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On my e-commerce site we have a subscription page where a user fills in their information (name, address, phone number, etc.) and hits subscribe to receive our catalog. If the user is already logged in it is possible for us to simply fill in the fields with the default shipping address and other information that we have on file and they control from their account panel. However, I'm having difficulty deciding if I should make this the default action or if I should just let all users fill it in manually.

Pros:

  • For users with that data already entered they won't have to enter it again, saving time

Cons:

  • It is entirely possible a user wants to ship these catalogs to a different address than their default (although I'd wager this is less often the case) so deleting our autofill and filling it out again would double their effort

For users without data on file nothing will change, they will just fill it in manually.

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I definitely think you should make it so that the information you have on file for the user autofills to receive the catalog.

Why?

  1. By making the process easier for the user, they will be more likely to submit their information to receive the catalog. You are basically lowering the barrier of action for the user. So you should receive more catalog subscriptions!
  2. If the user already has a default shipping address on file with the account, chances are pretty good that this is also where they would want to receive the catalog.
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I would suggest pre-populating that information for the user if you have it. The less a user has to do, the better.

If you get pushback, a good alternative would be to add a check box or button above the form that will allow the user to use their shipping info that they have on file without having to type it in (hence the auto-fill button).

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Autofill with the users data held on file in order to save them time. If user has multiple addresses on file, autofill with the default one.

Offer a button which clears the relevant address fields all at once, to cater for the scenarios where the user wants to ship to a different address.


Consider adding a button allowing them to add an additional shipping address to their file. Then beside any address forms, you can offer a dropdown to choose their desired address for that specific form.

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Depending on the type of usage your e-commerce site attracts, use the method that will appease the greatest number of users.

Users almost always use their default shipping address:
If this is the case, it would be best to autofill the form with as much data as you can. The less time it takes to fill out a form and place orders, the more likely you will have happy customers who remember the ease of using your site and will likely return to use it again. In the event where you are autofilling the form, provide a "New Address" or "Clear" button that will clear the entire form and make it easy to add another address as well.

It is very common for users to use new addresses:
If this is the trend of you site, it would be better to leave the form blank. When forms autofill will unwanted data, users tend to find that very annoying. I would then suggest adding a "Use Default Address" button, that when clicked, fills out all the saved data, making it really simple for users to also access that saved information.

Basically, whichever method you do decide to use as the default, provide a button that will easily satisfy the other method by either clearing or filling the form.

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