Shopping cart abandonment, when online shoppers put items into their carts then leave without completing their purchase, is one of the most frustrating things about being an online retailer. According to Business Insider Intelligence, approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year. Fortunately, it also reports that 63% of that merchandise is recoverable.
The fact that consumers are adding your products to their carts proves that your products are desirable. So, then, when it comes to finishing the purchase, why are so many consumers not pulling the trigger?
Why are Customers Abandoning Their Carts?
According to the Baymard Institute, the average abandonment rate is 78%. It accounts this rate in part to the shopping habits of online consumers; window shopping, saving items for later, exploring gift options, and price comparison. These checkout abandonments are considered largely unavoidable.
Consumer Habit 1 - Distractions
Being easily distracted (online and off) should be expected with your online customers. Those distractions will disrupt the checkout process. This is especially true with the mobile internet usage, as quite literally, anything can be happening at the same time.
Consumer Habit 2 - Impulse Buying
Another habit that causes shoppers to abandon their shopping carts is impulse buying. Many online customers are shopping on impulse. They want what they want now. If navigating your ecommerce site is difficult or convoluted for any reason; shoppers will move on.
Consumer Habit 3 - Price Comparison
Also, like with brick-and-mortar stores, shoppers want to get the best deal possible. So, they will not pull the trigger and complete the purchase on your site until they have shopped around on other sites. Because competition is so fierce online, it is only natural for customers to check out your competition's pricing right next to yours.
Consumer Habit 4 - “Window” Shopping
Remember, customers window shop online just like they do in brick and mortar stores. They browse and pick up what peaks their interest online just the same. This browsing often leads to abandoned shopping carts.
These things are going to happen and will contribute to your shopping cart abandonment rate. They are par for the course. But what about the other reasons? There are a number of reason why so many online shoppers are abandoning their shopping carts.
Problems with the Process
One reason why people abandon their shopping carts is simply due to the personal habits of your customers. Other reasons include website navigation, shipping prices and the checkout process. No matter how great your products are, if the shopper becomes frustrated with using your website, you will lose them. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the common problems that are deterring your potential customers.
Process Problem 1 - Complicated Checkout
Having to complete too many complicated tasks before checkout is frustrating for your customer and they are likely to abandon the process altogether. Unfortunately, if your checkout process isn’t simple and easy, you run a greater risk of losing that customer.
Process Problem 2 - High Shipping Costs
Online customers aren’t just looking for convenience with front-door delivery, they want to save money too. If you tack on a high shipping fee, it increases the cost of their purchase and they will look elsewhere for the deals they want.
Process Problem 3 - No Free Shipping
Piggy-backing off the previous, low shipping costs is great; but free shipping is even better! In order to offer free shipping, you may have to raise the price of your product a bit. But including the shipping cost in the price is better than tacking on an additional shipping fee at checkout.
Process Problem 4 - Asking for Too Much Information
Another aspect to a complicated checkout is requiring customers to register or create an account before they are allowed to make a purchase. It makes sense on the business end of things; you want to know who these shoppers are and capture that customer data for future use in the hopes they become repeat customers. But on the consumer end, it can be a pain. They may not want to commit. They may just want to make their purchase and move on.
Process Problem 5 - Lack of payment options
If you have few payment options for your customers, it will likely reduce the number of customers you ultimately get. You should always have more ways for a customer to pay for items than they will ever need. This can also be carried over into your international sales where currency conversion will play a huge role, as well as payment gateway availability.
Process Problem 6 - Shipping Time
Online shoppers are often impulse buyers too. They expect to get what they ordered quickly. If their packages take too long to ship, they also may decide not to complete their order.
Process Problem 7 - Adding shipping costs after the fact
Transparency is key in gaining a customer’s trust and keeping their business. You don’t want your customers to fill their shopping carts with your products, only for them to abandon them in checkout because your shipping costs are too high.
Remove Barriers to the Checkout Process
Don’t be discouraged with this list of what you may be doing wrong. Shopping cart abandonment is a part of the business. However, there are many things you can do to reduce the number of customers who abandon their carts. Let’s take a look at tips to remove the barriers to customer checkout.
Barrier Tip 1 - Offer Guest Checkout. Not offering a guest checkout option is a leading cause of shopping cart abandonment. Collecting user data is important, however, forcing customers to create an account before purchase can be a huge deterrent. Instead, offer a guest checkout option. Don’t pressure your customers.
Barrier Tip 2 - Improve your mobile checkout process. A big sales killer is poor mobile checkout. When designing your eCommerce site, keep in mind the user experience during checkout. If it takes too long, is too complicated, or requires registration; just like with traditional websites, customers will abandon their carts.
Barrier Tip 3 - Make Saving Carts Easy. Shopping online is not as straightforward as shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. For one, in a brick-and-mortar you can either commit to buying or leave the store without buying a thing. Online consumers want that same benefit. The ability to save their cart to return to it at a later time is one way to give provide that experience.
Barrier Tip 4 - Add a Wish List. Very few e-commerce sites offer a wish list, losing potential sales; but not just with that customers. Shoppers bundle their favourite products in their wish lists. So even if they are slow to purchase, their wish lists gives you insight to what products your customers desire the most. Wish lists also provides an opportunity to create a second chance to capture the sale.
Barrier Tip 5 - Build Trust. Many ecommerce websites have done this; asking customers to fill out forms with personal information like credit card details. When you do this, you are asking customers to trust you with this information. Hesitation is common and understandable. Use your transaction forms as an opportunity to establish trust. One way to do this is to place security or trust logo prominently and close to your transaction form.
Barrier Tip 6 - Make Trust Logos Visible. Piggybacking off of the last point, one great way to instil trust with your customers is to make trust logos visible. For example, the “Norton Secured,” “VeriSign Secured,” and “Google Trusted Store” logos are easily recognizable to most customers and have become commonplace on trusted e-commerce sites. If you don’t believe that these logos will make a difference, you are wrong. According to Shopify, nearly 61% of consumers did not purchase something online because of missing trust logos.
Barrier Tip 7 - Use Progress Indicators. Remove potential worry that purchasing something from your website is more trouble than it is worth from your customers by showing them where they are in the checkout process. Make your progress indicators as simple as possible.
Barrier Tip 8 - Reduce Page Loading Time. You are practically begging your customers to shop elsewhere with pages that are slow to load. With the immediate nature of the Internet, customers are not likely to stick around and wait. Optimize your checkout pages. Some suggestions include limiting the use of ad network trackers, poorly implemented tags, and social plugins to make your page load faster.
Barrier Tip 9 - Offer Multiple Payment Options. You want NOTHING to come between your customers and a seamless shopping experience. You want the shopping experience to be satisfying, rewarding, and ultimately lead to completing their purchase. Having only one payment option or limited choices can be an obstacle that neither you or your customers need. Of course, you want to give your customers the option to pay with their credit or debit cards, but today there are so many other payment options. PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are just three. The bottom line is you want to give your customers what they want.
Barrier Tip 10 - Implement a Generous Return Policy. Make a bold commitment to taking care of your customers. Reduce buyer anxiety with a generous return policy. If you already have one, showcase it on your website. Put it front and center. Do what you can to avoid any potential hesitation to complete a purchase.
Barrier Tip 11 - Combat First-Time Buyer Anxiety. If your customer is not distracted and your website is easy to navigate, then the problem may be just simply brand awareness. It is harder for a customer to commit to make a purchase if they are unfamiliar with your business. Outside of the change that there is a high need for one of the product or services you provide, if customers don’t know who you are, they are more likely to not purchase right away.
Barrier Tip 12 - Offer Immediate Coupons. Offering an immediate coupon code with their first purchase may intrigue your first-time customers and give more incentive to buy.
Establishing trust with your customers is cherry on the sundae for your ecommerce site. Removing or reducing the barriers to completing a purchase will cause your abandonment rates to significantly decrease.
How an EPOS System Can Help
The sole purpose of an EPOS (electronic point of sale) system is to make your business and your website’s user experience better. Simply put, EPOS systems processes sales transactions electronically and are the technology of choice for retailers, large and small. They process sales transactions electronically by itemizing and summarizing sales and accurately receiving and recording payments. But EPOS systems don’t just ring up sales, they give real-time assessment of your inventory and customer information too.
Sales and inventory management are essential to the success of retail businesses. The execution of both, good or bad, will make or break a business. Luckily today, EPOS technology has revolutionized the process.
Why EPOS Systems are Great for Your Business
The digital age poses a challenge for retailers who looks to improve the customer experience while increasing profits due to increased pressure to offer a most holistic experience within a real-time retail model.
Technology has completely changed the way businesses operate. Due to the immediate nature of the Internet, today’s customers expect more out of their shopping experience leaving retailers with the responsibility of figuring out how.
EPOS systems offer solutions in many areas; inventory control, trend forecasting, automation, and ordering and delivery are just a few.
How EPOS Systems Work
An EPOS system is like a cash register that is linked to a computer. Within it, it can process sales, maintain inventory, and in some of the more sophisticated systems, can be linked to the backend databases of supplier distribution warehouses.
Because of its capabilities, implementing an EPOS system can greatly improve the user experience of your ecommerce website. EPOS systems don’t just ring up sales, they collect a massive amount of data on your inventory, customers, and even suppliers. No matter the size of your business or its needs, you can gain many benefits from using EPOS software.
The Functions of EPOS Systems
Basically, the EPOS system reads barcodes on products and charges the appropriate amount. Unlike traditional cash registers, EPOS systems automatically calculate and track changes to product prices while updating inventory at the same time. Some of the features of EPOS systems are:
- The ability to link to your accounting system
- Remote access
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
- Label printing
Improves Customer Service
If prioritizing customer service is a priority--and of course it should be--utilizing EPOS systems will help in the following ways:
- Provides up-to-the-minute data helps to meet customer demand
- Automation ensures stock availability when customers call.
- Analysis helps to ensure accurate stock to meet demand
- Frees up staff time checking on stock quantities, enabling them to better serve customers
- Can also be used to provide customer loyalty rewards
Every good retailer should use an EPOS system. It is an indispensable tool for business, because of how it the businesses can use all the data they will receive.
Remarket to Cart Abandoners
We have established most of the reasons why your customers will abandon their shopping carts; some of which you can do something about, others you can’t. The best way to recapture those missed sales is to implement a remarketing campaign. Remarketing is especially essential for ecommerce retailers. You want to give yourself more than one shot at converting visitors. Understanding the patterns of your customers will help you to make the necessary changes to reduce the overall cart abandonment rates. Here are some simple changes that you can implement to reduce your overall cart abandonment rates, or convert some of those carts that were abandoned.
Change Your Perspective
Try thinking of cart abandonment not as a customer lost forever, but an opportunity to nurture a relationship. It sounds simple, but looking at every abandoned cart as a chance to win over that customer instead of focussing on the loss will go a long way.
Send email reminders
Direct email marketing is one of the oldest and most successful marketing tactics. One way to reach out to your customers who has abandoned their shopping cart is to send out reminder emails. Just be sure that your efforts are not too zealous - send 3 emails tops.
Make editing the cart a snap
With everything a potential customer may do before actually committing, being able to edit the contents of their carts should be super easy and very intuitive. If the customer spends too long looking for that function to add or subtract items from their cart, chances are they will abandon it.
Be clear about shipping costs
Being upfront about shipping costs and delivery times throughout the entire process is a lot better than leaving it to the end. If at all possible you should link a shipping estimator and all shipping information in your FAQ page. You can also opt to make a specific shipping page that will cover all the relevant options.
Because of how consumers do their shopping online, shipping does play a major factor in committing to the purchase. People will usually opt for free shipping whenever possible, doing everything you can to be able to offer that will go further than just offering a discounted price on your products.
Optimize your site
The checkout process should be as smooth and as fast as possible, without having any distractions. Small things can also influence a potential customer from abandoning their cart, like making sure that they can complete the purchase from any device they happen to be using.
The use of desktops and laptops used to make online purchases is rapidly diminishing in favor of being able to do those same actions from a tablet or smartphone. If your site is not mobile friendly, then you have seriously lost the battle on keeping carts from being abandoned.
Take complaints better
It’s no secret that some customers will complain about something concerning your website or shop. These should never be dismissed however. A customer, new or returning; will only complain ardently because they care. Take action when you receive complaints, as they can truly be the turning point in your sales.
By implementing the above tips, you can start seeing small changes in your abandonment rates. It will take time for small changes to make a large impact, however; you will be able to see how those changes affected your customers in the long run.
Keep Your Customers Coming Back!
Once you have a happy customer, you want to keep them. You don’t just want your customers to purchase once; you want them to keep coming back to buy more. Understanding and addressing the reasons for cart abandonment, tips to reduce cart abandonment, and ways to remarket to those who have abandoned their carts will help you retain happy customers.
Shopping cart abandonment is the bane of retailers’ existence. After all, you spent countless time, energy, and money into the design, marketing, and advertising of your eCommerce website. You have valuable products and services to sell. But if you have created a poor user experience--from navigation to overpriced shipping--you are at risk to lose customers. Shipping is one of the biggest deciding factors for every customer, ensure you do everything you can to alleviate this as a pitfall.
Customers are the lifeblood of every business, failing to meet their needs or expectations is not an option. A smart business will use all the tools at their disposal in order to make their customers happy. While not being able to please everyone all the time should be understood, you can implement small changes across a very broad spectrum that will influence how your customers interact with you.
All in all, the happier your customer, the longer you will keep them. Establishing trust, brand awareness, making it easier for your customer to navigate your website, and streamlining the checkout process will reduce the barriers for your customers and your cart abandonment rates will reduce.