I recently looked at the problem businesses have with the frustrating and ever increasing habit of shoppers leaving full shopping carts without completing their purchase.
High shipping costs, shopper anxiety, technical issues – they can all be blamed for failed transactions, and often with justification.
But what can be done to buck this costly trend?
In this post I’m looking at what might prevent this kind of behaviour from your customers, or at least reduce the amount of aborted trolleys mounting up by your online checkout.
E-commerce platform specialists Magento recently teamed-up with Bronto Software and Ipsos to ask shoppers about their interactions with online shopping carts and what kind of factors lead to them walking away empty handed.
Over 1,000 consumers who shopped online within the past 12 months were asked to give their thoughts on the online shopping process and their findings made for interesting reading, especially regarding the points I covered in my previous article.
So here are a few suggestions which may make the online shopping experience easier for customers – as well as more profitable for your business.
1. Give Shoppers a Simple Purchase Summary
Rather like in a supermarket, shoppers will put things in their basket and then change their mind later on; putting them back on the shelf for one reason or another. Well this behaviour is mirrored with online purchases too. More than half of frequent shoppers (55%) use a shopping cart summary option as a way to make final purchase decisions, or even cancel orders. Giving the option to modify carted items (changing sizes, colours, or quantities), can help the consumer to quickly navigate this decision making process without becoming frustrated or overwhelmed and ultimately abandoning the cart completely.
2. Allow Shoppers to Save Items For Later
Unlike shopping in a physical store, an online shopping spree doesn’t necessarily end when leaving the shop. Consumers have many reasons for wanting to complete an order at a later date, anxiety, comparison checks, wanting to watch product videos or read reviews to name just a few. In fact, 56% of consumers who purchase online at least once a month are using the cart to store items to buy later. But that means nearly half of shoppers don’t use this facility, meaning efforts to complete the order within the shopping session become even more essential. Targeting these frequent shoppers and anticipating their need to store items can help save sales while improving turnover for your business.
3. Let Them Create a Wish List
A wish list tool can help calm the nerves of more thrifty shoppers by letting them know the items can be purchased at a later date. 82% of frequent shoppers will usually build wish lists, leading to a greater shopping-cart-to-wish-list conversion rate among those who are more familiar with the process. The key is to encourage those more casual shoppers to adopt the wish list method when they are browsing for goods.
4. Enable Shoppers to Check-out on a Different Device
Though part of the check out process, the shopping cart can also be used as a tool to transfer “carted” products between different devices over a period of time. We’ve all done it, purchasing a few items during our lunch break, before spending more time researching at home, adding more, before making the actual transaction via our smart phone or tablet. 45% of consumers will use more manual methods like bookmarking or emailing a page link to themselves to make this transition. So enabling the shopping cart to share information with other mobile devices will help keep the shopper on your site longer, engaging with your brand wherever they are.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Send Email reminders
Sometimes shoppers will have a valid reason for not completing a purchase. That is their prerogative after all. But why not use the information you have from these aborted purchases to your advantage? Abandoned shopping cart reminder emails are an essential part of any direct marketing strategy and are something that a good deal of frequent shoppers (59%) actually find to be a useful incentive when it comes to completing their order. So don’t be shy. Give shoppers a gentle reminder.
So what results can you expect for your business?
Online shopping and the behaviour of customers is a complex issue and results can’t always be seen overnight, whatever changes you implement.
The secret is to give shoppers as little opportunity as possible to abort their transactions. If they change their mind, then so be it. If they want to make changes, then let them. But don’t give them too many “escape routes.”
It’s simply a case of staying on the ball, adapting to your customer’s needs and tailoring your site around their specific requirements.