75% of On-Line Shopping Carts are Abandoned

PayPal Survey Reveals All

It has often been estimated that around 75% of shopping carts are abandoned before the sale can be closed. It is no wonder then that 'abandoned shopping carts' are considered one of the biggest problems for e-commerce websites.

A recent survey by Pay Pal supplies some of the reasons why this cart abandonment seems to happen.

Higher than expected shipping charges 46 percent
Just wanted to comparison shop 37 percent
Lack of money to spend 36 percent
Wanted to look for a money off coupon 27 percent
Wanted to shop offline 26 percent
Couldn't find a preferred pay option 24 percent
Item was unavailable at the checkout 23 percent
Couldn't find customer support 22 percent
Concern for security of credit card data 21 percent

There are quite a few of these reasons for quitting that you can do nothing about. However, there are a few where you can take corrective action to limit the fall off in the ecommerce sales process.

1. High shipping charges

46% of prospects who leave the shopping process before clicking the Buy Now button, do so because of higher than expected shipping costs.

If you only sell a few products it's far better to include all your costs in a single competitive price so you don't even have to mention shipping charges. For larger ecommerce sites who ship to many different locations it is often better to mention shipping charges earlier in the sales process and not introduce them as virtually the last process before the Buy Now button is clicked. This means your shopping cart software must be flexible enough to accommodate this preferred route to the final sale.

2. Wanted to look for a money off coupon

Give customers an incentive to buy again. Always include money off or special deals coupons with all the packages you despatch. Customers who have just brought something from your website are your best prospects to return and buy even more products.

Also mention any special offers in prominent locations throughout your website to encourage visitors to buy your products.

3. Couldn't find a preferred pay option

24% of those interviewed were put off because they could not find the payment method they preferred. This certainly means that all online businesses should offer a range of payment options including all the different types of credit and debit cards. Pay Pal is another increasingly popular payment method that should be accepted by your ecommerce site.

4. Item was unavailable at checkout

Don’t wait until a customer reaches the checkout before explaining that a required product is not available. This could cause a potential customer to abandon the shopping cart and leave your site.

There are a number of shopping cart software products that give you the capability to add, edit and delete products from your inventory database, some of which are even free.

Make sure that you keep your stock availability clearly displayed against every product you sell.

5. Couldn't find customer support

If you run an ecommerce website you must make it easy for potential customers to find your customer support area. This may be a dedicated FAQ type page, the prominent display of your customer telephone help line or live help of some sort.

There are many other reasons for shopping cart abandonment. And a few of these are now discussed below.

6. Competition Comparisons

One of the major attractions of online shopping is begin able to easily compare several competing website's. There are several comparison website's that widely advertise on TV and can help people get the best value for money.

A lot of your potential customers will abandon their shopping carts midway, when they find that your competition has a far better offer.

7. Second Thoughts

While initially taken in by the product and its cost, at the time of final payment online shoppers can abandon the shopping cart due to second thoughts. Wanting to think over the purchase a little more, these prospects are likely to abandon the shopping cart and maybe come back later for the final purchase.

8. Decide Otherwise

While second thoughts do leave some room for a comeback, there are many potential customers who choose items but give up the idea of buying them completely while going through the sales process. They may decide that the item is not required or is not as attractive as they first thought.

9. Collective Cost of Products

While shopping online people tend to pick up several products and dump them in their shopping carts. When they finally view the total cost of these products, some find them too high and therefore completely abandon the shopping cart contents rather than going through the whole process again.

10. Length of Check Out Process

One survey suggests that 41% buyers abandon shopping carts because they find that the time required for the final check out is too lengthy. Irritated by the time that the check out process is taking, these buyers despite being committed to the deal, simply abandon the shopping cart and move on.

11. Complicated Check Out Process

Confused by complicated check out process buyers could decide to give up buying your product online, rather than try and figure out how the system works.

12. Registration Process

There are several sites who have a pre-requisite to register before the final buying process can be undertaken. This can cause some buyers to abandon the shopping cart rather than register for the site.

Keep Your Customer Happy

Online businesses who fail to satisfy customer needs are finding that customers are leaving their sites, never to return. So what can you do to stem the flow and improve your customer retention?

A few well tested ideas and site improvements can make all the difference. The aim is to boost customer confidence in your site and what you sell.

1. Remember Abandoned Cart Details

Abandoned CartEcommerce website's need to remember the items that customers abandon and make it easy for them to buy when they return to site at a later date. Sweetening the deal with free shipping, coupons and special discounts is also a great way to encourage online shoppers to revisit your site to complete their purchases.

2. Add a ‘save for later’ button

It may be that your customer is busy or is interrupted in the middle of buying. You could substantially increase sales if customers feel they can come back to the site within a reasonable time and carry on with their order.

3. Consider Return and Money-Back Policies

Having a money back return policy shows customers that you stand by your product and increases their confidence in buying from you. It also shows that you care about the satisfaction of your customer. Specify clearly how the customers should handle the process of returning the item, and when and how they can actually expect to get their money back.

4. Maximize Cross-Sell Opportunities

Cross selling is the strategy of pushing new products to current customers based on their past purchases. Cross selling is achieved by including in your confirmation email other items they may like. When the product is dispatched you can again include special product offers and other promotional items to encourage your customer to return to your website and buy some more items.

The essence of any successful cross-selling strategy is recommending the right product at the right time. To do this, you must have information on the purchase history of the customer and product relationships.

5. Quick Page Downloads

Minimize the use of graphics only to those that are essential to enhance the look of your site, and make sure that you compress the file size. Check your HTML to avoid bloated coding. Make sure your site is designed using CSS and XHTML to make it quick loading.

6. Keep Your Site Easy to Navigate

Use simple page design focused on moving customers toward the completion of their goal. Don’t clutter the page with dozens of features and links that most customers don’t want.

7. Make Sure Your Cart Software is Up to Date

If your cart software is more than two or three years old, chances are it’s missing a lot of the features that are standard these days and that shoppers have come to expect. Like any online technology, shopping carts have come a long way and it may be time to update your current software.

8. Examine What Visitors are Searching in Your Site

Your site search can provide you with important information that can improve your conversion rate. Check what visitors are searching for in your site and make sure you have these products in stock.

Also watch out for those searches that do not bring any results - because this means that people are looking for products on your site that you do not carry. If a sizeable number of visitors are looking for the same products, maybe you need to consider stocking these products as well. If you are carrying those products and yet customer searches yield no results, then your search dictionary may not cover the terms used by the visitors. This indicates that customers are using different terminologies for your products that you did not expect, and the word is not included in your search dictionary. The customer is ready to buy - unfortunately, your site search does not anticipate other ways a customer will look for the product. In this instance, you must get your web design company to correct this problem.

9. Communicate Product Offers Clearly

Use clear, concise wording. More importantly, explain clearly the prices and sales terms up front, and not at the very end of the buying process. By putting the total costs including shipping and other charges at the start of the ordering process, the potential customer can decide whether he or she is willing to pay the price for the product. Doing so will minimise the rate of shoppers abandoning your site’s shopping cart.

10. Alert Users That They Are Abandoning Their Shopping Carts

One of the strategies being adopted by some big companies to prevent shopping cart abandonment is by having a popup reminder when a user it about to exit the site without purchasing any of the items placed on their shopping carts. Try offering an additional discount in these pop-up's. The downside, of course, is that many users block pop-up's so the visitor may not see your reminder.

11. Keep in Touch to Stop Your Customers Departing

If a customer abandons their shopping cart find out why with a follow-up call or email. If they are prepared to respond, you can use the opportunity to make changes and possibly reassure or give them the information they need. You may even be able to win back the sale.

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