Six Ways to Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

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As many as 75% of online shoppers fail to complete the purchase and abandon the shopping cart.  Imagine three-quarters of shoppers in Wal-Mart pushing their trolleys around the store and leaving them at the checkout – Wal-Mart would be upset and so should you.

Before we look at what can be done to tackle the problem, we need to look at why shopping cart abandonment happens.

The main reasons for abandoning the shopping cart are:

  • High shipping and handling charges or “hidden” fees;
  • A slow or exhaustive payment processing system;
  • Lack of preferred payment option;
  • Concerns over transaction security and safeguarding personal information;
  • The visitor is searching for comparison prices;
  • The shopper wants to find a coupon to get a discount;
  • The shopper is looking to buy offline; and
  • The shopper can’t find customer support to assist in the purchase.

These are the main causes of shopping cart abandonment, so let’s look at what can be done to stop three-quarters of your potential buyers surfing off your site.

Don’t Nickel & Dime Your Buyers – Be Upfront with Costs and Pricing

A recent survey found that 46% of shoppers abandoned the shopping cart because the shipping charges were too high.  If you’re competing for business it makes no sense to inflate shipping costs in order to make some extra profit; it is better to charge a realistic price and deflate the shipping costs especially when big players, such as Amazon, are offering free shipping.

Ensure the price is clearly marked alongside the “Buy It” button so only visitors who are prepared to pay that price are clicking through to the order and payment section.  If you are charging for shipping and handling, state that fact upfront with the price so it does not come as a surprise.

Hidden fees, such as “handling” charges, are also a big reason why the transaction fails.  Make the entire purchasing process transparent so there are no surprises for the customer when they come to hit the authorize button.

Streamline the Payment and Ordering Process

If all you need to complete a transaction is name, delivery address and credit card authorization, why do you need to ask for date of birth?

Only ask for information which is directly relevant to delivering the products and receiving payment.  Your marketing people may want more customer information for their purposes, but the point is to complete the sale.

Also test your site to see how fast it operates in different browsers, and ensure the process is smooth and speedy.

Provide Comprehensive Payment Options and Be Upfront About Them

A buyer loves the product and trusts you, so they are completing the order information and now they want to pay you – except you don’t offer their preferred payment option so they leave!

Offer as many payment options as you can and make sure they are clearly promoted on the site including any landing pages and the home page.  This ensures the buyer knows from the beginning what payment options you take and they will need to have to complete the deal.

Comprehensively Promote Your Transaction Security Throughout the Site

It goes without saying that you are using the latest security technology to protect your customers and your business, but then you need to ensure your customers see this.  Your visitors must see you are a safe website to do business with online and can be trusted with personal and financial information.

Instilling a sense of security in potential customers is a powerful emotional driver which will urge customers on to complete the sale, even if a competitor is offering a better price!

Using online security accreditations or a seal of approval from established and respected security companies such as VeriSign, Entrust, RSA or SafeNet, will help increase customer confidence in your transaction security and improve your site’s credibility.  Make sure the logos or seals of approval which come with using these security measures are very clearly displayed across the pages of your website along with your payment options at every opportunity.

Provide Price Comparisons

To avoid shoppers taking your price and then visiting a competitor site to compare the price with, enable customers to perform price comparisons direct from your website.  This will provide you with the opportunity to influence the customer’s thinking by showing them why your product and service are better than the competition.

Provide Second Chance Follow Up

Many shoppers abandon the cart only to return at a later date – they are not abandoning the process as exercising caution, or are simply not in a position to buy at that time, because for instance, they are waiting for payday.

By establishing an auto-transponder using a captured email address, you can send a follow up as a reminder, or provide an incentive to purchase within a strictly set deadline by offering a discount or coupon to use. For optimal results, implement an abandoned cart recovery script so the customer is able to return to the point where they left off.  This avoids the need to input the same information all over again.