As online shopping increases in popularity with each holiday season, it’s important to ensure that your eCommerce site is maximized to increase sales and entice customers to come back for more. A common phenomenon with online shopping is shopping cart abandonment. As the phrase suggests, shoppers will add items to their online shopping cart, but instead of making a purchase, they leave the site altogether for an extended period of time.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily a negative thing for the company. By having a firm understanding of why shoppers abandon their carts and what you can do to either avoid abandonment or invite them to return to the site to finalize their purchase, you can continue to increase sales, especially throughout the holidays.
Uncovering the Psychology Behind Shopping Cart Abandonment
Before fixing the problem, we need to discover why this is an issue in the first place. When customers shop online, they do not feel intimidation from sales associates who take every attempt to make a sale. They also, generally, don’t feel rushed to make a decision, and it’s that rushed feeling that often leads us make impulsive buys. Rather, an online shopping experience leaves plenty of time and opportunity to really think the purchase through before making a final decision to buy. Therefore, shoppers abandon their online carts for a variety of reasons.
Oftentimes, shoppers get to the cart after browsing and find out that the overall price was too expensive for what they anticipated. Additionally, shoppers come to find that there are unexpected costs associated with their potential purchase, causing them to leave the site without buying anything. By the time they leave the site, there is a good chance they have explored other options, finding a better price from a competitor. Most importantly, shoppers are swayed by unsuitable shipping options that affect the overall price of the sale.
Process is Not User Friendly
Customers are much more likely to make a purchase online if the process is extremely easy, providing them with all the information they expect, when they expect it. It is common for shoppers to become frustrated if the navigation is too complicated. Issues that deter customers include a lengthy checkout process, an excessive amount of payment security checks, or concerns pertaining to the security of payment information.
In addition, if the page timed out or the website crashes, the shopper is likely to leave the site without paying for items in their shopping cart.
Sometimes, shoppers don’t have a concrete reason for abandoning their cart. They could get to the check-out point and decide last minute against making a purchase. Customers also pass time with browsing the retailer’s selection (just like window shopping at retail store), placing things in the cart because they like the items, with no real intention of making a purchase that day.
Steps to Reduce the Abandonment of Online Shopping Carts
Eliminate Cost Confusion
As mentioned earlier, shoppers will abandon their carts when they get to checkout and realize that the cost is higher than expected or that there are unexpected costs associated with the purchase. A good way to settle this confusion is to have an area at the side or top of the screen that provides a snapshot of their cart along with their total so far. This way, the customer knows the whole time what their running total is, eliminating surprises at the end.
Offer Free Shipping or Low, Flat-fee Shipping
The biggest reason shoppers abandon their shopping carts is because they don’t want to pay shipping fees. In fact, 69% of shoppers leave the site if they are not offered free shipping. Free shipping is a wonderful incentive to encourage shoppers to buy, but if you can’t swing this deal all the time, try offering it as a promotion during holidays. Also, shoppers become discouraged if they learn that they have to spend between $75 and $100 before they are granted free shipping. A better option would be “Free Shipping with a $25 Purchase” or even a low, flat-rate shipping fee, no matter what the total is. Be sure to acknowledge this deal as soon as a customer lands on your site. Even better, provide the option: “no promo code needed,” and automatically add free shipping or low, flat-rate shipping to their cart.
Effortless Shopping and Checkout
Customers hate complicated navigation when shopping and will leave the site if too much effort is involved. Make their shopping experience easy and enjoyable by simplifying every step of the way. One of the reasons shoppers abandon their cart is because they were just browsing. Offer the option to add their desired items to a wish list so they are able to keep them in one place, especially if they do not intend to make a purchase at that time. Additionally, offer the option to email their wish list to a family member. With the holidays around the corner, this makes everyone’s life a little easier.
Another way to reduce frustration for your customer is to provide images of their items in the shopping cart instead of a description. This will allow them to glance quickly at what they have and continue with their purchase. If shoppers have to click on the descriptions to be reminded of their choice, they are likely to leave altogether. Also, don’t make it impossible to navigate away from the checkout page. Oftentimes shoppers want to continue shopping (which is a good thing!) and should be able to return to your inventory without hassle. Finally, make the actual checkout process a breeze! Provide a bar that shows their position in the checkout process so they know how close they are to completion.
Bring Your Customers Back Post-Abandonment
Let’s face it; even after you have taken all the steps to reduce shopping cart abandonment, customers will still do it. Not to worry, there is still time to encourage them to return to make their purchase. By creating a marketing automation strategy for your eCommerce business, you can set-up automatic touch points for reaching out to visitors depending on they moves they make on your site. Through behavioral-based targeting you can send different messages to customers based on their position in the buying funnel. This can include product information to visitors who are browsing certain product pages or purchase-oriented messages to those who haven taken steps that indicate an interest in buying.
Your automation strategy will also certainly include cart abandonment recovery emails. Set up an email recovery campaign so that customers will be notified within 24 hours to one week later of their abandoned cart. This email should be enticing, making them want to come back. Be sure to include images of the items left behind as a reminder. Additionally, offer special incentives such as a percentage off their purchase and/or free shipping for returning. This holiday season is a great time to redirect your sales campaign to increase sales and encourage shoppers to return to your site, building loyalty.