Today’s ecommerce consumers are blessed with a seemingly endless array of choices. For you as a business owner, that means that you need to make their shopping experience as smooth and as seamless as possible to prevent them from clicking over to one of your competitors. Learning about the causes of shopping cart abandonment can help to ensure that you are able to successfully guide customers across the finish line of the sale.
When buyers become suspicious about the credibility or reliability of the site they are shopping on, they are likely to bail before completing their purchases. After all, the consequences of data breaches and identity theft can be long-term and extremely damaging to their credit report and stress level.
As an entrepreneur, it is one of your most important missions to provide buyers with a secure way to make their purchases. To that end, take the following steps:
- To ensure that customers do not receive a warning message saying that the connection to your site is not secure, install a valid SSL certificate.
- Prominently display well-respected trust symbols on your site, including Verisign and PayPal Verified.
To monitor your site, make periodic self-checks to mimic the customer experience.
Once they arrive at checkout, buyers tend to get upset if they are confronted with costs they did not anticipate. Often, they respond by simply abandoning the whole process. In situations like this, transparency is the order of the day.
Shipping costs are the biggest sources of buyer disgruntlement. To minimize sticker shock at checkout, prominently display all shipping costs on your homepage. Consider offering a shipping cost calculator to eliminate all guesswork. If you can afford to do so, make free shipping one of your biggest selling points, while making certain to inform customers of this incentive right from the start.
Complex or time consuming.
Regardless of how much time a consumer might spend browsing the products on your site, they want to navigate the purchasing process very quickly and with as few distractions as possible. Requiring them to set up an account can feel like an excessive demand and may lead some of them to click away in disgust.
There is an easy solution. Offer customers the option to buy their items as a guest. The data they provide will be saved for shipping purposes and then deleted from your server. Of course, you can always offer them another opportunity to save their information for order tracking and future purchases.
Problems during ordering.
Many carts are abandoned out of frustration. People may find exactly what they want, place it in their cart, and then encounter some logistical difficulty with the ordering process. Perhaps a coupon did not work or maybe their credit card was not authorized properly by your hosted checkout provider.
If you were to encounter this situation in your physical store, you would immediately do all you could to address the problem. The same should be true on your ecommerce site. Consider making a modest investment in auto responder email software that contacts customers for you automatically, notifying them right away that items have gone unpurchased, and encouraging them to return. Also, use the personal touch to make direct contact, assisting customers with resolving whatever issue has become a barrier to the completed sale.
Overly complex site.
Consumers respond positively to simplicity. If your website is hard to read or confusing, many potential customers will leave their items behind and take their business elsewhere.
As you design your website, do your best to minimize clutter and complications. Do your best to keep the number of clicks a customer is required to make to no more than three:
- Picking a product.
- Adding it to their shopping cart.
- Checking out.
One of the best simplification strategies is to sort your products into categories that are intuitive. This makes it fast and easy for customers to review their selections and choose the best option.
Insufficient product information.
A big disadvantage of ecommerce is that people have no way to come in direct contact with what you are selling. Nevertheless, they must be excited and motivated about the items in which they are interested in ordering to click that all-important “check out” button.
Do everything you can to simulate the in-person product exposure experience. Make the following prominent on your site:
- Multiple product images from all angles taken with high resolution.
- Pictures of real people using your products in their everyday lives.
- Videos and customer testimonials.
In the end, customers want to receive verification that the product they are viewing is worth the money and the risk. Whatever you can do to persuade them will increase your chances of completing the sale.
Limited payment options.
No one wants to navigate a website and choose the items they want only to discover that the site does not allow them to make their purchase using their payment method of choice. These days, most reputable sites do not restrict customers to only one or two ways of paying.
Although it is undeniable that offering more payment choices increases your hassle level as an entrepreneur, giving buyers this flexibility is a no-brainer for most businesses today.
Disruption during checkout.
Like it or not, distractions can often get in the way of a customer’s completion of a purchase. Perhaps without even realizing it, they might click over to another site to address an immediate priority, only realizing later that they had not finished buying the items they wanted on your site.
That is why it is so important to make saving a shopping cart extremely easy. To that end, feature a “save cart” button on your site that enables the shopper to return later. Of course, follow up with an email reminding them about the cool stuff they left in their cart and encouraging them to complete their purchase.
Online shopping enables customers to browse your store at their convenience, while having their purchases delivered directly to their doors. However, many challenges can arise that may cause a shopping cart to be abandoned. Remove as many of these obstacles as you can and the cash should start to flow into your coffers!