First name and Last name
These should be separate fields.
Firstly, it helps avoid any confusion or mistakes when you talk or write to a customer. Some names can be both first and last names (Campbell, Hunter and Scott for example). If a customer is from a foreign country or culture, you may not be familiar with their naming protocols. Make sure you set the form up to make it as clear as possible
This separation also makes it then easier to later personalise communications, either formally (last name) or informally (first name).
Title (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Doctor, other. etc)
While not a mandatory field, it is highly recommended you include it. It helps you communicate with a customer politely and in the right way.
It also as a side benefit let you split your customer data by gender, without having to ask which gender a customer is.
Of course, there are a few exceptions as “Dr” for example can be male or female. It’s also usually worth leaving an option for other, as some customers might not want to identify their gender. Or, they may have a really unusual title like Lord, Lady, Sir or Dame.
You must have a way to contact the online buyer directly. Usually, you would make an e-mail address mandatory.
It is the easiest way to contact a customer, especially with overseas orders, where they may be in a different time-zone. In most order form templates, you can set a check to make sure that an email format e.g. [email protected] is used.
Your order form needs to include the full delivery address. You should make sure that both post-code and country are mandatory to complete.
It’s possible to set up postcode validation with for example Australia Post to make sure that only genuine postal addresses are given. This helps improve the accuracy of the order. It reduces the amount of incorrect or returned deliveries.
You also need to make clear for apartment blocks, the need to include details of the apartment number, rather than just the building address. And, you should also decide in advance whether you will deliver to PO Boxes, or require a residential or business address.
Payment address if different
Some customers may send the product to someone else as a gift. Or, ask for it to be sent to a work address.
While, this is quite common, and is in fact, good customer service, it can mean that you don’t have the physical address associated with the credit card. It’s a helpful extra security check to ask for this, if it is different to the delivery address.
Contact telephone number / Delivery instructions
Your aim is to make sure the product gets delivered safely and securely. But obviously, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. What happens if the customer isn’t in when the delivery comes for example?
You should ask for a contact telephone number, so that if the driver is unable to make the delivery, he or she can contact the customer to ask what to do with it.
So, it may be that they leave the product with a neighbour, or in a ‘safe’ place like in a shed or by the back door.
You can similarly include a blank question field on the order form, so the customer can flag these sorts of delivery instructions when they place the order.
It’s in the customer’s interests and yours, to make the delivery happen when it needs to, so these are important to include.
Permission to leave
This can be optional or mandatory, but it does help reduce your level of returned / undelivered goods. It puts the onus on the buyer to pick a delivery address where the product will be ‘safe’ to deliver.
Accept terms and conditions
You should have terms and conditions easily visible and searchable on your website. It’s good practice to have a required terms and conditions check-box that the customer ticks before placing an order.
This can help you with any chargebacks or disputed orders later.
This also clarifies that you have permission to contact the customer about the order, so there’s no issue with privacy or spam laws.
This usually doesn’t give you permission then to contact the customer about ‘other offers’ after the order is complete though. You need them to confirm specific permission to do this.