Out of every ten carts created by shoppers, almost seven will be abandoned, accounting for around $18 billion in lost revenue for online retailers each year.

Digital retail has brought a level of ease and convenience to shoppers not afforded by traditional shopping experiences. However, one of the biggest issues facing online retailers large and small is getting shoppers to follow through and complete an online purchase.

Uncovering the reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Before we try to fix the problem, it is important to understand why customers are abandoning their carts. Customers abandon their carts for a variety of reasons ranging from poor user experience to finding the product cheaper elsewhere. Even if you have the perfect ecommerce site, it is extremely unlikely that you will achieve a zero percent abandonment rate.

Data analytics software is invaluable for understanding the frictions that are stopping your customers from completing their purchases. Analytics platforms that offer Visitor Replay and Segmentation tools in particular, will allow you to delve deeper into your site beyond just statistics and enable you to locate the problems within your sales funnel from the customer’s perspective.

Here are three ways in which online retailers can reduce the common reasons for cart abandonment.

 1. Eliminate unexpected costs

Online retailers need to be transparent with the exact cost of their products at the earliest opportunity. With 58% of customers citing hidden costs as a primary reason for cart abandonment, retailers are missing out on a golden opportunity to recover lost revenue.

In the example below, the ticket price was the only figure quoted before the checkout screen – on three separate pages. It is not that customers are unwilling to pay service fees, but being presented with costs that they weren’t expecting at the checkout screen will likely frustrate and smack of opportunism.

Customers are likely to be more receptive to additional costs if they are signposted at the start, rather than the end of the checkout.

The example below shows the first step in the shopping cart process, before the customer has even selected their preferred item, they can clearly see what the cost will be. It’s a simple fix but one that will improve conversions.

2. Convert the window shoppers

Successful brick and mortar retail is built on customer experience, and online should be no different. Many brands have found it difficult to replicate their in-store experience online, but there are changes retailers can make to improve online experiences and turn browsers into customers.

  • Make your website visual – Large, high quality images across the site, not just on the product pages, give visitors the opportunity to evaluate the product at every stage of their browsing journey and will likely resonate with them if a product and the price grabs their attention.
  • Multi-device support – Your visitors are using an increasing mix of devices to browse and purchase. Yet, many ecommerce sites are still not optimized for mobile devices despite the huge opportunity they afford. It is important to give visitors a consistent user experience regardless of their device choice.
  • Ensure your pricing is competitive – Keep an eye on your competitors’ prices and either match or surpass them. If your customers find the same product cheaper elsewhere, they will buy from that retailer unless you provide added value, such as support or insurance.
  • Retarget those who leave your site – Retargeting technology allows retailers to serve up ads based on what the individual has viewed on their site as they visit other sites. This type of approach helps keep visitors engaged with your brand and is an opportunity for brands to provide timely prompts and even discounts to convert the visit into a sale.

3. Simplify the checkout process

Queuing in stores to buy our groceries or clothes is almost second nature to us, but the patience we afford to brick and mortar outlets fails to translate online. A complex and lengthy online checkout process offers more chances for customers to abandon their purchase.

With some online retailers having as many as five to six steps before the order is even confirmed, visitors are unlikely to complete the journey, unless your site is offering a one-of-a-kind product.

Your checkout process should be as seamless as possible for customers and include:

  • A guest checkout (No need for visitors to register before completing the journey)
  • Not ask for excessive amounts of data (name, address, email address and payment details are the only information you really need to know)
  • Provide thumbnails or a list of the products that they want to buy (keep them focused)
  • Transparent and competitive shipping costs (customers will go elsewhere if your rates are unfair)

Getting your customers through the checkout is the most important phase of the sales funnel and if the process is quick and effortless, they are more likely to convert.

The original post can be found on Decibel Insight’s blog