January 10, 2017, 11:25 AM

5 ways retailers can reduce shopping cart abandonment

There are steps web merchants can take all along the path to purchase that can increase conversion.

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There's no doubt about it: e-commerce is booming. With over $22 trillion spent digitally worldwide in 2016, the sky's the limit for brands looking to sell their products and services online.

Although modern customers certainly aren't afraid to spend, there's a still huge elephant in the room for just about any brand when it comes to cart abandonment. Given that cart abandonment rates hover around 70% for any given industry, it's crucial that e-commerce brands understand why their prospects end up bouncing instead of buying.

Oftentimes cart abandonment is a straightforward security issues for skeptical buyers that simply don't trust your site or brand. Sometimes it's the subtle elements of a site, from structure to sales language, that eventually causes visitors to drop off.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to converting customers upon checkout, there are actionable steps you can take to encourage visitors to go all the way through your funnel rather than skipping out before they spend.

For example, many brands are increasing sales with shopping cart abandonment emails. Sometimes your prospects need that extra push; likewise, brands often use abandonment emails to sweeten their deals to drive sales.

That being said, there are a variety of factors that could be impacting your abandonment rate. Consider the following concerns when it comes to shopping carts and how you can tweak your customers' journey accordingly.

1. Security Snafus

With cybersecurity dominating the modern news cycle, customers are becoming more and more savvy regarding who they decide to purchase from. While it's perhaps easier than ever for potential customers to provide their personal information, brands must break down a few mental barriers before they can realistically make a sale.

So, how are brands making their sites seem more secure to potential customers? Consider any combination of the following:

  • Investing in an SSL certification, which has become the norm for just about any e-commerce site (think: customers have been conditioned to be skeptical of any “unlocked” pages)
  • Meeting PCI compliance requirements: given that we live in an era rampant with credit card fraud, keep in mind that any extra layer of security builds trust with your traffic
  • Using a trusted e-commerce platform: brands have plenty of flexibility through platforms such as WooCommerce, Shopify or Magento, which boast name recognition and more than likely look familiar to your prospects.

Although you may not think of security as a selling point, remember that customers will always prefer a site with proper security measures in place versus one without.

2. Your Traffic Doesn't Trust You

Security and trust go hand in hand.

Just as brands should leverage their security as means of building trust, e-commerce merchants should also use social proof to seal the deal.

For example, using reviews and testimonials throughout your sales pages and checkout breaks down the trust barrier and lets visitors knows you have experience with satisfied customers.

Brands should strive to use snippets of customer feedback as seals of approval. Even the smallest elements of your sales pages can have a big impact on your audience.

3. Hidden Fees

There's perhaps no faster way to turn your customers off than by hitting them with hidden fees. Taxes alone are enough for prospects to think twice about their purchase; however, what about a few extra dollars in shipping, too? What if the coupon code they attempted to input isn't working?

Tacking on extra fees can quickly turn even your warmest prospects ice cold. Be upfront about shipping costs; likewise, double-check your coupon codes before making them public. The more straightforward your checkout process is, the more like you are to make a sale.

4. Suffering From Site Slowdown

Having a slow site can kill your conversion rate, plain and simple.

Given the fact that today's users expect sites to load in a matter of seconds, modern ecommence brands should make site speed a top priority. Not only does lag create trust issues between you and your traffic, but also a security issue if your site fails to take payments due to timeout.

Whether it means taking a minimalist approach with your sales page or cutting back on bulky visuals, don't make the mistake of bogging down your traffic upon checkout. This is especially important in the case of mobile users who likely can't handle hero images or annoying, autoplaying videos.

Remember: sometimes less is more when it comes to your checkout.

5. You Don't Follow Up

As noted earlier, autoresponder emails are ideal for bringing customers back into your funnel in case they've unsuspectingly dropped off.

Don't think of such messages as spam to your audience, but rather an invitation to complete their transaction. Granted they're crafted in a friendly and urgent manner, email autoresponders can bring bounced buyers back to your site.

Bringing It All Together

Never neglect the importance of stepping into your customers' shoes. Think about what you like to see personally from a site before you hand over your payment information and ask yourself if your own store is ticking the same boxes.

E-commerce brands that take the time to build trust and secure their sites will always convert more customers that those who don’t. So, what are you doing to promote a positive customer experience upon checkout?

TK DataSec Consultancy provides advice on e-commerce security.

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