Even the most successful e-commerce sites suffer from shopping-cart abandonment. Shoppers get distracted, get frustrated, or find the same item cheaper somewhere else, and leave before they make a purchase. Experts estimate that shoppers abandon their carts up to 60 percent of the time.
That is a staggering number, and reducing it even incrementally can mean a big increase in sales. So how can you lower that number and close more sales?
First we need to understand why shopping carts are abandoned so frequently. When you visit a grocery store, do you commonly see several shopping carts left full in the aisles? Of course not. The vast majority of people shopping in grocery stores complete the checkout process. Learn about Choosing a Shopping Cart Program for Your Web Site.
In our grocery store example, it would be far too much trouble to drive to another store to save a few pennies But online shopping is different. Shoppers can instantly compare prices from multiple vendors, and buyers are likely to go with the best price.
Plus, the anonymous nature of the Internet lets shoppers abandon a cart without anyone ever noticing. It is simply too easy to find an item elsewhere, or to look for a better deal.
It is also very difficult to encourage consumers to purchase a product right now. They know it will still be available tomorrow; if not from you, then from your competitor. Unless you are selling an item that is extremely popular and hard to find, most consumers can simply wait for tomorrow, or next week, or until they completely forget about it.
How can you turn your shopping cart abandonment numbers into actual sales? First, make sure your shopping environment is easy to navigate and understand. Many Internet shoppers will leave a store if it is just too difficult to find what they are looking for.
Next, make sure your checkout process is simple and quick. If you have multiple stages to a checkout, you run the risk of irritating your potential customers. Even if you cannot integrate all of your checkout stages into one page, do what you can to make this process as smooth as possible.
Requiring customers to register or log in before purchasing a product can also contribute to shopping cart abandonment. At a local store, they would not be required to fill out a lengthy registration form to buy a gallon of milk. Remove any unnecessary impediments to the purchasing process.
Technical problems, such as bad links or pages that will not load, are also frequent culprits in shopping cart abandonment. Test your checkout pages regularly to make sure that everything is functioning properly. Unless a customer complains, you could go weeks without knowing what was causing your drop-off in sales. Learn more about Payment Transaction Software for Small Businesses.
High-priced shipping and handling can also kill an online sale. Internet shoppers will search for the best deal, and that includes shipping. If your items are competitively priced, and you are trying to make up the difference by charging more for shipping, you can be contributing to your own misfortune.