Abandoning a shopping cart, a problem that bedevils all e-commerce businesses, is something that is almost exclusive to the online world.
It’s a rare day to stand in a department store and see someone reach the cashier, only to suddenly bolt out the door, full cart left behind.
But it happens a lot online. Numbers vary but estimates for the percentage of shoppers who bail during checkout range from around 67% to as high as 80%, depending on the site. That’s a lot of profit left sitting there in virtual carts.
Knowing the reasons behind shopping cart abandonment is the first step in solving the issue. Here are five of the biggest reasons, based on experience and studies on the issue.
Many people reach the final payment screen while shopping online only to discover that the shipping cost is higher than what they expected. Of course, there is no way of knowing what any one customer expects to pay for shipping. However, one solution is to provide transparency early in the process by showing shipping rates before customers reach the payment screen. This also provides an opportunity to offer different shipping rates based on variables such as membership or number of items ordered.
Complicated Checkout Process
Another area of frustration for online shoppers is a long, there-are-too-many-fields-to fill-out experience in the checkout process. Mandating that an account get set up before ordering is another area of annoyance. This is one of the areas that systems like nopCommerce focus on, offering streamlined and easy-to-navigate processes for storefronts, shopping carts and checkout. The platform can minimize the number of fields customers must go through before making a purchase.
Not Enough Payment/Shipping Options
At some point in life, most people make a choice on the method of payment they want to use. They tend to stick with it. If it’s not available, then out the virtual door they go. You want to give them choices. Payment options can include credit cards, debit cards and online payment services. If possible, offer real-time rates from FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service, giving customers choices (and helping to mitigate the first issue on shipping costs).
Shoppers are savvy. Many now go all the way to the payment screen to jot down the final cost so they can compare it to offers from other sites. There is no way to counteract this behavior. That’s just one of the benefits of the web for consumers.
That said, it is possible to mitigate this problem. Making an offer to match any competitor’s price is an oldie but a goodie. Also, offering guarantees on the quality of your product can make people overcome the need to comparison shop. But this one is a tough nut to crack.
Everyone on the planet at this point is aware of hacking, stolen information online, cyber-attacks, etc. It is of utmost importance to make shoppers feel secure during the checkout process. They are like anxious antelope on the open plain. One bad sign and they are off and running, never to return. Security can be offered in many ways, above the basic need for secure connections. Make sure you have plenty of information about key people in the company, phone numbers to contact, social media sites to visit. Let consumers know the people behind the business and how to reach them.
Dealing with abandoned carts is a challenge unlikely to go away anytime soon. But with a strong e-commerce platform and taking a few common-sense approaches, it’s possible to reduce the number to something more manageable. In this area, that’s a goal worth attaining.