Imagine that you’re doing your weekly grocery shopping and filling up your cart with all the items on your list. Then you get a text from a friend telling you that a competing grocery store is selling the same items at 25% cheaper than where you’re currently shopping. You decide that you’d rather save money (who wouldn’t?) and leave your full grocery cart right in the middle of the aisle, just like that.
In the real world, this would seem strange as it is something you don’t see very often. But in the online world, it happens all the time. In fact, if it happened as much in the real world as it does online, you wouldn’t be able to navigate your own grocery cart around a store due to the millions of abandoned carts surrounding you.
There are many reasons why we do not conduct ourselves the same way in real life as we do online. For instance, it’s just rude to leave a full shopping cart in the middle of an aisle; someone will have to take the time to put all of the items back. This is not a problem in the online world as the shopping carts and the items in it are virtual, for the most part. Also, it’s not as convenient to visit several stores, trying to find the best deal. Online, stores are only a finger tap away from each other. In other words, it’s just easier to abandon your shopping cart without any shame or repercussions.
But why are there so many abandoned shopping carts? According to Goecart, the top three reasons for abandoning shopping carts are:
- Comparison shopping (30.1%)
- Price too high (27.3%)
- Not enough time to complete the purchase (27.3%)
Other reasons include items that are out-of-stock, technical issues, payment issues (credit card not accepted, insufficient funds) and the buying process being too complicated and time-consuming.
If this is a problem your business experiences on a regular basis, there are several improvements that you can make to your website and checkout page to increase the possibility that your customers will see their purchase through to completion:
- Item thumbnails. This will help customers see if they have chosen and are checking out with the correct item. 3.5% of customers abandon their shopping carts because the item was not what they originally wanted.
- Strategically placed calls-to-action. Give customers a clear option to checkout at any point while shopping. It should be bold and clearly visible; customers should not have to spend any time looking for the checkout button.
- Options to back-link. Give your customers the option of resuming their shopping if they are not ready to complete the purchase. This might even encourage them to spend more, especially if you cross-sell items related to those in their shopping cart.
- “Save Shopping Cart” option. If customers change their mind about their purchases, they do not need to completely abandon their shopping cart; they can save it for later when they have the time to make the purchase. You can send them reminder emails to prompt them to complete their order.
- Progress indicator. This lets customers know how far into the payment process they are. Number the steps, and keep the number of steps as low as possible.
- Multiple payment options. The more, the better. Options can include credit card, debit card and e-wallet payments.
- Security. Customers want to know that their sensitive personal information is protected. Make sure that third party logos are clearly visible on your website.
Aside from the changes you can make to your website and checkout page, there are a few policy changes you can make to keep your customers on track with their purchases:
- No hidden fees. If you have to charge a fee, be transparent about it. Some customers will feel deceived, and hence ditch the cart and go somewhere else.
- Free shipping. Customers love getting something for free, especially shipping. If you cannot offer free shipping across the board, then consider offering free shipping for purchases over a certain amount.
- Price matching. If physical stores can do this, you can too. If a customer can find the same item you offer somewhere else for a cheaper price, match it so that you, not your competition, get the sale.
Although shopping cart abandonment may never completely go away, it does not have to be such a drain for your company’s profits. With a few intelligent improvements to your website and checkout page, you could start cheering these shopping carts to the finish line rather than see them dumped by the side of the road ̶ sad, alone and full of unpurchased products.