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Curbing the Cart Abandonment Conundrum

Steve Susina • January 23, 2014

 

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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/schizoform/

According to Listrak’s Shopping Cart Abandonment Index, which calculates the average shopping cart abandonment rate from a sampling of internet retailers, the last 6 months have seen about a 70% rate. Obviously, such a large percentage of loss of potential sales presents a problem for online retailers. In order to solve this issue, retailers must address what is the cause of this rapidly growing key performance indicator and how the growth of cart abandonment can be curbed.

Sarah Griffis, eCommerce Analyst at LYONSCG, has some great insight on this topic. The way customers interact with online storefronts has evolved greatly throughout the past few years.

“US eCommerce sales have grown enormously in such a short amount of time, leading to more customers shopping competitively across multiple sites. Because shoppers are constantly comparing prices, there has been a rise in consumers creating shopping baskets without having the intention to purchase.”

According to Griffis, online retailers are going to need to simplify their approaches to shopping carts. Clarity needs to be inherent at all touch points—from messaging, to design, to customer service. Griffis provided the following “check list” of points e-retailers should address when analyzing high site abandonment rates on a site.

  • Are your customers coming across unexpected costs during checkout?
    • Unexpected costs have frequently been cited as one of the main reasons users abandon at checkout. Make sure shipping policies and other associated costs are clearly publicized from an early stage in the shopping experience. Free shipping offers, even when tied to a spending threshold, are an effective way to deter customers from abandoning their orders. Such propositions should be highly visible to users upon landing on your site.
    • Items that require additional shipping or handling fees, such as furniture or large appliances should be clearly labeled on the product description page.
    • Shopping carts should relay a full summary of costs. Customers are not pleased to see more costs added on at a later step in the purchasing process, especially after they have already taken the time to fill in personal information and answer other queries. A situation like that will only generate animosity and a lost customer.
  • Are users able to test promotion codes in the shopping cart?
    • This ties into the previously mentioned unexpected costs point. Users need to be able to test and visualize their discounts. A non-functioning promotion code entered during the payment step is similar to unexpected costs. As a best practice, code boxes should be clearly presented on the shopping cart page, and visibly offered to users before checkout.
  • Can users edit their selections in cart?
    • If users have already reached the checkout page, but then are automatically redirected to the cart page to edit product configuration, there is a greater chance there will be cart abandonment. That is, customers will rethink their choice to buy something, and may disregard the order altogether. If possible, make attributes such as size and color editable within the cart.
  • Is the flow of the shopping cart clear?
    • When the goal is to have your customers make quick decisions, less is more. We recommend keeping shopping cart flow linear and limiting the number of options to guide users to complete orders. A cart page does not need an excessive number of ‘checkout’ buttons to get the point across. A simple ‘proceed to checkout’ button after order summary and an option for alternative payment (i.e., quick checkout with PayPal) is enough to guide users to the next step.

Simplicity and ease are the keys to successfully converting shopping carts into sales. If the customer meets too many unexpected obstacles, it is very doubtful he or she will follow through with a purchase. Therefore, optimize your customers’ experience by using a clear approach and process, and undoubtedly you will see cart abandonment become less of an issue for your online store.


Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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