Shopping Cart Abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment is a problem that has been around for years, but it is only recently that people are starting to take notice. Retailers are losing billions of dollars each year due to shopping cart abandonment rates estimated at 15% to 70%. This means that the average American grocery store loses $10 million in sales annually.
Recent research indicates that the average e-commerce site is losing near 75 per cent of its shoppers during the shopping cart phase of a transaction. While that statistic is probably influenced upward by a few terrible websites, the fact remains that most sites are losing huge numbers of customers by not focusing on their shopping cart.
Shopping cart abandonment can be very difficult to overcome. In fact, if you are having trouble overcoming the rate of abandonment for your carts on your online store, you may have a larger problem. There are a number of reasons why someone would abandon a shopping cart. It could be a technical issue on their end or an issue with your store.
Fortunately, by taking a few relatively minor steps, you can vastly decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate.
Fewer Steps are Better
This mantra is as old as e-commerce itself. You will assuredly see some attrition by forcing your customers to go through multiple pages. You should ask yourself, is all the information I am collecting necessary? Is there another configuration that would reduce the number of steps my customers face?
Surprisingly, however, this is probably the last step you should take. Unless your process is particularly laborious, empirical studies indicate that this will likely affect your attrition minimally for the cost and effort required. So, I am not saying to reduce your checkout steps, but you should prioritize the other actions above this one.
In both e-commerce and brick and mortars, the single biggest inhibitor to conversions is uncertainty. This is certainly easy to imagine when you consider some brick and mortar examples. BestBuy stores have transitioned to a single line for all of their cashiers rather than having customers pick a cashier to line up in front of. Why? The answer is simple, and uncertainty hurts conversion rates.
Humans have an instinctual desire to know what is coming ahead. By including a progress indicator at every step of the checkout process, you will see some remarkable increases in customer retention. Even if you have a 10 step checkout process, letting customers know where they are along the process will ensure a much greater number of completions.
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
Shoppers respond to sensory stimulation. People like to take things off the shelf and inspect them. Because that option isn’t available for e-commerce sites, you need to compensate for this deficiency as best as possible. One way to ensure better conversions is to include pictures in the store and the cart.
Shoppers, especially those new to e-commerce, want to verify and re-verify that they have made the correct choice. Many of these customers are lost if you force them to use their browser’s back buttons to do so. By placing a picture of the item to be purchased within the shopping cart, much of this need is alleviated, meaning lower abandonment for you.
Provide Total Cost Estimates Early
One of the most overlooked customers’ concerns is their distrust of e-commerce sites when it comes to shipping. Maybe it’s the years of telemarketers selling garbage products for close to nothing and then making their profit on the shipping.
Whatever the reason, it is essential to allay fears of hidden costs as soon as possible by providing your users with a total cost estimate earlier rather than later. Is there something to be said for bringing the customer in with a low-ball lead price? Yes. But after the leader, it is essential to let customers know what they are paying as early as possible to give a few moments to acclimate to the increase.