Nine Essential Strategies to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
According to a Forrester Research study between 2009 and 2011, an estimated 70 percent of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts. This should be a wake-up call to ecommerce sites who are not doing enough to reverse this trend. There are many factors contributing to shopping cart abandonment, but you can make some simple adjustments to your website to help increase the number of completed purchases.
Another study by Forrester Research cited high shipping charges as the number one cause of shopping cart abandonment. If you can offer free deliveries (or no shipping fees for purchases above a certain price), make it a major marketing message on every page of your site. Many businesses still show the shipping cost at the end of the order process, which comes as a shock to many shoppers. Show additional costs on the actual product page. If you can't show the exact charge, at least give an estimate.
Similarly, customers need to see the price of your products or services before checkout. With so many price comparison sites online, you have to be transparent to be competitive in today's marketplace. If you don't display prices on the product pages, shoppers will just add products to their cart to find out. This will only increase your shopping cart abandonment rates, and contribute to a frustrating shopping experience for most of your potential customers.
Forcing customers to sign in before checkout will annoy a lot of customers who simply don't want to spend the time registering. Give them the option to checkout as a guest. Some shoppers simply want to buy one product without further commitment. Can you afford to lose that sale? If you want them to create an account to make their shopping experience easier in the future, explain how they will benefit from registration.
Protect your customers with an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate. Without it, you'll lose countless potential customers. Shoppers today are more aware of internet fraud, and need to feel secure before they hand over sensitive personal information when making a purchase. And remember to renew certificates when they expire. Many visitors will check if you have an SSL certificate before even looking at your products.
To make the shopping process as painless as possible, make the checkout process quick and easy. If you ask for too much information, or it takes too long to fill in the forms, people will go elsewhere. Only ask for the necessary information at this stage - you need to close the deal quickly. If you want more information for marketing purposes, you can email the customer later.
If possible, incorporate a persistent shopping cart so that customers can save certain items to purchase at a later date. Let the customers know how long they can keep items saved in their cart. This is a common feature on all major ecommerce sites, as it makes the site more user-friendly, encourages browsing, and promotes loyalty.
Improving company credibility is crucial to reducing shopping cart abandonment. Display your contact information on every page of your site so that prospects know they can contact you quickly if they have any problems. You should also display credibility badges such as TrustE and McAfee Secure next to registration forms and on the checkout page. Customers are more likely to click "Order Now" after seeing a trust badge. Third party logos displayed in similar places (from companies you're affiliated with) will also help visitors trust you more.
You need to think of your entire customer audience when you're trying to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates. For example, don't forget about overseas customers. You can improve purchase rates by presenting a list of countries you ship to. Put the list in a prominent position on the page and you're more likely to engage this segment of your market. You could even include a currency converter.
Of course, you haven't always lost a sale because someone has abandoned their shopping cart. Some people will return to complete a purchase without persuasion. But to encourage visitors to return to your site and complete purchases, send emails to customers reminding them of their remaining shopping cart items.
There are a variety of factors determining whether online shoppers are likely to complete a purchase or abandon their shopping carts. By removing as many causes of abandonment as possible, you can make the shopping experience more user-friendly and straightforward for visitors, which should ultimately result in more sales.