Ecommerce basics: reducing shopping cart abandonment

Ecommerce basics: reducing shopping cart abandonment
18
May

Get your customers through checkout with these simple tips.

How many times have you loaded up your online shopping cart, only to get sticker shocked by outrageous shipping costs? How many times have you thought, ‘Maybe I don’t really need this’ at checkout? There’s a host of reasons why a customer might abandon an ecommerce purchase. We all do it, and your customers will too. With an estimated 70% of online shopping carts abandoned before checkout, it’s critical to understand why customers abandon their online purchases and what your site can do to minimise the chances.

Here are some straightforward steps you can take to make your ecommerce store’s purchasing process as seamless as possible:

Signal to customers that they can trust your site

Giving away credit card information is risky; you don’t want your customers to have any doubt that your site can handle and protect their financial information.

Customers will only buy if you make them feel safe—a study from Oneupweb showed that 76.5% of US consumers believe that a site looking credible and trustworthy is critical in making a purchasing decision.

Trust can be established through different types of “trust signals” on your ecommerce site—images, text and logos that inspire confidence in the consumer. A good trust signal to start with is a descriptive “About Us” page—customers are more likely to trust a company when they feel a personal connection to it, and seeing the faces and personalities that make up your company is a straightforward way to achieve this. Another way to signal trust is by incorporating user testimonials in the main page and product reviews on the product pages. This demonstrates that you are open and transparent, that you care about user feedback and that you are available to resolve any issues.

In addition to incorporating trust signals in the initial phases of the shopping experience, it is critical to build them into the later phases. Offer multiple reliable payment options and utilise logos to advertise those options—PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and other trusted company logos will lend credibility to your site. It is also advisable to verify your site as a “secure site” with “secure checkout options” and a secure logo on your sites address bar. You can obtain a secure checkout by switching the SSL checkout option on from the backend of your website.

Make progress quick and obvious

Who wants to spend the afternoon caught up in a 10-step checkout process? Between the page where the item is selected to the final transaction page, there should be no more than two other pages. Show the user which step they are on in the checkout process by putting a progress bar on the top of the page. Allow them to move easily back and forth without losing the information they’ve input. Additionally, keep an editable summary of purchase in the sidebar of every page to allow the user to modify colour, size or quantity without having to go back. If stock of a selected item is low, display it obviously on the product page so that the user is not taken by surprise during their checkout process. In the case that the user leaves the page during the process, have a function that saves the user’s cart so that they won’t have to begin the process over again should they decide to return.

Make pricing transparent

Studies show that unexpected charges are the number one cause of shopping cart abandonment. Oneupweb found that 95.5% of online shoppers felt clear pricing and shipping information was critical to making a purchase. Forrester found that 44% of ecommerce carts are abandoned because of high shipping costs, 25% of carts are abandoned because the product costs more than expected, and that 22% are abandoned because the shipping costs were listed too late. As we mentioned in the first part of our series, should you decide to offer free shipping, free returns or any other incentive, advertise it loud and clear. But if you don’t, or if there’s any other significant additional charge, make it obvious as soon as the consumer selects the item. Forcing them to go through the whole checkout process before learning the grand total will only generate frustration and resentment.

Recover interrupted purchases

Just because a customer abandoned their cart doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Particularly if you’re taking care to optimise your ecommerce site in the ways we’ve outlined, there’s a chance that your customer may return. Send a follow up email asking if the customer is still interested in the product. The email can suggest other related products and advertise incentives like discount codes. Have a simple and straightforward call to action that will allow the user to click a button to pick up the purchase where they left off. This shows them that you’re paying attention and are willing to do what it takes to facilitate the process.

Online shopping cart abandonment is a major obstacle to ecommerce success. Optimise your online store and keep customers pushing that cart all the way through checkout.

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