Potential customers abandoning items in a cart on an e-commerce site is a serious problem. On average, 69 percent of online shopping carts with items in it are abandoned. While some of this is unavoidable, lowering that abandonment rate needs to be a priority. Tons of possible sales are missed out on because e-commerce sites haven’t properly optimized or taken the steps necessary to retain those sales.

Here are some tactics and improvements you can make to lower your cart abandonment and increase your sales.

Make Buying Easy

People don’t like doing hard things. If there are two options to accomplish something, and one of them is significantly and pointlessly harder, people will go with the path of least resistance.

So, if buying a product on your site is difficult, people might turn to a competitor or another source. The question is, what kinds of barriers do you have to the purchasing process? For example, if a person places items in a cart, but it is removed when they make an account, it’s that kind of frustration that leads to a person leaving.

Look for difficulties that can either make buying harder or just frustrating. This can include requiring far too much information to set up an account, having a long wait period from setting up an account and a confirmation email, or not accepting their currency of choice.

Reduce Surprise Expenses

One of the largest contributors to abandoned carts is surprise expenses. A prime example of these are shipping costs or unaccounted-for taxes.

It’s tempting to hide these costs so that the first impression of your product is a low price, but that isn’t worth the shock when the true price is higher than expected — especially if the extra expenses jump it up to become more expensive than your competitors.

Now, shipping costs are hard to not spring on people, especially if a lot of your customers are in different countries. Some possible solutions to this is to either offer shipping at a flat rate for everybody or make it clear on the product page that shipping costs are not included in the current price. Then, if people create their account and include their address, have shipping costs update on product pages they look at. Another potential solution is to include estimated shipping costs, though these can result in confusion if the price is significantly higher than the estimation.

Another surprise expense is when expected discounts aren’t applied to an item. Nobody wants to read the fine print for deals, so if they add an item and the discount isn’t there, many will just leave. Those that don’t bounce away right off the bat will likely reach out to customer support for help, and still leave when they find out they have been misled.

Reduce Surprise Expenses

Creating an Account vs. Just Paying for It

Some people don’t want to go through the hassle of creating an account to buy something. Customers just want to provide their address and payment info and complete the purchase. They don’t to join a newsletter, connect on social media, or receive emails from the company; people just want to buy a product and move on.

Give people the option to skip making an account and just pay for a product. Even if they have to input in much of the same information, providing an option helps prevent people being turned off by the process of account creation.

If you really want to push creating an account, wait until after they fill out the information needed for payment. You can simply add a pop-up saying “Hey, you’ve already done 90 percent of the work to create an account, why not just pick a username and password?”

The Issue of Trust

People are skeptical when it comes to buying stuff online. There are so many scams that asking for any type of financial information instantly raises red flags. People are willing to surrender their credit card info to big corporations, but a smaller e-commerce site could be too much of a risk for some. Especially with identity theft on the rise, people will walk away at a hint of danger.

There are two really effective ways to get customers to trust you with their financial information. The first is to provide social proof from other customers, and the second is to tell customers how you are protecting their info.

Social proof is showing potential customer that other people have done business with you and had a favorable experience. This can come in the form of reviews, how many likes your social media platforms have, testimonials, and more. Taking these interactions and placing them on key pages where people are leaving your site can do a lot to help people view your company as trustworthy.

What are you doing to protect your customer’s financial information? If you are a good e-commerce site, you are using quality security software to stop any kind of attack. Tell your customers what you are using. This can just be a simple statement next to where they input their information, or a logo/badge of the security company you utilize.

Make the Site Work and Look Good

If your site doesn’t work right, people aren’t going to use it. If somebody puts an item in a cart and then a page won’t load during the purchase process, it’s likely they’ll leave. Make sure they work.

It’s also important that your pages are functional and attractive. This includes things like making sure that all pages have a matching branding to decrease confusion, responsive web design, and having a site that looks modern. Nothing could scare away a potential customer like purchase pages that look like they were made in the 90s.

To lower your cart abandonment rate, you need to methodically improve your buying process. When thinking of marketing, a lot of thought and effort goes into how to attract people to a site and get them to “buy”, but not much that goes into the step of putting something into a cart and the payment process. That’s why it’s important to understand how to make buying easy, make your site trustworthy, and be forthcoming with extra costs.  

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