Have you ever got to the checkout, unloaded all of your items, gone to pay and then realised you’ve left your wallet at home?
Annoying, yes, and certainly embarrassing, but at least a valid reason for leaving your shopping cart behind – usually as you make a somewhat red-faced dash for the door, while someone else puts everything back on the shelf.
But why else would anyone fill their basket with items, only to decide not to proceed to the checkout and actually purchase the goods? It wouldn’t happen in a real-life supermarket – so why does it happen online?
So finding out the reasons for these aborted transactions and what can be done to prevent them is vital to any online business.
Let’s face it, if a business that currently makes £15,000-a-month in online revenue could turn just 25% of those abandoned orders into sales – they’d make an extra £45,000 each year!
So what are the reasons for so many goods going unpaid for and left in the virtual aisles of websites? Here are 10 pointers that could help you convert those AWOL shoppers.
1. They are presented with unexpected costs
Additional taxes, handling fees and shipping costs can turn an apparent bargain into quite an expensive purchase. Yes, some of these are unavoidable; but the way the costs are displayed can mean it is less of an unpleasant surprise when it comes to payment.
2. Just browsing
Window shoppers don’t just exist on the High Street. In fact, there is no better place to browse for items than online. The secret is to turn these casual surfers into consumers.
3. They’ve found it cheaper elsewhere
The market will always be a competitive place and shoppers will always go where they get the best price. So a last minute bargain from another site will always turn heads and lead to deserted shopping baskets.
4. It’s too pricey
Charging too much will ultimately cost a business (as well as the shopper) in the long run. So sensible pricing should always be implemented – whatever the market.
5. A change of heart
Sometimes shoppers will simply change their mind after they have filled their cart. There’s not much that can be done to stop this, but what you do further down the line as a seller is key.
6. The process is too complex
Shoppers will expect to be able to pay for their products in a few steps during checkout. But, some websites can make the process overly complicated, meaning potential buyers simply go elsewhere. Merchants should make their buying process as simple as possible so not to lose any more potential business.
7. The website isn’t reliable (it crashed)
A poorly functioning site is just about the last straw for any beleaguered web shopper. After they’ve found what they are looking for, added it to their basket and proceeded to the check out – nothing will see them heading off empty handed more than a site which simply doesn’t work
8. It takes too long
You wouldn’t make it as difficult as possible for shoppers in a store to get to the till, so why do it on your website? An overly complicated payment process will see many potential consumers simply go elsewhere.
9. Too many security checks
Online security can’t be underestimated, but it seems stringent checks will soon give shoppers the hump. Just think of an online version of an over-zealous security guard following you round a store and persistently asking questions and you’ll probably realise why.
10. Not enough security checks
A lack of security measures can be as off-putting as too much and a “less is more” approach obviously doesn’t apply when it comes to people’s finances.
So, what can be done to turn browsers into buyers?
Online retailers are losing money each and every day due to cart abandonment, but how companies go about preventing it can quite literally be a $64,000 (£40,000) question.
Next time I’ll look at the ways businesses have approached this problem and what they can do to overcome one of the biggest causes of lost revenue in the ecommerce industry.