Abandoned Shopping Carts: the Achilles Heel of eCommerce

Online sales are taking over. From 2002 to 2011, annual ecommerce spending went from 72 billion to over 256 billion, according to comScore Internet Marketing Research Company. This surge in online consumer activity has brought about millions of virtual stores and some stiff competition amongst retailers. Because of this, online business owners need to make sure they’re doing what they can to attract customers and guide them through to a satisfactory sale completion… and avoid the issue of abandoned shopping carts.

There is so much work that goes into making a successful online business. First, you have to put time and money into building an attractive storefront. Then you work on getting healthy traffic flow and marketing your products in an appealing way. Once these tasks have been completed, nobody wants to have a sale dropped in the final step of checking out! It’s terrible to see potential revenue sitting in an abandoned cart.

How can you avoid this? Well first, let’s look at what causes it.

What can cause shopping cart abandonment?

There are a number of factors that leave a cart abandoned but here are some of the leading reasons.

The cost of shipping is too high.
The shopping cart check-out process is too long or complicated.
The online store doesn’t seem trustworthy.
The customer simply gets distracted or changes their mind.
Consumer decisions are made around these factors and in the end, you’re left with an uncompleted sale and lost revenue. Shopping cart abandonment is a serious problem. Depending on whose study you’re reading, it’s reported that anywhere from 30% to 75% of online sales are dropped with items in the cart, before the sale is complete.

How can we combat cart abandonment?

Snip Shipping Costs: There are several things you can do to cut down on carts being dropped due to shipping costs. Most simply, you could offer an across-the-board lower shipping cost. If shipping costs seem fair and are closer to what the customer would expect to pay if they were shipping the product on their own, the sale is less likely to be dropped. If that isn’t a route you want to take, offer incentives such as free or discounted shipping with orders of more than say… $50. With a multi-store pickup module users can choose where they’d like to pick up their order or using a GEO lookup module, customers can search the closest store to their postal code. Promotions like this help take your customer to sale completion and boost the total amount of a sale. The important thing here is to figure out which shipping model works best for your company. Options include free shipping, store pickup, shipping by weight/price/item or flat rate shipping.

Un-Complicate the Check-out: To avoid confusion or distraction due to a long or complicated check-out, simplify your process! This is an incredibly important step in cart retention. The check-out process should have as few steps as possible and even offer 1-click check-out in certain situations, such as for returning customers. This means your store should not require registration to complete a purchase, should not ask questions that take a lot of time or are too personal, and should take all possible credit cards.
Address Anxiety Over Site Security: Security is a big concern for many consumers and as an ecommerce merchant, it’s your personal responsibility to keep the customer safe and make them feel comfortable giving you their credit card and personal information over the computer. PCI-compliance is the first step to making sure you’re e-store is protected but in such a competitive market, it’s best to go the extra mile and make sure you’re using one of the few shopping carts that go the extra mile with online security and are PA-DSS compliant. Using a tokenization payment module can help make your customers feel safe by keeping your customers on site without the risks associated with storing credit card data. Because everything is secured offsite, merchants can minimize the need for repeat data entry the next time a customer shops at their store. Once you’ve protected your customers, tell them! Let them know you’ve taken care of them with a verification seal on your home page and at the beginning of their check-out process.

Bring Back Distracted Consumers: There’s a chance your customers are simply getting distracted or changing their minds before they complete a sale. To reduce the chance of this happening, think about what may be causing it to happen. Do you have streamlined, user-friendly navigation to the shopping cart? Is the buying and shopping cart easy to edit and understand? If these types of questions check-out and you’re still looking at lost income from abandoned carts, reach out to your potential customer with emails that offer incentives and discounts to pull them back into the buy. Some shopping carts have this type of feature included in their set-up, which makes it an extremely easy and powerful way to stop shopping cart abandonment. Loyalty points are a great incentive for customers, and using a module like Sweet Tooth, your customers will earn points for purchasing products from your site that can be used for future purchases. This builds brand loyalty and repeat business that can make a huge difference to your sales volume.

After managing your site with the above steps, you will see an increase in cart completion and customer retention. Dealing with these factors can help any ecommerce business owner turn ‘window shoppers’ into buyers and bring back customers that have abandoned their cart.

Thanks ZippyCart!


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About Custom Magento Development

Custom Magento Development is the blog of Collins Harper, a Vancouver based development firm completely dedicated to eCommerce development for the Magento platform. It is our extreme focus on Magento development that gives us an uncommon ability to deliver challenging requirements for our clients’ projects. It doesn’t matter if you require a custom module, or a complete eCommerce solution, our highly skilled team will make your project happen. For up-to-date information, upgrades, bug fixes and our newest modules, find us on Facebook and Twitter!

One response to “Abandoned Shopping Carts: the Achilles Heel of eCommerce”

  1. Jennifer Hurshell says :

    Love your list! At Vendaria we also spend a great deal of time developing emerchandising solutions for our online retailer clients to ensure that they offer INFORMATIVE shopping experiences.

    I would suggest that making online customers wade through hundreds and hundreds of SKUs (rife with tiny thumbnail images that include all of 3 bullets of jargon heavy “product descriptions”) is another cause of shopping cart abandonment.

    Retailers need to embrace the importance of implementing guided selling tools (e.g., product selectors, product demos, enhanced product descriptions, etc.) for their online and mobile channels, enabling their shoppers to discover, educate themselves, compare, and choose the “right” products, based on their personal preferences.”

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