An overwhelming advantage of e-commerce over traditional brick-and-mortar stores is that consumers can browse and buy merchandise at any time, from any location.
But as easy as it might be for a shopper to add something to their cart, it’s even easier for them to close the browser. This is called cart abandonment, and it happens around 70 percent of the time.
Ten people had a cart with merchandise in it. Three shoppers purchased. What gives, and how can you curb cart abandonment in your e-commerce store?
Keeping shoppers engaged through the purchase screen boils down to simplicity, transparency and intuition.
Be Transparent About Shipping
It’s impossible to curb cart abandonment completely. But if you’re not being upfront about your offering, you’re destined to disappoint yourself and your store’s visitors. The main reason shoppers abandon carts is shipping costs make the purchase total more than they expected.
One way around this is to offer free or inexpensive shipping. Of course, if your plan is to open a furniture store this could be more difficult. In that instance, make sure your shipping prices are visible to shoppers before they get through the checkout process.
Offer Guest Checkout
Think back to the last time you tried to buy something on a website you don’t usually frequent. When you went to check out, were you forced to create an account, or could you continue without hassle? There are definitely benefits to requiring your customers to create an account. Collecting more customer purchase data to customize future experiences and building loyalty are two of the bigger pros. However, what you might gain in loyalty, you’ll surely lose in first-time business, not to mention the potential lifetime value of that customer.
Why? Being an internet user today means having dozens upon dozens of accounts and passwords. The last thing a first-time user wants to do is create an account and confirm it via email, especially if they don’t envision themselves being a regular shopper.
Given how competitive the industry is and shoppers’ preference for deals over brand loyalty, it’s a safe bet to assume most people would be annoyed if they were forced to create an account.
Conduct Heat Map Sessions
Cart abandonment rising without no clear indications of what’s keeping purchases from getting through checkout? Use a heat map tool to see exactly which parts of your pages get the most attention.
Applications like Crazy Egg tracks site users, even if they didn’t click on an actual link. You’ll see which of your page links are used and which are ignored, in addition to how far users typically scroll down pages.
Simplify Your Checkout Screens
Security and thoroughness are prerequisite traits to doing business online, but when the checkout experience reaches unnecessary, severe cart churn ensues. Make the payment experience as simple as possible. Allow shipping and billing information to copy over via a checkbox. Make sure your forms are functioning, and there aren’t any glitches when inputting or accepting customer data. When designing your checkout process, continually gauge whether the information you’re seeking is necessary. Separating nice-to-haves from need-to-haves will avoid annoying customers or coming off to invasively.
The above four strategies will help curb your e-commerce cart abandonment rate. Other prerequisites to positioning your store for success include displaying security badges in a fixed location on every page of your site and saving abandoned carts for users when they return. Beyond that, focusing on the customer is your best bet through delivering a simple, compelling shopping experience.