“Shopping cart abandonment” – or when customers place a virtual item into their online shopping cart, then leave without purchasing it – has become a growing problem for ecommerce websites for the past few years. This has always been an issue for e-retailers; however, it has become more severe in the passing years: in 2009, it was estimated that shopping cart abandonment resulted in $1.2 billion in potential revenue lost, while the number shot up to $9 billion in 2011.
Why do customers abandon their shopping carts?
The most common guess would be that customers are distracted easily. This can often be true – when a customer shops at home on their computer, family, errands, chores, other websites, TV, and many other distractions can cause them to forget their potential purchase. In actuality, however, the number one reason why clients abandon items in shopping carts is because of the unexpected final cost. Most shoppers aren’t calculating exact numbers when they see prices. On top of that, taxes and shipping costs are often not available until the final step of the shopping cart. Prices often add up in a way that changes the customer’s mind.
“Just browsing” is the number two reason why customers don’t complete their purchases. Website issues, the advantages of going to the store to buy the same item, competing prices, security concerns, and the difficulty of the buying process were also listed as common reasons for abandoning the cart.
How to do we counter shopping cart abandonment?
The best way to prevent shopping cart abandonment is to be very clear about all of the details. Ecommerce retailers should never have hidden fees. The need to be trustworthy and transparent is paramount. Posting pictures of products is another way to reduce the risk of shopping online.
Clear, Step-by-Step Process
Many companies reduce the difficulty involved in purchasing online by creating very clear steps to guide customers through the shopping cart. Letting the buyer know their progress through the steps eliminates much frustration. Companies should also never force potential customers to register with their website or create an account. Give them the option of buying the product as a guest. Just make sure the process is as easy as it can possibly be, with lots of explanations along the way.
For security concerns, try using trust seals. A company’s website should be designed in such a way as to look as professional, safe, and legitimate as possible.
Conversion experts frequently recommend using emails as a method of bringing customers who have already abandoned their cart back to complete their purchase. Emails can remind customers of a forgotten item. Include a sense of urgency, such as the fact that the product is in demand and supplies are limited, meaning the product won’t be around for them to purchase much longer. Include in the email answers to any questions customers might have, like return policies.
Does your business suffer from shopping cart abandonment? Have you tried any methods to counter it? Make sure you tell us about it in the comments below.
Ellis, Debra. “How to Use Email to Capture Abandoned Carts.” http://socialmediatoday.com/debraellis/1613686/how-use-email-capture-abandoned-carts. (12 August 2013).
Hilario, Leonel. “Essential Tips to Improve E-commerce Shopping Cart Abandonment.” http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/tips-improve-e-commerce-shopping-cart-abandonment/. (12 August 2013).