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How to Reduce the Number of Abandoned Shopping Carts

There are a lot of reasons why customers abandon shopping carts. Customer Experience Management, a research firm, evaluated 719 customers and here are 10 reasons they cite for shopping cart abandonment:1

  • High shipping prices (72%)
  • Comparison shopping or browsing (61%)
  • Changed mind (56%)
  • Saving items for later purchase (51%)
  • Total cost of items is too high (43%)
  • Checkout process is too long (41%)
  • Checkout requires too much personal information (35%)
  • Site requires registration before purchase (34%)
  • Site is unstable or unreliable (31%)
  • Checkout process is confusing (27%)  

Here are some tips for addressing  the above issues (and then some) that aren’t as straightforward as “Hey, if your checkout process is too long, shorten it,” or “For goodness sake, if your site is unstable – fix it!” 

1. Shipping Charge Drop Off

On the buying funnel for many sites, the customer doesn’t get to see the shipping charges until they’re already well into the shopping cart process. This means that people will abandon their cart when they see the rate and think it’s too high.

The Fix: Provide a way for customers to get a shipping estimate upfront in the process. Also, test some offers to see what works. For instance, offer free delivery if the customer orders a certain amount (like Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping). This will encourage your customer to buy more.

2. Price Shopping Drop Off

Today’s consumers are pretty price savvy and can research prices from multiple stores with just one click. This means there will be a large lag time from first point of shopping cart entry, to actual buy time. Once that customer looks at other sites and compares deals they’ll either be back, or not.

The Fix: Beyond emphasizing the value you bring to the table beyond great prices, your hands are a little tied on this one. But do realize that if you’re seeing a pattern of customers returning to their carts within a few days there’s a reasonable chance they were price shopping. Consider letting them have their space to do this without bombarding them with abandoned cart emails. This means wait a period of time (say 24 hours) before you reach out to them.

3. Don’t Ask for Too Much Too Soon

Like on any other first date you don’t want to get too personal too quickly. People have security issues when ordering online so you need the entire buying process to alleviate that concern.

The Fix: Ask for only the information you need when you need it. You don’t need their address, for example, just so have them get the process rolling. The further into the buying process you can get your customer before asking for critical information the better.

4. Registration
We know it’s nice to get customers to register in order to help keep you from being burned as well as giving you a potential reservoir of people for future endeavors. But a lot of people simply do not want to register for anything or have you retain any of their information. 

The Fix: Offer a guest checkout option. This lets  people buy from you without feeling as if they have to join the club first.  

5. Gone Coupon Hunting

If you offer a place for a coupon code people are inclined to go look for one if they don’t already have one.

The Fix: Wait until customers are further down the shopping funnel and so more invested, before giving a coupon box if you’re going to have one.

6. What Happened to Customer Support?

Chances are good that you have a solid customer support program. But sometimes the customer can’t see those options at the right points in the process.

The Fix: Test what options you show where in the buying process. And word to the wise, if you offer live chat support that is often offline that does not bode well for the customer’s experience.

7. Payment Option Choices

It’s possible you are not offering the preferred form of payment your customer desires. And even if you do offer it, if they don’t see that option at critical times you might lose them.

  • The Fix: Display your payment options such as PayPal and BillMeLater at critical points in the process and test where they work best for you.
    And don’t forget that all along the website experience way your customers need to make sure they see trust symbols such as the McAfee security certificate, secure shopping, and BBB logo. Also, a well placed video or two that helps answer questions can be a great method for spurring customers to the buying finish line. 

Resources

  1. The art of the cart: Why people abandon shopping carts
  2. Keep Them In the Cart this Christmas

Show them what You’ve Got

Video can be very effective for giving customers the final push they need to complete their purchase online. Place the video at key decision points and the video itself should answer potential questions

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