If you shop online, you have probably done this: You go to a site, pick out a product, add it to your cart and then move on without actually making the purchase. In fact, an estimated 65 percent of items added to consumers’ carts are never bought.
Although you cannot guarantee that potential customers buy every product all the time, there are steps you can take to limit shopping cart abandonment.
- Reduce or Eliminate Shipping Charges
Almost half of the shoppers who forsake their shopping carts do so because of shipping costs. Due to membership in programs such as Amazon Prime, many consumers expect that shipping will be free or a flat rate at the very least. One strategy that many smaller e-commerce companies have adopted to compensate for the increased costs is to incorporate shipping charges into the price of their products.
- Get Rid of Hidden Charges
There are few things that annoy online shoppers more than costs that seem to come out of nowhere at checkout, particularly if they are revealed after buyers have entered all of their billing information. To remain totally transparent throughout the transaction process, provide a calculator or estimator within the shopping cart.
- Make it Easy for Customers to Get to Their Shopping Cart
If people are constantly needing to backtrack or move to another page to find their shopping cart, they will soon get annoyed and become far more likely to abandon their purchase. Although it is easier from a web design standpoint to create a separate shopping cart page, it could be a deal breaker.Instead, make a viewable shopping cart that appears whenever your customer adds an item. You can even set up your page to make it viewable as long as the customer is on your site. Doing so helps him or her feel in control of the purchase from start to finish.
- Make Checkout Fast and Simple
No one wants to navigate through endless pages of questions and forms just to make a purchase. If people become frustrated enough with the hoops they are required to jump through to buy a product, they will simply click away.That being said, it is still necessary for you as a business owner to obtain certain data. To that end, offer customers an express checkout option. While they will still need to enter relevant information the first time they buy from you, that data can be stored and easily retrieved with a password the customer chooses for their next buying visit. Because some buyers would rather not provide in-depth information, offer the option of guest checkout.Furthermore, make sure people understand the reason for the questions you ask. For instance, don’t just demand a customer’s phone number without explaining that it will be used only in the event of shipping questions. Finally, provide a progress indicator that lets people know exactly where they are in the checkout process. They will be far less likely to jettison their purchase if they know that they have only one or two more steps to complete.
- Make it Effortless for Shopping Carts to Be Saved
Online shopping is different than going to a brick-and-mortar store and picking out goods. Customers are far more likely to get distracted by countless other priorities that vie for their attention while they are at home or on the road. If they inadvertently click away and lose their shopping cart, they will be far less likely to go through the process of rebuilding it. Keep this from happening by automatically saving their shopping cart, making it easier to recover it and to consummate the purchase hours or days later.
- Give People Choices in How They Pay
Most web based credit card processing systems allow you to be very flexible when it comes to payment options. Give your customers as much leeway as possible in how they make their purchases. Include MasterCard and Visa, but don’t neglect other options such as Discover, American Express and third-party online payment services.The more accommodating you are, the less likely customers are to abandon their shopping cart. Furthermore, you have a chance to attract new patrons who might not find the same payment flexibility among your competitors.
- Convince Customers They Aren’t Missing Out
Another source of buyer squeamishness that can lead to cart abandonment is the fear that by purchasing from you, they will miss out on a better deal elsewhere. Assuage this wariness by encouraging your potential customer to enter their email address to receive a special offer that can be used at checkout. A side benefit from this strategy is that you now have the consumer’s contact information and can use it to promote your business in the future. You can also provide customers with a coupon code via a floating bar that appears on your site.
- Take Steps to Build Trust
Clarity and transparency throughout your site do more than expedite the buying process. They also help to build trust, which is essential if a person is going to actually carry through on the purchase. Make it easy to locate contact information, and include a FAQ section that spells out people’s most pressing questions. Make all of your policies clear, including shipping and returns. Include plenty of legitimate customer testimonials as well as reviews of your products. Sell brands that people know, and display logos such as SSL certification prominently so that customers know that their purchase is protected.Finally, make yourself available for questions and concerns via online chat, telephone and/or email. People want to have assurances that they are not sending their hard-earned money into a bottomless abyss.
Shopping cart abandonment comes with the territory when you have an e-commerce business. However, you can take proactive steps to keep it to a minimum. Once you do, you will vastly increase the likelihood of happy customers who will return to make more purchases in the future.