You have spent hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars trying to attract the customer to your website – you had it SEO optimized, you ran an ad words campaign, you communicated through direct mail etc. The result – Lo and behold, the paying customer, is on your site and is browsing through the products on offer. Hush! Let’s observe him – there, he has clicked the shopping cart – now his wallet share is almost ours!
The Word is ALMOST.
Statistics show that as many as 50% of the people who reach the shopping cart stage of an online transaction become dropouts and abandon the transaction. That lost sale opportunity makes a serious difference to your bottom-line. It is a situation that you should avoid at all costs.
Attracting customer attention, promoting his interest in your product line, creating desire for your product, is just the beginning – it should end in the customer paying online.
What are the reasons for shopping cart abandonment? Let’s investigate it and find out practical ways to ensure completion of the shopping cart experience. First let us take care of the obvious things – that should be in order. These are almost hygiene factors for an online merchant.
Make sure these are not true for you site:
• Offering products at high prices
• Poor variety
• Poor navigation
• Inability to quickly find what customer seeks
• Long wait for page refresh and display
• Feeling of being in an insecure payment environment
• Inadequate return policy
• High shipping fees
• Additional, hidden charges revealed to the customer at checkout
If your site does not suffer from these lacunae, then investigate other possible reasons for shopping cart abandonment.
Are you serving customers with a sign up page where they have to fill in a lot of details?
That is absolutely the wrong thing to do. When people are in a mood to buy, don’t ask irrelevant questions or present them with long forms to fill. If possible allow your shopping cart process to clock a transaction without making it necessary for the person to sign in. Completing the sale is more important than populating your database.
Is your transaction process multi layered and multi stage?
Reduce the number of steps that a person has to undertake before he completes the purchase. The lower the number of stages, the better it is for the shopper. Once a person is interested in buying, he should quickly be made to part with his money. That is the fundamental rule in online commerce. So analyze your checkout process and reduce or pare down unnecessary stages.
Are you asking a lot of personal questions online?
The devil they say is in the details – are you getting too detail oriented? Are you asking customers for their ZIP code numbers and then asking them to select the country of origin? Analyze your form and eliminate all unnecessary queries. This will help shorten the check out process and speed your click to cash cycle. Is it absolutely mandatory for you to have client birthdays? Do you need to know their titles, middle names etc? Take the minimum required details during the check out process. A shorter process is a sure way to ensure that the customer is not fatigued and prompted to abandon the shopping cart.
Make sure your customer is not lost in the checkout process
Imagine working for hours on a document and then finding that you forgot to save it? There is this feeling of desperate rush when you realize your efforts have come to naught. Customers feel the same way when they have painstakingly filled up your form – only to find that it is lost because they pressed the wrong button. Now that, they have to repeat the process right from the beginning, they might decide to postpone the purchase – result – abandoned shopping cart. Make sure that there is a straight forward process flow and the customer is not led astray during the checkout process. Ensure there are no buttons that lead him astray.
Are you giving customers a sense of security?
Swiping credit cards online is a task that is fraught with risks in the mind of the customer who has read about online frauds. They are unlikely to complete the purchase if they feel something is not right about the environment. Make sure that your branding and logos are prominent on all pages during the transaction. They should feel they are paying you – if customers feel they are lead to a third party environment, they may shy away from revealing their credit card details.
Reassure them about the secure environment you provide by confirming that they are working on a secure server. Use HTTPS and ensure that the check out process notifies the customer of this fact. If your transaction environment is protected by any agency, announce it.
These are all feel good factors that will assuage the customer’s suspiciousness.
If all else fails, then chase the dropouts
Let’s say you have done everything mentioned in this blog, and you still find that customers are dropping out of the shopping cart process. You can rejig your shopping cart to inform you when someone has dropped out during the check out process. It could happen for a variety of reasons – the customer’s computer may have crashed, they might have received an important phone call that distracted them- etc. No problems- send them an e mail reassuring them of the safety and the comfort of the transaction and prompt them back to the check out screen!
Finally, – it is as important to constantly site conversion tactics and actions as it is to add to your product list and make special offers.