In the movie, The Hunger Games, Haymitch Abernathy says to Katniss Everdeen:
“Some water, a knife, or even some matches can mean the difference between life and death. And those things only come from sponsors. And to get sponsors, you have to make people like you."
If some of your ecommerce visitors are abandoning their carts, you may want to examine why they are not following through. Why is it when they fill their carts in a brick and mortar store, they rarely abandon their carts?
Shopping cart abandonment is a significant problem in online marketing. Wikipedia states that as many as 80% of online shopping carts are abandoned without having made a sale.
The average shopping cart abandonment rate for online retailers varies between 60% and 80%.
So what does one do? How do we close the deal? The usual approach to solving the problem is to look at why people think they abandoned the sale. These reasons are often categorized in empirical studies. For example, the above mentioned Wikipedia article summarizes some of the reasons:
- Your checkout process is complicated and clumsy.
- Buyers see unexpected charges revealed during checkouts like high shipping charges or taxes.
- You don’t offer an option to check out as a guest without signing up.
- Your customer can’t remember their password and leaves to avoid the hassle.
- Your payment offers are limited.
- Your visitors may decide to purchase from a brick and mortar store rather than continue online.
- Some buyers are bored and just placing items in the cart for fun.
- Your shopper may want to wait for your sales price to lower.
- Your shopper has privacy/security concerns
- Your shopper may have non-delivery fear.
- Your product descriptions don’t match images.
To a large extent, these considerations boil down to "don't be annoying." Great idea! Make the web site simple and easy to use. Provide payment options that people trust. Don't insist on keeping too much information. Don't surprise people with excessive additional charges like shipping and handling.
But my personal favorite of what not to do is to avoid endless pop-ups as one navigates the page. For example, when the mouse leaves the page one often gets a request for an email address, like some needy beggar looking for a freebie. One could argue that these distractions do little to improve the shopping experience and provide little encouragement to return at a future time.
A checkout process that is optimized can reduce the abandonment rate to 20%. By using persuasive copywriting and a web design that inspires credibility you can convert those carts to sales.
What is often neglected, however, is the population of people visiting a site that followed through with the purchase. What were their reasons? These kinds of things are a little harder to nail down. It's easy to come up with reasons why one might have said "no," but why did they say "yes?"
Perhaps this boils down to whether or not the shopper liked what they saw. For this, it's hard to overstate the power of the first impression. When meeting another person, it has been suggested that we make up our minds in as little as one-tenth of a second. Why would we assume it is different with a web site? Maybe it isn't different.
Certainly, this argues for a web server that is fast and responsive, but what you show your visitors in that critical first few seconds is a game-changer. You need to try to get them to like the web site. You need to try to get them to like the product. You need to engage their attention, so they want to spend more than a second or two on your site.
Above all, you need to create a positive impression that does more than just create desire; you need to create an impression of an organization that the prospective buyer is likely to trust. Of course, creating desire and trust may be more of an art than a science, but it's things like this that can make the difference on whether they abandon their cart or buy from you.
Please comment below with your thoughts on cart abandonment and how to help buyers complete their purchase.
About the Author: Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics Business Central/NAV to solve real-world business problems. www.bmiusa.com.