It happens all too often: a visitor adds products to the shopping cart in your online store but then leaves your site without completing the checkout process. In ecommerce circles, this peculiar phenomenon is referred to as “shopping cart abandonment,” and it is a widely recognized problem throughout the industry. In fact, recent ecommerce studies have shown that between 25 and 75 percent of shoppers abandon their online shopping carts before completing the checkout process.
Here are some tips that will help you reduce shopping cart abandonment:
Make pricing clearly visible
The merchant should take special care to include pricing and any terms and conditions right on the product page. The idea is to provide a complete picture to customers so they can make well-informed choices before entering the checkout process.
Advertise the security features of your storefront
Apprehensive online shoppers will not enter their precious financial data on your site unless they are sure that it will not leak out or be inappropriately used. Early in the checkout process, emphasize to shoppers that your web storefront is secure. Be sure to include any relevant third-party security compliance; the VeriSign Secured Seal Program is a great example of how security features can be advertised to build trust.
Build a better check out page
You can increase the value of the page that summarizes your customers’ online order by highlighting satisfied customer testimonials, special shipping options, and discounts. Having these “visual cues” on your checkout pages will go a long way to increase the overall legitimacy of your web storefront in the mind of your customers.
Provide competitive shipping options
Confusing shipping options and expensive shipping rates are two often-cited reasons that online shoppers abandon their shopping carts during the checkout process. (See Improve Shipping Options to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment.) For this reason, provide as many shipping options as possible, include various options for each shipping provider, and be sure to let customers compute shipping rates as early as possible in the check out process.
Streamline the checkout process
Make the checkout process simple and swift. Clearly label buttons for each step during checkout, and consider using a breadcrumb trail so that customers will know exactly where they are in the process. A lengthy checkout process will surely entice visitors to leave your store. Goal: Make it as easy as possible for customers to get to the final “buy” step!
Provide intuitive error messages
Customers and prospects will inevitably make mistakes when checking out of your web storefront. Help customers resolve errors via intuitive error messages that written in easy-to-understand language. Include a prominent telephone number for customer service in the event that customers are unable to help themselves. Prospects will surely leave your site if they are unable to figure out what to do next!
Track key shopping cart metrics
Track shopping cart metrics to determine at what stages the most common errors are occurring. Metrics that will help you combat shopping cart abandonment include the percentage of visitors that use the cart, the percentage of carts that become a purchase, the percentage of carts that start checkout, and the percentage of carts that start and complete checkout.
Listen to customer feedback
Soliciting and analyzing customer feedback will provide you with key insights pertaining to shopping cart abandonment from your online store. Some ways to get feedback include usability studies, focus groups, and surveys. You could also include a “Suggestion Box” that links to a web form on your site.