Any business that has an e-commerce credit card processing website has experienced the problem of abandoned shopping carts. With this phenomenon, shoppers place one or more items in their virtual shopping cart, but at some point in the checkout process, they abandon it. Companies that track shopping cart abandonment statistics estimate that as many as four out of five shoppers desert their carts without paying. So how can retailers combat this problem?
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Several factors contribute to online shopping cart desertion. Sometimes, shoppers leave the retailer’s website to search for coupon codes. If they don’t find one, they may not come back to the retailer’s site to complete their purchases.
Another reason for left-behind shopping carts is shipping fees. When the retailer fails to show shipping costs early in the transaction, customers may bail from the purchase with sticker shock when they see the final price of their purchases with shipping costs added to the total. Similarly, people who shop for travel services and packages may leave a site because they don’t see taxes, fees, resort fees, and other add-on charges until they’re about to enter their credit card information.
Retailers also see aborted sales when they require shoppers to register to make a purchase. For future marketing and sales follow-up, merchants want potential customers to create an account, share personal information, and become more invested in the experience. However, research shows that as many as one-third of consumers backs out of a sale if they have to register for an account. Either they don’t want to share personal information, or they believe the method is a time-consuming process.
The most important tactic is to remove the requirement that customers register on the site to finish their transactions. Instead, give them the option to complete their purchases as a guest. With this simple change, you can expect to increase the number of people who follow through with their payment.
Provide a simple way to for customers to navigate from the purchase screen back to shopping pages and their cart. If your site isn’t optimized to allow customers to go backward in the process, shoppers may get frustrated.
Since the hunt for coupon codes often drives customers to other sites, consider giving a discount code on the purchase page. With this small financial incentive, you give shoppers a nudge toward completion, while discouraging them from leaving your site. Companies that have a high-risk merchant account can benefit from this strategy. With online-based travel purchases, customers have strong expectations that they’ll get deep discounts.
Some retailers effectively use timers to strengthen their call to action. For example, a travel site may offer a deep discount on a trip, but only if shoppers complete their purchases within 10 minutes of placing items in their cart. A timer on the page is a constant reminder to pay.
Effective communication with shoppers is an important tool to reduce shopping cart abandonment. Strategically place graphical elements throughout your site to showcase quotations from satisfied customers. With testimonials on your products, the shopping experience, and the return process, you build trust with shoppers as they move closer toward making a purchase. Also, add prominent graphics that tout your security measures to assure customers that your site is safe. Customers of some high-risk businesses, such as adult content sites, online e-cigarette retailers, and pharmaceutical companies, are sure to appreciate knowing that their transactions are safe, secure, and private.
One important point to communicate to customers is their current stage in the buying process. By placing a status bar to show customers how close they are to completing their purchases, you increase the chances that they’ll commit.
Communicating when the stock is low on an item in the shopper’s cart can be a powerful call to action. When you offer this information, you put some pressure on customers to complete the transaction, so they don’t miss out on getting the item.
With better communication, the removal of barriers, and the right encouragement, you can mitigate the factors that contribute to shopping cart abandonment. For a business with a high-risk merchant account, taking proactive measures to move shoppers to complete their transactions is doubly important. With the nature of some products that high-risk merchants sell, such as adult content, expensive travel packages, and pharmaceuticals, consumers may be more prone to back out of a transaction.