Secure your shopper: Prevent shopping cart abandonment

Hi there all,

For those of you who may not know, bidorbuy has a monthly column in the ComputerActive Magazine. Each month we prepare a piece of writing educating the community about the internet, selling items online, online shopping and general e-commerce information.

I have decided to start posting my articles in our blog for you all to have a look at and hey you never know, it may just be the information you are looking for.

Please feel free to comment on the content and let me know what your thoughts.

Afterall thats the beauty of a blog – sharing opinions, thoughts and ideas, so come on, don’t be shy :”)

October 2007

Secure your shopper: Prevent shopping cart abandonment.

Ever been to a shopping cart site to buy a product you really want but despite the desire to complete your purchase you clicked away annoyed, frustrated or too uncomfortable to conclude your shopping online?
It has been reported that an average of 59.8% of intended shopping cart purchases are aborted before converted.
What this statistic is really saying is that many shopping cart sites are losing more than half of their potential revenue due to “Shopping Cart Abandonment”.
Yes you heard correctly, shopping carts are being orphaned left right and center and this is resulting in lost revenue and poor conversion rates.

A conversion rate is defined as the percentage of unique visitors who follow the desired purchasing steps of a website and concludes a core transaction. When shoppers register, but abandon their carts before completing the transaction, this is referred to as a micro conversion and essentially means that the user has visited the site, registered with the intention to transact but ultimately aborts their purchase before a targeted macro conversion is made.

So why are shoppers abandoning cart?
• Unreasonable shipping charges.
• Hidden costs that are only disclosed during check out.
• Buyers are using your site to “window shop” or comparison shopping.
• Back ordered stock or stock that is not available for immediate shipment.
• Check out process is too lengthy or complicated.
• Poor disclosure of information such as delivery details, contact numbers and customer support contacts.
• Collecting too much personal information that is not relevant to the purchasing process.

Although these reasons are pretty straight forward these are the leading reasons for shoppers to abandon there online purchases and either shop elsewhere online or make their final purchase offline.

Now that you know what’s chasing your shoppers away, here are some ways in which you can ensure that your shoppers follow your websites conversion funnel all the way to their very last click.

Condense your check out process.
The longer a user has to “click next” during the order process the more frustrated they get. Try to simplify this process and limit the number of pages that shoppers have to wait to load in order for them to make their purchase.
It’s also a wise idea to display the number of pages to follow so that the customer is aware of the length of this process every step of the way.

Register at the right time.
Allow browsers to “window shop” on your site without having to register straight away. The minute someone has to disclose personal information they are immediately put off without even having found what they were looking for. By letting user’s browse your shopping cart site and only have to register upon adding an item to their basket, clients are more likely to follow the registration process once having found something that they wish to purchase.

Be transparent.
The more information online shoppers have the more comfortable they feel.
Try to disclose all required information as well as FAQ’s at the start of the check out process as opposed to in the end. This secures the shopper and eases any doubts they may have right from the start. It is also wise to have a support contact number at the bottom of every page displayed during check out so that should something go wrong during check out a support number is supplied for immediate assistance.
Not only is contact information and frequently asked questions a must, all shopping cart sites should aim to be as transparent as possible. Remember it’s not about tricking your customers into making a purchase by disguising costs and sugar coating stock availability, it’s about providing them with a service and products that make them want to buy from you and no one else.

Give them what they want.
Finding a meeting ground between instant profit satisfaction and profit longevity is a difficult task to do and often we find ways to boost today’s profits but at the expense of tomorrows share. Be good to your customers, be careful not to over charge on shipping fees, have a returns policy in place, offer warranties and don’t bother your customers for unnecessary information. The better online service you provide to your customer the more likely they are to conclude their purchase and what’s more, they will re-visit your site for return purchases.

While channeling traffic to your site and building brand awareness to new customers is a vital task for any E-commerce business, it’s pretty evident that you should also be gearing your focus on optimizing your site to meet the needs of shoppers who are ready to purchase and generate you revenue. Remember to always think like a customer, think how you like to shop online and the sites that are always a pleasure to visit. Consider why you enjoy certain shopping cart sites more so than others, now, go through your own websites check out process and compare the two.
By sticking to these very simple guidelines you could optimize your site to suitably meet the needs of your customers and potentially double your sites sales revenue.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.