As business owners, we spend a lot of time figuring out what those shoppers want to buy and how to get them to come to our site. Once in the storefront, they spend time looking for just the right items. They click around, browse our fine selection, and put a few items in their shopping cart.
And then, maddeningly, some people just stop. They leave their cart sitting in the middle of the virtual aisle, filled with items we would love to sell them. It’s called cart abandonment. Here are ten tips to reduce cart abandonment.
1. Allow customer to estimate shipping and taxes early: Many early eCommerce sites kept the cost of shipping and taxes hidden until the very end of the process. If it is going to cost $10 to ship a $5 item, make it easy to find that out before you start collecting customer and credit card information.
2. Offer free or reduced shipping if possible: eCommerce customers have become accustomed to discounted shipping, often in exchange for a minimum order size. Done properly, it is a chance for both the seller and buyer to win. Customers save on shipping, while sellers increase their average order value.
3. Reduce the number of steps in the checkout process: Professional sellers know that every time a customer faces a new screen, the likelihood of abandonment increases. Every new page is an opportunity to rethink the purchase decision. Move as many steps as possible out of the checkout process. If you have inserted a “Sign Up for our Newsletter” page during checkout, move it until after the order is completed.
4. Once customers begin the checkout process, show them their progress: Don’t keep it a secret how many steps until they are done. If customers know how far away they are from getting their order placed, they are less likely to be unpleasantly surprised as each new screen appears. Make next steps obvious.
5. At every step, let customers know they’ll have a chance to review their order at the end: This is a confidence builder. If a customer knows that nothing they are doing is irreversible, they will be more inclined to move along the process.
6. Use screen refreshes instead of new pages whenever possible: If you can change shipping method or payment option or item quantities without needing to leave a page, do it. Keeping customers on the same screen gives them confidence that they are in control of the purchase process.
7. Include pictures of the items in the shopping cart: Customers like to see why they are going through the trouble of ordering. Giving a picture of their purchases during the process, especially at the final screen, keeps the anticipation of the purchase front and center.
8. Give estimated ship and delivery dates: Ship and delivery estimates give customers confidence that they are dealing with a business that manages its inventory well. These are cues to customers that demonstrate reliability, and give them confidence to move forward.
9. Remember that customers use shopping carts like Wheel of Fortune: In the original version of Wheel of Fortune, customers had to spend their winnings on items or lose it. Know that customers will routinely add more items than they really need and cut down to their budget. Make it easy to edit their cart contents throughout the process.
10. Allow items to remain between visits: Shopping cart persistence allows customers to close their browser and come back minutes or days later and still have their purchases in their cart. This is a great way to let customers think about their purchases without pressure, and remember their previous visits to your store.