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Your Customers Shopping Cart Experience

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Why do customers abandon their shopping carts?

In 2010, Forrester Research reported abandonment rates of 55%. More recently SeeWhy and Fireclick stats show abandonment rates are now around 72%! It's therefore important to analyse the shopping experience of your customers from the moment a customer adds a product to the cart through to final purchase in order to determine why carts are abandoned with a view to addressing any issues and increasing conversion rates.

In 2009, Forrester asked nearly 3,000 web buyers why they abandon online purchases. The top 10 reasons can be classified into 4 categories: User Experience, Indecision, Technical Issues and Total Order Cost. Below are some of the reasons for abandonment along with potential solutions.

Personal Information

Problem

Some online stores ask for a great deal of personal information during checkout which can put many buyers off. While a name, postal address (if goods are to be shipped) and email address are essential for completing an online purchase, other information isn't required (if payment information is collected by the payment gateway) or can be made optional.

Requiring customers to register or create an account in order to buy from you can create a roadblock in the online purchasing process that can frustrate or confuse shoppers and lead them to abandon their shopping cart.

Solution

Only ask for the information you absolutely require.

Provide an option to purchase as a guest or create an account allowing the shopper to make the decision about how much time and data they are willing to share.

Bear in mind the pros and cons of enabling customers to register for an account on your site. For shoppers who remember their usernames and passwords, logging in can save them time as they don't have to re-enter their shipping information. For those who don't remember their login information, having to go through the steps of asking for a username reminder or password reset email can be time-consuming and annoying. According to Forrester, 14% of shoppers didn't pay for items because they forgot their usernames and passwords for their accounts.

Too Many Pages

Problem

Having too many pages during checkout can be frustrating for customers. Conversely, attempting to put too many options on the checkout page can result in the shopper becoming overwhelmed and abandoning their cart.

Solution

The ideal scenario is to have as few pages as possible while ensuring the checkout process is easy to follow or to have one checkout page with numbered steps and clearly defined billing, shipping and review sections.

Maintain Focus

Problem

The temptation for many online shop owners is to try to ply their customers with other offers while they are on their site.

Solution

Don't be tempted to distract your customer with offers, calls-to-action, buttons and selection options where they are not needed. It's important to keep your customer progressing toward a sale without becoming overwhelmed with options.

Update Cart Options

Problem

Many shoppers will intentionally add more items to their cart than they intend to buy with the idea of making modifications to their list when they are finished shopping and come to view their cart.

Solution

Provide an option to delete items or change the quantity so that shoppers can remove items they decide not to buy or increase/decrease the quantity of the items in their basket.

Shipping Costs

Problem

Customers don't like surprises (at least not the nasty kind)! No one wants to get to the checkout and discover their basket total has suddenly increased. Customers dislike high shipping costs and will generally go for discounted or free shipping options.

Solution

It's important to clearly communicate shipping costs and show totals or estimated totals early in the checkout process. Don't leave it until the last step to let your customer know how much you are charging them to ship their items. Keep shipping costs to a minimum.

Review Order

Problem

In the same vein as shipping costs shoppers like to be able to review their order before committing to it. If they get to the checkout and can't check what they are committing to buy many shoppers will not have the confidence to finalise their purchase.

Solution

A final review of the order should be provided before the sale is completed to give the shopper confidence that the information is accurate.

Security

Problem

If your site is not secured through SSL then many customers will think twice about shopping with you. In a world where identity theft is ever-present security should be a top priority.

Solution

Ensuring your site is secure through SSL shows your customers you are committed to protecting their personal information. Display your SSL and security badges in a prominent position.

Customer Support

Problem

Many sites do not state their trading address or do not have a customer support telephone number. Shoppers look for contact details as well as return and refund information and if these details are not present they are likely to go elsewhere. In a poll done by ComScore, 41% of customers abandoned their shopping cart because of the return or exchange policy.

Solution

Clear contact and return and refund information is important. In addition providing support options such as live chat or support phone numbers will improve buyer confidence in your site.

In Summary

Avoid the many roadblocks that can mean customers abandon their shopping cart mid way through the process of checking out. Make it as easy as possible for shoppers to buy from you and address any issues quickly

Additional References

  1. MarketingSherpa [Study Data: 1,120 Online Shoppers Say Why They Abandon Ecommerce Site, article]
  2. Get Elastic [Shopping Cart Abandonment Stats, infographic]
  3. Marketing Experts [Shopping Cart Abandonment: 7 simple steps to completing the sale, article]

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