Don’t Let Customers Abandon Their Shopping Carts

Posted by Jason Ciment

Monday, 08.03.2009 12:09pm

Imagine you walk into a department store to pick up a gift for a friend’s birthday. You’ve got places to be, so you’re looking for this to be a quick run to the mall. You get to the store, and you easily find two gifts that are perfect for your friend. You’re ready to get out of there, but the line of 20 people in front of you comes between you and your quick exit. While you’re waiting in a seemingly endless line, you decide that you probably don’t need to get your friend two things when one would be just fine, and down goes the first gift. Once you finally reach the cashier, the credit card reader appears to be broken. After four swipes of your card and a hasty panic that you’ve been charged four times, you decide to just give up and leave the store empty-handed. You decide that you’ll just try again tomorrow.

In the world of e-commerce, a scenario like this is all too common. For online businesses, shopping cart abandonment is a serious concern and can often mark the difference between profitability and loss. On a daily basis, customers visit online shopping websites, initiate the checkout process, and leave before actually completing it for any number of reasons; some of these include:

* checkout requires too much personal information

* checkout is too long

* changed mind

* site requires registration before purchase

* site is unstable or unreliable

* high shipping prices

* long delivery times

* checkout process is confusing

Be mindful of these reasons and take another look at your website. Are there any changes that you know that you can make? A good place to start would be taking a look at these four helpful tips:

* Know your abandon rate

o If you have an extremely low abandon rate percentage, it’s not always a good thing. If your abandon rate is any percentage less than 50%, you’ve got a bigger problem. Most likely your customers are having issues with cart adoption, meaning that there aren’t enough customers adding items to their carts. If customers aren’t even adding items to their carts, it can be as much of a problem, if not more, than customers adding to their carts and taking off before checkout.

* Determine when shoppers are abandoning their carts and why

o It’s very important to know when exactly shoppers are leaving their carts. The further they get in the process towards the checkout line, the less likely it is for them to leave. Are they leaving towards the beginning of the process? Maybe they’re getting frustrated waiting for items to be added or pages to load. Does your “Review Your Purchase” page look too much like a confirmation page? Maybe they think they’ve made their purchase too soon. Are they leaving as soon as they hit the payment page? Maybe you need to look into increasing the number of payment options that you offer. You have to find out where your users are getting frustrated, and you can do this with time trials, server calls or restates.

* One page or multi-page checkout?

o Many companies are ditching their old, multi-page checkouts and switching to a checkout that is just one page. Ideally, having both would be the best bet. For guest shoppers and users who aren’t quite computer saavy, the different pages with billing information, payment information, and review and confirmation of the order are great for making the process less overwhelming. For returning customers, a one-page, one step checkout is preferable. It’s important to offer each user the checkout format that they are most likely to complete. You have to think about what’s right for your customers.

* Offer a guest checkout

o If you feature a guest checkout, it’s likely that up to a quarter of your customers will choose it. The main reasons for this have to do with passwords and speed.







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