• e-Retailers: Are Your Carts Feeling Abandoned?

    No matter how good your products, or how efficient your website functions, unfortunately online shopping carts will be abandoned.

    Nothing is more frustrating for an e-retailer than to open the day’s website analytics report to see a visitor that took the time to add a few items to their cart and then abruptly left the site before checking out.

    It’s even more frustrating when the value of all abandoned carts are added up for the year and it translates to approximately 50% of total sales.

    We at Eramedia have spoken with several of our e-retail customers to identify why this phenomenon occurs so that we can offer solutions to prevent or recover lost revenue due to abandoned carts.

    Why do shopping carts get abandoned?

    When a visitor abandons their cart they don’t exactly take time to tell the e-retailer why they left so what we’ve done is armed ourselves with some educated speculation and online research to identify the top reasons why potential buyers run for the back door before opening their wallets.

    Whatever the reason we are here to offer solutions on how to give your cart-filled visitors the nudge they need to click the checkout button or to win them back if they’ve left without saying goodbye.

    Window shoppers

    Window shoppers are not only exclusive to the brick & mortar world, they also exist online. The internet makes it easy for online shoppers to compare products and pricing with competing websites and this is probably the biggest reason e-retailers are stuck with abandoned carts.

    Do we just hope they come back or is there something that can be done before they become another bounce statistic?

    Solution 1: Help them remember you

    Don’t forget, window shoppers are qualified prospects and there was a reason that they came upon your website. While they are still on your website let’s give them a little something to remember you by such as offering an incentive for subscribing to your blog or newsletter.

    The incentive could be an entry to a contest, an online coupon, or perhaps a free trial or product sample. Create a large call to action on the shopping cart page that directs the visitor to your blog or newsletter optin form.

    Once they become a subscriber you now have the opportunity to engage with them and maintain contact. When they are ready to buy, they will remember you.

    Solution 2: Retargeting ads

    Have you ever visited an online store and then the next day you go to your favorite news website and behold, there is an ad for that online store from yesterday? Well, it is not a coincidence. During your visit yesterday, the online store saved a cookie on your browser and your favorite news website is probably one of many websites that display retargeting ads.

    A retargeting ad program uses a pay-per-click model and it is fairly easy to set up. It will definitely help get those window shoppers back to your site so they can convert to buyers.

    Not ready to buy

    This type of customer has decided they want your product but they are simply not ready to buy yet.

    They spent time adding one or two products into their shopping cart, selected colors, selected sizes – so why did they not spend a few more minutes and complete the payment process? Top reasons: just no time, need to think about it some more, feeling guilty about spending, don’t have credit card nearby, can’t find coupon code.

    Solution 1: Set up automated cart completion messages

    You can use the same solutions as you did for “window shoppers” or you can take it a step further and send the customer a personal email reminding them that they have unfinished business.

    This method only works if the customer was logged into your website at the time they added items to their cart.

    The email creation and delivery system are totally automated – the content of the email can contain a clever message to help the buyer overcome some of those “not ready to buy” reasons such as by offering a digital coupon, or a blurb about how fast and secure it is to complete their purchase.

    The email message can also include the items that they have in their cart with a large “Buy Now” button that takes them directly to the checkout page displaying the product items, pricing, tax, and shipping amounts.

    A second reminder can go out a few days later that contains a different message such as “Items in your cart are almost sold out. Hurry before it’s too late”.

    Well, now it’s “back to school” time and you have a BOGO going on for certain products. The automated system checks all abandoned carts for qualifying BOGO products and then emails customers with a message like “A product that you left in your cart now qualifies for our BOGO promo! Pick out another item for FREE and checkout now!”.

    Solution 2: Add more detail to products

    It is possible that your customer is hesitating on completing the cart purchase because they cannot make an informed decision regarding the product they are buying. Adding very detailed product information including multiple photos will help with this issue.

    Shipping Costs

    Shipping can sometimes be a show stopper. An e-retailer may have a free shipping promo on orders over $50 but when the visitor’s cart adds up to $49.50 they will just walk away instead of adding another item just to get free shipping.

    Solution 1: Suggest additional products

    Consider adding a product suggestion module to your shopping cart system such as related items, upselling, and cross selling. Depending on what items the customer has added to their cart will determine what product suggestions will be displayed. This can be preset by the e-retailer for all of their products. For example, a customer has added a $45 pair of dress shorts to their cart.The cart will then automatically display, a belt or perhaps a similar but more expensive pair of shorts that they can select.

    Using smart logic for displaying product suggestions will increase your customer’s average cart value and in turn convert more sales for customers wanting to take advantage of free shipping on orders over a certain value.

    Solution 2: Offer express shipping

    Many online buyers will purchase on impulse but if they get to the checkout stage and find that they can’t have their item delivered fast they will abandon the item in their cart and leave your website.

    Offering express shipping options will help convert those impulse buys.

    Solution 3: Make your shipping options clear

    Let your customers know in detail what your shipping options and terms are up front. Make the button to this information fairly prominent throughout your website, especially on the product details pages.

    Abandoned carts can be avoided if your customer is aware of what shipping options they have prior to filling their cart.

    Checkout Process

    In the brick & mortar world the checkout process is done for you but the online world it poses a bit more of a challenge. Not matter how seamless your online checkout process is, you’ll never satisfy everyone.

    In this critical stage many will give up if they encounter any confusion, frustration or run into any technical issues.

    Solution 1: Simplify checkout

    A single page checkout process will make your customers feel more comfortable versus a process that requires clicking through multiple pages. Multipage checkout can be frustrating to a user as they may get frustrated and leave your site – it’s the digital equivalent of waiting in a long line at the checkout counter.

    Solution 2: Don’t use the force!

    Online stores that force users to register and create an account before making a purchase will suffer from high cart abandonment.

    Yes, it is true that registered users are more likely to visit your site again but you may never get the opportunity to have them as a registered user if you do not give them a choice to be a guest visitor first.

    Solution 3: Build trust

    Many online shoppers feel a bit uncomfortable buying on smaller, lesser known websites because of phishing or other fraudulent activities.

    To overcome this, clearly display the security features of your online store as well as your terms & conditions and privacy policy. It is also important to display your phone number and a physical address.

    Solution 4: Provide multiple payment options

    Selecting a payment option is typically the last step in the checkout process. It can be frustrating for a customer filling in all of their info to find that the last step can’t be completed because the website does not accept their credit card type.

    It wouldn’t really be practical for an e-retailer to support every possible credit cart option (Visa Mastercard, Amex, Diners, etc) including secondary payment providers such as Paypal, Cybersource, Google Wallet, or 2Checkout but it would be a good idea to at least disclose your payment options higher up in the process so that there are no surprises for your customers.

    It would also be beneficial to display your payment options in the footer of every page and display it more prominently on the product details pages.

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