We're sometimes getting feedback from users of our eCommerce site that they don't understand why certain delivery or payment methods are not available. We are wondering whether we should hide the methods or show them greyed out?
Grey out is probably better than hiding, but only doing the one or the other is not going to solve the customer problem.
Why are customers confused?
Customers usually have preferred payment and delivery methods. They don't like if a shop doesn't offer their preferred methods (but still might want to buy). What confuses them is if a method is generally offered, but sometimes not. I observed that many customers want to understand why their preferred choice isn't available. This is even more so the case if those methods are generally advertised on the site and they only learn in checkout that they can't use them.
You could grey out the unavailable methods and explain the reason why. By doing so you achieve the following:
- Reassurance - customers understand the method is generally available
- Transparency - clarity that in this case the method is unavailable
- Trust - communicating a rationale increases trust as they're not left in the dark about the reasons
It sounds like you're asking how to display fields that may or may not be accessed by the user. If the user can take some action to turn the feature on, then I would display it. So in your example for the delivery method, I would recommend you show it as disabled with text that says why the user can't select it. If only certain types of users can see or enable/disable a feature, then I would hide the fields.