How to Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment

Think of any store you visited in the last month and consider how that store owner would feel if more than 75% of customers took a shopping cart, pushed it around the store, placing some goods in it and then, when they approach the till to pay for their purchases they suddenly decide that in fact, they are only pushing some goods around and are not going to pay for them.

They leave the cart in the aisle and walk out of the store.

3 out of 4 customers!

This is the very same situation which the majority of ecommerce website owners face – more than three-quarters of their customers abandon the shopping cart before or during the payment process.

Minimizing shopping cart abandonment can dramatically improve your revenues and ecommerce performance, so before we look at what needs to be done, let's look at why people abandon shopping carts in the first place.

Main Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

The principal reasons for shopping cart abandonment are:

-slow payment processing systems;

-no preferred payment option is available;

-“hidden” costs and fees appear in the final order, especially high shipping costs;

-the prevalence of “comparison” shoppers;

-Lack of online customer support.

Action to Take

Addressing shopping cart abandonment is important, no matter how well the system is perceived to work.

The key areas to address are:

Transparency in Pricing and Fees

Always be upfront with costs, especially shipping costs – it pays to display the shipping price with the price of the goods where possible (use a smaller font size to display the cost below the main price tag). Watch out for high shipping charges because these can break the deal with the potential customer, especially those who have come in from a price comparison website which may not provide an all-inclusive price.

You also need to bear in mind what your major competition is doing – Amazon for instance, offer free shipping, so remember you need to compete on total cost and avoid “shocking” your potential buyer.

Ensure the Payment Process is Simple & Fast

Only ask for that information which is relevant to processing the transaction – do not let your marketing desire creep in here with for instance, an offer to take a customer survey before the customer hits the authorize button.

Make sure the payment process is fast – if the customer is waiting for minutes for authorization and confirmation, your site is too slow. It is simple for the customer to hit the back button or worse, navigate to another website to make the purchase.

Offer a Wide Variety of Payment Options

Promote a wide variety of payment mechanisms on your website and be sure to include credit cards, debit cards, e-transfers (eg Paypal) and where these are not available for the customer, offer a mailing service where they can pay by check .

It is extremely frustrating for a customer to get to the payment form only to find you won't accept the credit card they have in their hand now. They are more likely to move off your site to another retailer than go find their wallet to use another card!

Allow Price Comparison on Your Website

Where possible, provide customers with the ability to compare prices from your major competitors on your own website – this will prevent them from navigating away from your site to do the comparison themselves. This will also allow you to control the presentation of pricing information, so you can introduce reasons aside from cost, why the customer should be purchasing from you.

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