“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”Steve Jobs
It can be one of the most disheartening moments in the eCommerce game – when a customer abandons their cart. You’ve done the hard work marketing to the right audience, gaining their trust, proving the value of your product, and now they’ve clicked add to shopping cart. Then, for some reason, they leave before making payment – and they don’t come back. Sound familiar?
What’s so frustrating about this is that you are not getting any return on your investment. All the hours and money spent on marketing, product research, product manufacture, setting up your shipping pipelines and building your ecommerce website have come down to nothing. On the plus side, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.
The stats clearly show that an average of just under 70 percent of online shoppers abandon their cart in the final phase. This is a staggering number of people and the reasons for abandoning carts can vary dramatically – making it hard to work out what you’re doing wrong. We’re here to help!
Why Do Users Abandon Their Carts?
Let’s start by looking at the most common reasons for cart abandonment before we head into the realm of how to change this.
The top 5 reasons that people give are:
- They weren’t ready to buy yet
- Extra costs were added at the checkout
- The buyer needs to create an account before purchasing
- The checkout process was too complicated
- Trust factor concerns with the site in general or the payment options
These might all seem like quite daunting statements with no way around them, but in reality, there is a lot you can do to change these sentiments without overhauling your entire business. It’s about looking at where information is placed on your website, how it is presented and the overall user experience.
Many of the changes you can make by simply keeping the above complaints or statements in mind and going through your online shop with a fine-tooth comb. If you are still seeing a high cart abandonment rate, put together a focus group and ask them for an honest opinion on your website. This will point you in the right direction if all else fails.
So, before you get to the focus group stage, what can you do to ensure that this doesn’t continue to happen?
Focus on the customer experience
All five of the points above from consumers relate to their experience on the ecommerce website. Firstly, it didn’t grab them and make them want to buy right then and there. Take a look at your product pictures and the information given – do they make the reader excited to buy even if they thought they were just browsing?
Any concerns a visitor has about hidden costs for shipping or transaction fees can all be explained on the product page, or at least clearly linked to on the product page. This way, the visitor will know before they add items to their cart what other costs they will or might incur.
You can also address security concerns in an FAQ section, which can be linked to prominently on your product pages. If your ecommerce security does need to be beefed up, there’s no time like the present to make those changes. First things first, make sure your site is secured with an SSL certificate and that you run your payment methods through a well-known payment gateway service.
Finally, take a long look at your checkout process. Is it completely necessary for someone to have an account to purchase? You can recommend it so that it’s simpler for the buyer when they return to the site for another purchase but avoiding making it mandatory may increase sales.
Also take a look at how many steps it takes for someone to complete the checkout process. Are you really asking for more information than is needed? Are there any steps or form fields that you could cut out to save time but still stay secure and confident that you’re covered legally?
Create incentives for customer retention
Dealing with the user experience – especially in relation to those points above – will go a long way towards helping with customer retention. However, there are a few steps that you can take to help prevent shopping cart abandonment. These can either be done immediately as the person tries to exit the website or later on, if you’ve collected their contact details.
The first option is to deploy an exit-intent popup. These can be a simple banner or a chatbot, depending on the route you want to take. Either way, you get a chance to have a message pop up to remind the visitor that they have items in their cart before they click away.
A chatbot is a great option because it gives you a chance to engage with the visitor and ask them why they are leaving. You can program the bot to gather information and ask if the visitor would like to be kept in the loop about upcoming specials from your shop. They may still abandon shopping carts, but you may get valuable information and even a lead to try to sell to again.
The second option is to send out cart recovery emails or a text message to the person who abandoned their cart. This will, of course, require the person to have either created an account or at least completed their contact details in the checkout process. These people are leads you should never let get away without trying to convert them once.
In your message, remind the person what it is that’s in their cart. Then, you can offer an incentive to get them back to the website and complete their purchase. This can be in the form of a discount, a free added extra or a chance to enter a competition. The choice is yours.
Put some thought into conversion rate optimization
If cart abandonment is a big concern for your business, then it is likely that your conversion pathways are not as easy to follow as you may think. It’s unfortunate that the most important part of a conversion in ecommerce is also the most intricate part. However, you can correct this and improve your conversion rates with some optimization techniques.
Firstly, check your analytics to see exactly where drop-offs are occurring. This may be getting to the cart; in which case you should look at making it very obvious how to view your cart and how to get to the checkout. Alternatively, it may be at some point in the checkout process. Again, this means it is time to review your guest checkouts.
Another massive area of concern in conversion rate optimization is that load speed for your website pages. This has to be fast or you will lose a lot of customers. Your conversion rate will start to drop by 7 percent for every second the visitor has to wait for the page to load.
You can speed up your page load time by making sure the images and any media you use are optimized for web and mobile use. The actual coding used to create the page may be too complex, which can also slow down your load speed.
Try a demand generation marketing strategy
This type of marketing strategy is a fully cohesive plan that works from the very beginning of brand awareness right through to customer retention. By starting from the very basics of understanding how your brand identity is perceived by your potential customers, you are setting yourself up for a higher conversion rate on ecommerce site.
The idea is to start with a deep dive into your business and ensure that your brand truly resonates with your target audience. You can use whatever available data you have here to determine where you are going right – and wrong – and a sales app could be a very useful tool for tracking customer behavior, trends and profiles. Every marketing tactic you deploy from this point will then focus on making sure that you have the correct audience in mind and that it truly reflects the brand they love. By doing this, you begin to generate demand for your company and products.
The next step is to ensure that your sales and your marketing sectors line up. The brand needs to be the primary selling point. For sales, this means focusing on client testimonials, case studies and FAQs. It’s the easiest and most effective method to promote your business and generate demand.
eCommerce Growth Ideas
Once you have your website fully optimized for converting visitors into buyers, it’s time to start looking at ways to grow your business. If you’re feeling confident that you have done all that you can to reduce cart abandonment rate, let’s look at what else you can do to increase sales:
- Paid advertising – There are so many options now, from Google Ads to Facebook and Instagram Ads Manager. You can even boost your posts on social platforms like Pinterest and LinkedIn. The key is to find where your customers are and put your adverts there.
- Direct marketing – Email is still one of the strongest forms of marketing tools. What’s more, it’s incredibly simple to do well. Try weekly or monthly newsletters to your customers to show off new stock, promote specials and run competitions.
- Be mobile friendly – At the very least, your website should be responsive to mobile screen sizes. If you can build an app for your online store, that would be first prize. The number of mobile-only users on the internet is growing every day and you need to cater for them.
While shopping cart abandonment will seemingly forever be part of eCommerce using these tips and strategies can help you mitigate it as much as possible. Offering a smooth, safe and simple user experience and utilizing smart marketing tactics are the keys to turning clicks into customers.