Let’s get this straight : No one strolls up to the checkout counter after a solid hour of shopping only to change their mind on a whim and dump their goods. This extends to the digital sphere as well, where cart abandonment is the term given to the virtual equivalent of the last second flip flop activity we were just talking about.
Now, cart abandonment is a terrible hurdle for online retailers to cross. In fact, it was barely in 2014 that the business insider estimated the sum of merchandise that made the shopping cart but not the payment gateway at just about $4 trillion, and the number can only have increased in the last few years.
However, this is where we need to go back to the previous point and look at just how this seemingly simple problem has been allowed to escalate this much. The customer has practically spent a considerable amount of time browsing through your site, picking out stuff she wants and adding it to her cart, only to make a glorious U turn at the last second.
Sure, there may be people who take last ditch impulsive decisions or suddenly realize their wallets are a bit on the short side, but these figures are negligible. If you’re letting potential customers slip through at the very end, it’s for a far more fundamental reason : Your checkout process is putting them off and driving them away.
Of course, you’re always going to wind up with a few disgruntled customers who ditch their shopping midway, even if your checkout process is so smooth and quick it’s over before you can say ‘cart‘. That’s just the law of the world, and the only way to woo these people back is to send well crafted push notifications like those shown below, but that’s a story for another day.
The majority of cart drop offs, though, can be traced back to basic errors that are easily sorted out. In fact, here’s a list of common cart abandonment reasons Baymard put together back in 2016.
Let us now attempt to delve into the general customer psyche, explore common hurdles they face and try to come up with simple fixes that can help you convert casual window shoppers into full blown customers.
1. General Annoyance – This is perhaps the most persistent, but least talked about, reason for potential customers ditching their transactions midway. Although there might be other, more specific reasons (which we’ve explored below), an abstract sense of frustration while waiting to buy a product online is the digital equivalent of standing at the checkout when the person behind the counter starts reeling off pointless information about redundant offers and discounts. Addressing this intangible source of irritation is where marketers and website designers earn their dough, and here are a few simple remedies
- Short checkout process – Make a judgement call as to a reasonable length to the checkout process, bothering the customers for details only when absolutely necessary. Too little might make your site seem non authentic and make your customers wary, while too much will definitely annoy them midway through the process.
- Status clarity – If you must indeed have several columns to fill making checking out a lengthy process, clearly and explicitly showcase the number of steps left to reach the end goal i.e the final payment, in order to let the customer stay on top of the whole process. Subtly including pop ups of the actual product might also help remind the customer the reason she’s here in the first place and persuade her to complete the transaction.
- Store replication – Good stores are ones that read customer psychology inside out and prepare well in advance. Having shopping carts handy in each aisle is a key trait in encouraging compulsive shoppers who tend to purchase products on impulse. If these shoppers have to walk all the way back to a particular area of the shop to fetch carts, that gives them time to think about their potential purchase, increasing the chances of them not following through. Similarly, your online store has to emphasise on quick, smooth navigation between cart and product page, encouraging instinctive shopping and reducing the burden on customers who want to shop for multiple products.
2. Security concerns
If you start paying close attention to the intricacies of cart abandonment, you’ll notice that a huge chunk of the stalling happens at the payment phase. If you’re at the receiving end of this quite frequently, the implication is that your security standards are questionable at best.
While this can obviously be rectified by boosting compliances, security checks and general safety protocols, the impression that a customer imprints into his mind is irrevocable on a deeper level. When it comes to security concerns, especially with respect to their money, customers you once lose due to a lack of trust and belief are really hard to win back.
This tentatively extends to poor security as well as service when it comes to the actual payment itself. A delayed response from the third party service provider while swiping a credit card, for example, might result in the customer giving up and halting the transaction through no particular fault of your own. Staying on top of all third party communication happening through your site will alert you to these types of potential pitfalls fairly quickly.
3. Payment variety
Alright, this is something that is easily solved and shouldn’t be this huge a hassle in the first place, yet it somehow is. In an age of countless payment options ranging from the convenient to the obscure, where people tend to have very specific preferences as to how they want to pay for their purchases, most eCommerce sites seem to believe, for some reason, that offering just one or two payment options is perfectly fine.
What they fail to realize is that people are generally extremely obstinate when it comes to exploring a payment gateway different to the one they’re used to, and sometimes tend to even view it as a strong identity trait. Long story short, there’s very little chance you’re going to convince a potential customer to use your suggested payment option to complete her purchase rather than the one she already has in mind. Taking time to research the popular payment modes that are currently doing the rounds and then incorporating them into your site is the only way you can deter your shoppers from opting out of their purchases at the last minute.
So there you go. Taking these tips on board is sure to boost your cart abandonment strategy, and turn deserted shopping carts into dough for your store.