1. Provide visitors with a quick and intuitive way to find their address without having to type it all out
  2. Provide the business with a more consistent and robust database of customer address details

As the ever informative and valuable Graham Charlton (view his Twitter profile) has recently detailed in this excellent post over at Econsultancy ‘Is postcode entry making your customers abandon the checkout?’, there is still plenty of work for businesses to do in order to achieve these 2 objectives.

Postcode look-up best practice tips

Based on the user insights that we continually witness, coupled with what we see working well for both our clients and other industry leading retailers, below are the 5 most important best practice tips and techniques to make this stage in the user journey intuitive and effortless.

  • Postcode look-up should accept entries with and without spaces – users hate being restricted when completing form fields, especially on something like this which seems very standard
  • Address fields should be auto hidden at the start to reduce the amount of fields users have to contemplate completing – but there should be a link directly next to or under the find my address button to ‘enter address manually’
  • If you don’t ask for the house name or number along with the postcode, when presenting back a list of addresses for user selection, ensure users don’t have to scroll up or down to discover
  • Once users have entered their postcode and chosen their address, they shouldn’t have to then specify other required fields like their county, for instance
  • Remote or moderated user testing is the most insightful way to understand how your postcode look-up facility is genuinely performing from a user perspective
  • For a variety of reasons including issues finding or entering their address, users should always have immediate access to customer service contact details within checkout, including clarity on opening times to manage expectations

Checkout best practice advice

If you’d like to read more about how tips and techniques for improving checkout experiences, we’re written a number of best practice articles which provide clear tips and advice.

Would you like to understand all of your visitors’ checkout frustrations?

Postcode look-up issues and frustrations are just 1, albeit it very important, element of checkout experiences. Much of our time is spent helping retailers gain a true understanding of how their consumers and prospects experience their checkout – they typically know what % of visitors are abandoning their checkout process and where, but they want to know why.

The following graph of results from the Reducing Customer Struggle 2012 Report from Econsultancy highlight just how important retailers see the whole area of understanding why visitors abandon.
Understanding valuable reasons for online shopping


If you fall in to this category, and you would like to join the likes of Speedo, Monsoon Accessorize, AllSaints, Lakeland and Molton Brown in working with ourselves (we’re really nice people to work with too, honestly) please do get in touch on 0161 228 0585.

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