Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jodie Pride who is a Content Creator at Veeqo
Let’s be honest – we’ve all abandoned an online shopping cart at some point, probably when we’ve spent 25 minutes entering countless mundane details about our life and thought: “this is far too much effort, I really don’t want a cat fridge magnet that much after all”.
Shopping cart abandonment is a common occurrence in the e-commerce world – so much so that in 2013 as many as 74% of e-commerce shopping carts were abandoned. It happens when a customer has filled their shopping basket, but left the website before checking out.
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But why? Some of the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment are:
“Are we there yet?”
People are impatient. People are busy. They aren’t likely to spend more than a few minutes filling out forms with personal details, or waiting for pages to load. If your checkout process is lengthy and cumbersome, you risk the chance of losing customers.
Confusing your customers is going to frustrate them, and frustrated customers are unlikely to commit to a purchase. If your checkout process is unclear, people aren’t going to go out of their way to work it out, they’ll most likely buy from somewhere less confusing.
If your site looks a bit dated or you ask for too much information, your customers are going to be cautious and wary of you. You could risk losing their trust if you arouse this kind of suspicion – people don’t like giving their personal details out, especially to places that don’t seem legitimate.
“Just looking, thanks”
Online shopping can work the same way as shopping in the “real world” – people can still browse, window shop and put things in their basket that they’re still unsure about buying. Sometimes they might see a better offer or an alternative product and ditch your website for greener pastures.
So what can you do to reduce shopping cart abandonment? Here are a couple of things you can do to improve the checkout process.
1. Streamline the process
Keep the number of steps required to check out as low as possible. The more steps required to complete the checkout process, the more annoyed your customers will be, increasing the likelihood of them abandoning their carts. If the checkout process is short and sweet, customers are far more likely to complete the transaction and leave with a positive impression (hopefully to return). Keep it to just a few steps and only ask for the most important information.
2. Don’t hide your costs
Don’t be sneaky with your fees – if your customers are met with unexpected shipping fees, handling fees or transaction fees, you might frighten them off. Keep hidden fees and restrictions out of the way, or simply disclose them before you ask the customer for the payment information. Even an estimated shipping fee is better than springing the cost on them near the end of the transaction. You could think about adding a shipping cost or sales tax calculator to the shopping cart, so customers know what to expect.
3. Offer more than one payment method
Don’t limit your customers to one payment type, and if you can handle more than one type of payment then make it known: some customers prefer to pay by card, some prefer to use a service like PayPal or Google Wallet – if you don’t offer these services, think about implementing them because according to a survey performed by YouGov – 40% of online customers felt more comfortable purchasing from an online shop with multiple payment methods available.
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4. Offer an incentive
If you offer discounts, free gifts or any other incentives (e.g. free shipping over a certain amount) during the sales process, you’re 27% more likely to make them commit to the purchase. Better yet, if you do go for “free shipping over £X!” then customers will be more inclined to buy more items in order to qualify for the free shipping.
5. Offer Guest Login
If you eliminate the need to sign up and register an account, customers are 45% more likely to make a purchase. This might sound like a bad idea because it’s great to acquire long-term customers with whom you can build lasting relationships, but some customers simply don’t want that – at least not yet.
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So by offering guest login, you’re not pushing away those customers who just don’t want to sign up. And who knows, they might be so satisfied with your speedy service that they’ll return anyway.
Optimising your checkout process isn’t hard or time consuming, it just takes a little thought – and some A/B testing wouldn’t go amiss either!
About the author
Jodie Pride is a Content Creator at Veeqo.com, an inventory and order management software for ecommerce retailers.