Minimizing shopping cart abandonment is the Holy Grail for ecommerce. Less people abandoning = more sales and revenue. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. But what’s causing your users to abandon? And how can you encourage them to hang around and persist with their purchase?
First, it’s important to understand what your abandonment rate is. You need to know where you are in order to understand where you want to end up, and every site in every industry is different. The average shopping cart abandonment rate is around 68%1, so you may well be loosing literally thousands of sales through sometimes simple nuances that cause users to either abandon or switch to a competitor.
There are plenty of reasons why most of your users abandon their shopping carts and we’ve put together four of the major points to look out for:
1. Hidden costs2
Not being up front with the total cost of your items is a sure-fire way to obliterate trust and negatively effect the perception of your company, as well as lose sales. This may have long lasting effects and could mean you lose a customer for life as a result of trying to skim an extra few cheeky dollars.
Ticket companies like Ticket Master and Get Me In do this all the time. You’ll find your ticket, agree with the price, choose your seat, head to the checkout and then you're hit with a booking fee and delivery costs that are sometimes as high as an extra 20% on the ticket price.
People these days don’t trust businesses that aren’t transparent. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Be up front or remove unnecessary costs that don’t add value to your products and serve only to tacitly increase revenue.
If you can, offer free shipping. This will add pleasant value for your customers, helping push them over the conversion line and will be a strong pull for them to return.
Whether you can offer free shipping is entirely dependent on your type of business. Selling books for a dollar and charging an extra dollar for postage isn’t such a big deal. However, a $50 shipping charge for a $500 TV starts to sound off-putting.
73% of online shoppers note free shipping as a critical factor in their purchasing decisions and 93% claim they’re likely to spend more if free shipping is included3. If you’re making more sales and people are spending more, the hit you’ll take on offering free shipping will be recuperated by all those extra sales.
3. No ‘Guest' checkout
If you don’t offer a Guest checkout facility and force every would-be customer to register with your site before making a purchase, you can kiss goodbye to a potential 45% increase in sales2. A forced registration can easily lead to abandonment for those that just want to make a purchase then leave. You may as well redirect 20% of your traffic to a competitor and save yourself from having to pick through your poorly performing web metrics.
It might surprise you to learn that most people don’t care enough about your brand to register before checking out. Some just want to pay and get on with their lives. The best thing you can do is let them pay. Focus on taking the payment. Do this well enough and, if everything else works well (your website’s easy to use, the product is as expected and it arrives on time), they’ll be back.
If it’s customer insight you’re striving for through a forced registration, then include an option to subscribe to updates by email and lure them into registering this way. Play the long game and don’t be desperate.
4. Mobile optimization
People usually act with more urgency on mobiles, so optimizing your ecommerce website for mobile could see an increase in impulse purchases. With 30% of ecommerce web traffic coming from mobile devices4, they're very few excuses for not having an optimized site these days.
Picking and pinching and zooming and aiming are all laborious tasks to do while you’re on a phone or tablet. But, this is exactly what users have to do on desktop sites when they access them on mobiles.
In a world where brands are investing heavily in fingerprint5 and facial6 recognition to unlock your mobile phone, simply to save you the energy expelled from moving your thumb up two inches to type in a pass code, removing any unnecessary friction is imperative when crafting a seamless user journey. If you don’t have a mobile optimized site, it takes a heck of a lot of dedication on behalf of the user to make a purchase. It’s far easier to bail or head to a competitor with a website that’s easier to use.
Finding Your Holy Grail
Realistically, you’ll never have 100% of users pass through the checkout. Plenty of people simply use their shopping basket as a wish list and never intend to check out in the first place. Also, there’ll always be small nuances that cause users to abandon and you’ll always have small tweaks to make here and there. Your work is ever truly done. However, optimize your processes and minimize the above issues and you’ll certainly tempt some of the current defectors into checking out and surely see that abandonment rate reduce.