The ecommerce process -- reducing your shopping cart abandonment with a few simple strategies

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Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest ongoing concerns of ecommerce companies. After all, you don’t want to expend energy and resources to attract visitors to your site only to lose them halfway through the buying process. Unfortunately for owners and managers of online stores, there is actually a higher likelihood that someone will abandon a cart than that they will go through with the purchase. An analysis that averaged statistics from 40 studies found that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.89%.

A report from Business Insider mentions some bad news and good news related to this challenge, noting that it is extremely costly but also represents an opportunity to improve revenue. The analysis specifically looked at retailers, estimating that 63% of the $4 trillion they lose annually to abandonment could potentially be recovered. Plus, cart abandonment usually does not mean the loss of the sale or customer; in fact, three-quarters of those who leave behind their carts report that they are planning to either come back and make the purchase online or visit the same retailer’s local store. That is the good news. The bad news is that shopping cart abandonment is on the rise, in part because of the increase in mcommerce (shopping via mobile device). This report suggests that it may be worse than the above rate, with Barilliance calculating a 74% average abandonment rate in 2013.

What can you do about this issue? Here are a few strategies by ecommerce and conversion thought-leaders:

1.) Improve trust.

With an incredible 31.8 million consumers suffering from credit card fraud in 2014, it is no wonder that people are skeptical about giving their sensitive financial data to websites.

Trust logos are one common feature that is used to increase confidence in the buying process, noted SEMrush. Perhaps these seals are most important in terms of meeting expectations; one analysis found that 3 in 5 shoppers (61%) left a site because they did not see any trust seals.

These logos are typically tied into security products, so you will be getting actual technological improvements along with the ability to show off the seal. To show your customers that their data is safe, get a valid secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate and show its security logo, potentially along with other trust symbols (PayPal Verified, MasterCard SecureCode, TRUSTe, etc.), on your site.

2.) Install exit-intent popups.

Popups are a major cause of annoyance online, so many companies are hesitant to use them. However, exit-intent popups can give a major boost to your conversion, per OptinMonster. This type of popup, which can be implemented on checkout pages or anywhere else on your site, is driven by an algorithm that attempts to detect when a person is about to leave the site. The popup is geared toward keeping them on the site by introducing further information or giving them a special offer.

OptinMonster provides the example of a “Don’t Go” popup that offers 10% off with the coupon code DONTGO and has boxes for the user to enter their name and email for later order completion.

3.) Simplify checkout.

You are likelier to have someone abandon their cart if they experience any confusion along the way. Be careful about checkouts that involve numerous pages and forms, instead favoring express checkout.

Three elements suggested by Small Business Bonfire to make checkout easier for shoppers are the option to keep the address the same for billing and shipping, the use of auto-fill forms, and the implementation of single-click checkout.

4.) Make the cart visible throughout.

According to data from KISSmetrics, nearly a quarter of people (24%) said that they would prefer to save their cart for possible later purchase. Since so many customers are interested in completing a purchase at some point, it helps to keep the cart highly visible so they remember it, said OptinMonster. For instance, you could implement a cart icon in the corner of the page that automatically expands when you hover over it.

5.) Expand ways the customer can pay.

Having more payment options can complicate management and accounting, but it is important to make checkout as user-friendly as possible with multiple payment options, noted Small Business Bonfire. For instance, it can be a good idea to take both credit cards and PayPal.

6.) Incorporate cart abandonment emails.

When someone is abandoning their cart right at the end, that may seem frustrating – but, as SEMrush points out, it is actually positive because you have probably already collected their email address. A notification should be sent out immediately that they left items in their shopping cart, via autoresponder. You actually want that notification to be a series, with a couple more messages sent during the ensuing 24 hours.

7.) Implement guest checkout.

You do not want to drive shoppers away by making it necessary for them to have an account before they can buy. When they have to register prior to purchase, it complicates the process, and some people will leave, noted OptinMonster.

Think about it this way: by requiring an account, you are essentially demanding that the user enter their basic account information, confirm their email address, and then come back to the shopping cart to finalize the purchase. For people in a hurry, these extra steps can feel too inconvenient.

By allowing guest checkout, you get around the need for account registration. It is a better idea to try to turn guest purchasers into accountholders after the fact than it is to eliminate guest checkout entirely.

Strong ecommerce platforms make it simple to enable guest checkout. Users then have to option to create an account once the purchase has been completed.

8.) Don’t forget the human touch.

Autoresponders may make sense for some situations, but you will have greater success if you personally reach out to people right after the cart was abandoned to see if you can be of any assistance, explained SEMrush. The reason they left may be as simple as a payment or coupon code error. If you are able to help the person find the answer they need – to again make checkout simple for them – they may return and complete the transaction.

9.) Make all charges transparent.

People do not want to see the price rise substantially during the checkout process. Adding fees during checkout can prompt someone to leave their cart, noted Small Business Bonfire. Stating the full amount of the product as quickly as possible, with shipping and any other fees included, will let the shopper know exactly how much they will be charged.

10.) Include social proof.

Another thing that is impactful when a person is trying to decide whether to place an order is to show them that they are unlikely to experience buyer’s remorse. By presenting ways that your products have helped other people, social proof allows online shoppers to feel less worried that they will regret the purchase.

Here are a few methods, suggested by SEMrush, for adding social proof to an ecommerce site:

  • Put testimonials on landing pages and top reviews on product pages.
  • Send post-purchase messages to customers asking them to leave you a review.
  • Incorporate software such as Notify to let shoppers know others who are buying from you.

11.) Improve your speed.

One other key reason that people will leave a site is because your site is moving too slowly. While there are many tactics you can take with your site to make it faster, one of the key ones is to ensure your infrastructure is built for speed. At Total Server Solutions, we know what it takes to keep high-volume, high-quality shopping cart sites running strong. See our high-performance ecommerce hosting solutions.