Reduce Your Abandoned Shopping Carts; Part 1

News Reduce Your Abandoned Shopping Carts; Part 1

Are you an online retailer? Is your e-commerce site failing to secure conversions? Then it’s probably the case that your customers are abandoning their shopping carts in the middle of the buying process! Read on for some tips on how to prevent this happening in the future.

A recent survey by a UK based research company suggested that a staggering two thirds of shopping carts are abandoned, leading to trillions of pounds of profit being lost online. When a customer has abandoned a shopping cart, it means that they have added products to the online basket, but left the site before completing the check-out process. Fortunately however there are steps you can take to prevent this happening, and encourage an increase in your online store revenue.

1. Detail is Retail
A lot of online abandonments are brought about because customers simply don’t know enough about the product to purchase it yet, a fact that rings particularly true with footwear and clothing businesses. Bearing this in mind, the more detail you offer about a product the safer they will feel in buying it; in the example of a clothes retailer, the closest you can bring a consumer to the experience of  physically trying a product on, the more likely they will be to buy it. This might mean, for example, meticulously listing size guides and recommended fits.
The clichéd saying that “an image is worth a thousand words” has never been more applicable to online retail. The more images you can offer of your product, from different angles and distances, the more a customer can get to know it, again making them more likely to convert.

2. An Online Security Guard
Even though it’s now 2014, there still exists a large percentage of the market who don’t feel that their details are completely secure when using online retailers. Of course this doesn’t matter if you sell through eBay or Amazon, as they are more willing to place trust in larger brands; if you’re a small site however, encouraging people to convert can be more difficult.
Using an impartial payment service is the easiest way to make consumers feel safer about parting with their money. The obvious choice would be PayPal, but there are in fact smaller and less expensive alternatives out there. Allowing consumers more ways to pay means that, in the event of an unsatisfactory service, they will be able to reclaim their money easily. Whilst this obviously isn’t the desired end-game, having this kind of safety net in place will induce more consumers to buy through your site in the first place.

Another way to create a safer shopping environment online is to use testimonials from previous customers. User generated reviews are currently the most powerful online, and research indicates that consumers are more likely to trust independent reviews on Amazon for example than professionally written ones. This means that if you’re a small business, contacting previous employees and listing positive testimonials has never been a more important aspect of your marketing. Of course these can be faked, which should never be advised; sites such as Trust Pilot independently moderate consumer reviews, and displaying their logo is an easy way to secure the trust of potential future buyers.

3. A Streamlined Purchasing Process
It’s a simple fact that if a shop has a poor and confusing layout, customers are less likely to shop there, and the same is true of e-commerce sites! A difficult check-out process is one of the main causes of shopping cart abandonment, and should be avoided at all costs!
The navigation from product page to check out should be as simple as possible, and the consumer should be able to complete it in just a few steps. A great example of this is Amazon’s ‘Click-to-buy’ button, which circumvents the check-out page and streamlines the purchasing process. Online it’s much easier for consumers to leave the site if they feel it’s taking too much time or effort to purchase what they need, so you must make the process as easy for them as possible.

There’s no single greater way to put a consumer off than requiring them to register with your site before purchasing. In the majority of cases, when a customer reads “Register here” what they actually see is “Complete lots of long forms and then receive ten spam emails a week”, and this discourages them from completing orders on your site. By offering a quick check-out option, which doesn’t require registration, you will see a marked decrease in abandoned shopping carts.

4. Keep in Contact
The online shopping process can still feel a little anonymous, and in a lot of cases, consumers require advice before they commit to a purchase. Listing your contact details online, specifically if you represent a niche industry, is a good way to encourage customers to discuss your product with you. As a general rule, the more personal the better; a live web-chat is good, but a telephone conversation is even better. Not only will this encourage the customer to purchase your product, but it will also improve your company’s brand image.

5. Shopping on the Go
Industry research suggests that more and more online conversions now happen through mobile devices, owing to the increasing power of smart phones, and the widespread prevalence of tablet computers. This means that the sites making the most revenue online are those that have optimised for mobile. Put simply this means that two web sites exist, one for desktop computers and one for mobile devices. The latter is specifically designed for the handheld market, enabling customers to navigate around them easier and therefore making them more likely to convert. This can sound like an expensive and daunting project if you’re a smaller business, but it’s worth weighing up the initial outlays against the potential future ROI.

Part 1 of this guide has covered everything up to the point of check-out, by implementing these tips you will ensure that your e-commerce site is an easy, safe and enjoyable place to shop, and thus bring about a noticeable decrease in your shopping cart abandonments.

Check back to our blog next week to find out how to draw consumers back in after they have abandoned their carts, and thus gain revenue on seemingly lost leads.

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