Getting online shoppers to visit your ecommerce website is only part of the battle. They have to stick around and browse, put items in their shopping cart and then actually check out. Shopping cart abandonment–that is, losing the customer at the final stage –s particularly maddening for ecommerce retailers, but all too common. According to a survey by Bronto and Apparel magazine, a whopping 70 percent of all online shopping carts are abandoned!
If you hope to reduce shopping cart abandonment, you need to know what makes shoppers abandon their carts in the first place. The study found four primary causes of shopping cart abandonment:
- Human indecision is a major cause of abandoned carts. Some people like to window shop online, then save items in their carts to think about or to buy later. Nearly four in 10 survey respondents say they abandon a cart when they’re “just browsing.” You can help turn browsers into buyers, however, by adding a “Save for Later” or “Wish List” option to your online shopping cart. About one-fourth of online shoppers say they’d like anduse a “Wish List” option.
- Technical difficulties keep some shoppers from checking out even when they want to. Twenty-four percent of shoppers report having abandoned a cart due to a website crash, 15 percent because a website timed out and 13 percent because the price was shown in a foreign currency. (If you sell to international customers, make sure you offer either a currency conversion option or, if your international sales are sizeable enough, a version of the site for each country you sell to.)
- Closely related to technical difficulties, user experience is another factor in shopping cart abandonment. One-fourth of those who’ve abandoned a shopping cart saya they gave up because the website navigation was too complicated. Try to minimize the number of clicks shoppers must make to get from one page to another while shopping. About two in 10 say they’ve given up when the process is “taking too long.” This could either refer to a slow-loading site, or to a multi-page checkout process. Either one delivers a poor user experience and should be avoided. Finally, 16 percent say the site didn’t offer suitable delivery options. Be sure to offer a wide range of choices; while in most cases, customers will do anything to get free shipping, those with rush delivery needs are often willing to pay premiums for the service.
- Finally, payment and pricing issues contribute to many abandoned carts. On one side of the coin, 18 percent have abandoned a shopping cart due to excessive payment security checks; on the other, 17 percent have given up due to concerns about payment security. While it’s important to provide secure payment options, make sure that the process for verifying payments is handled quickly. Display security certifications for your site on your home page and on all pages of your checkout process.
While only one-third of shoppers leave their carts after finding a better price elsewhere, more than half (56 percent) have abandoned a shopping cart after being presented with unexpected costs during checkout. Always make your shipping options and prices clear—on the home page if possible, or at least provide an easy-to-find link to them. It’s also useful to offer shipping price and sales tax calculators or estimators that pop up as customers add items to their carts. Basically, your goal is to eliminate surprises.
So how can you get customers back to those abandoned shopping carts? Simple: remind them. Some 85 percent of shoppers find cart reminder emails helpful and 61 percent say they will return to a cart and/or site after receiving one. Make sure your email reminders are mobile-friendly with a short message and actionable link right to the cart. Combine a reminder with a customized offer (which 36 percent of shoppers say they want), such as a percentage off of the item if they buy, and you boost your chances of converting the customer even more.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.