Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Marta Wadsworth who is part of the Marketing Team at Userlike
The checkout is the most crucial moment for any online business, it is the focal point of all the marketing and business efforts. Nonetheless, there are still many websites that neglect their checkout page optimisation.
There are many ways in which you can improve the conversion rate of your checkout page(s). One of them is the provision of support during the checkout process, assisting your visitors before unanswered questions makes them abandon their shopping carts. In this article we take a look at the most prominent reasons for checkout dropouts and what setups of support can help you radically reduce your number of drop-outs.
Face your Dropouts
68%. That’s realistically the average abandonment rate of online shops. That means that, on average, more than 3 out of 5 buyers drop the purchase before finishing the transaction.
According to Salescycle, there is a big difference in abandonment rates between industries. Consumer electronics come first, with an average of 74,10%, followed by Style & Fashion with 71,9% and Health & Beauty with 65,7% (We decided not to consider Food & Drinks as this is a special industry, since they’re not comparable with others for this purpose).
The first step towards improving your own results is to understand exactly what you are dealing with. To measure your own dropouts or abandoned carts rate you can use a tracking platform like Google Analytics, Kissmetrics or Mixpanel.
Main Causes for Shopping Cart Abandonment
The second step to improve your conversion rates is to understand the different causes that are driving the cart abandonment. There are several issues that can be at the root of dropouts. It’s important to distinguish between those that can and cannot be avoided.
To make one thing clear: every website will experience a significant amount of checkout dropouts. Many consumers enter the checkout area as part of their comparison process, or to see what information is asked. Maybe they do not have the money or credit card information at the moment and plan to come back at a later time. These people are included in your dropout rate and cannot be prevented.
The first actionable reason for people to not finish their transactions is due to a lack of information. Whether it is product information, shipping conditions, warranties, or delivery timing, a lack of information usually makes customers suspicious whether you can deliver to their needs.
Within this problem, one type of information - shipping fees - is especially deadly for conversion when it is added in the later stages of the checkout process. When people see their costs grow with every step they take, it’s logical for them to stop moving forward.
The second main reason driving abandonment is the complexity of the checkout process. People like to buy online because of the convenience (followed at a close distance by price), so don’t ruin this experience. The checkout should be an effortless experience, quick and clear.
By overcomplicating the checkout process, for example by asking customers for too much information, companies are pushing impatient clients out of the door and harming their own revenues.
Avoid unnecessary items and stick to what really matters - the payment and collection of data necessary for shipping. If you want more insights from your visitors, collect these at different sections of the website.
Payment Methods are the next great driver for shopping cart abandonment. Whether because there are not enough options offered or because they are not working as expected, payment methods are still a major pushback in conversions.
Support Tools to Fight Back
Live Chat Support
Live chat is an instantaneous support channel that can be integrated into any website’s page. Through live chat your visitors are able to reach out to you at any time about any issue. It gives the advantage of being on-site, therefore users don’t have to change current page or media to contact you.
By integrating into your checkout page you can fight the number 1 cause of checkout dropouts: lack of information. You don’t only provide all the information the user is looking for but also solve any bug or problem that he’s experiencing.
Finally, a live chat tool can also be used to collect feedback, even when your operators are offline through a contact form. Use all the information collected, from user suggestions, visitors complaints or reported issues to constantly optimise your checkout page.
A “Frequently Asked Questions” page is used to display the most common questions (or what they believe are the most common questions) asked by their online clients. Usually FAQs are organised by topic or department and help website visitors find answers without having to contact the company. Most people don’t want to bother reaching out to a company for an answer that may take a very long time to arrive. Adding a FAQ section at the bottom of your checkout process is a smart investment.
Something not every online business has but which is worth taking into consideration is the Knowledge Base section. This includes a set of articles or other type of content produced by your team to illustrate people about your business, the industry, the products, competitors, etc. You can decide best what information is relevant to your target group.
It is important that this information repository is well organised and labeled so that visitors are able to find all the information they are interested in. As with FAQs, companies should strive to constantly optimise and update the information from their knowledge. Apart from being an excellent way to improve your SEO it is also an interesting source of knowledge for your visitors.
There are several other ways to provide support during the checkout. It wouldn’t be fair to overlook the power of emails or a helpdesk section where people ticket their issues for further analysis. However, there is one thing that we were absolutely surprised to find out. It seems that, according to eConsultancy, 69% of companies do not email the clients who decided to abandon their checkout process. Think about ways to reach out and win back those who have abandoned (temporarily or permanently) the purchase.
The one thing you can do to relieve the unpreventable dropouts is by saving the shopping cart contents. If a visitor is comparing between sites or doesn’t check out because he doesn’t have the means to do so at that moment, there is a considerable chance of this visitor returning to finish the purchase. Make that as easy as possible by saving the shopping cart contents.
Providing support during the checkout process allows you to differentiate yourself from competition. It gets you closer to your customers, supporting them when they need you the most. Doing so nurtures customer satisfaction and increases customer loyalty, which culminates in a raise of your average customer lifetime value.
Author: Marta Wadsworth is part of the Marketing Team at Userlike, with a strong passion for e-commerce and Customer Service.