For online business owners, an abandoned cart provides a very special type of heartbreak. It means that someone was so very close to making the purchase that would make them a lifelong customer of your business, but at the very last possible moment, they chose to take their business elsewhere.
About Cart Abandonment
Now, you can try to convince yourself that there were really good reasons for the abandonment. Maybe the baby started to cry, or the smoke detector went off, or a very important client walked in the door. And truth be told, all of those scenarios can – and will- happen over time.
At the same time, there are things you can do to prevent this heartbreak. Here are a handful of actionable tips to reduce cart abandonment, which you can implement today.
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Tip #1: Make Everything Abundantly Clear
You may think your site spells out everything as clear as day, but bear in mind that folks shopping online might not be reading the fine print. They also may not be completely focused on details as they’re scouring the contents of your site for the perfect product or service.
Therefore, you need to not expect them to do research for important details, such as shipping rates and timelines, return policy details, or even basic product details. We’ve all seen clever sites and ads that highlight people who received a product that was much larger or smaller than they expected. All of these errors could have been avoided if such details were front and center of the business’ order pages.
As a business owner, you can clear up any confusion your customers may have by highlighting key points about your products and business practices up front.
Some examples to avoid any Confusion
Take shipping costs as an example. Many sites require visitors to fill their carts, enter their payment information, and then enter an address before they have an idea of what shipping may cost them. In fact, in several studies of cart abandonment, the shipping rate was the primary reason why visitors did not complete their purchase.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. If you are ordering $20 of product, do you really want to pay $20 in shipping costs on top of that?
Unless you’re desperate, you’ll probably abandon your cart and shop around until you can find a price/shipping balance that makes more sense. But let’s say you’re a customer ordering $20 of product, and see multiple notifications that shipping is free after ordering $50 of product. That might be more enticing.
Even if shipping isn’t free, explaining your policies will help gain trust and understanding from your audience. Be upfront with the steps involved in your return policy. Customers who know what the “worst case scenario” is will be much more confident in making a purchase they might otherwise be unsure about.
One trick to providing as much clarification as a visitor needs or wants before making a purchase is a 24/7 help line. Whether that’s a chat line, email form, or phone number depends on your business strategy. However, if prospective customers have the opportunity to ask important questions, as well as have an expectation for when they can receive an answer (if not immediately), they will be more trusting of your business. Curious to learn more about this topic? Click this link to discover how to outsource your customer support.
Let’s now proceed to the second tip to reduce cart abandonment.
Tip #2: Make It Fast to Reduce Cart Abandonment
Sure, the crying baby, the smoke alarm, and the important client are all make-believe scenarios, but they’re based on real events. The more time people spend trying to shop online, the more likely they are to get frustrated and give up. This leads to cart abandonment, as well as a negative outlook towards your site for making a simple task complicated.
You can make sure your customers have a quick and easy shopping experience. First, make sure all of your pages load quickly. Yes, images and product videos can be very helpful for selling your items, but not if they take all day to load. Check your page load times frequently to ensure people aren’t spending too much time staring at a blank screen.
Make directions clear. If you have multiple buttons that can add an item to a cart, make sure they’re clearly labeled; for example, “Click to Purchase” and “Learn More”.
Consider also including shortcuts for returning customers. It might make sense to allow customers to check out as a guest, or to create an account, so that the next time they place an order, they can simply re-order their product. One-click shopping is a terrific time saver for shoppers on the move, especially when they know exactly what they want.
Let’s conclude this article with the third and last tip to reduce cart abandonment.
Tip #3: Make It Easy… For Everyone Involved
Nearly everyone has done some heavy shopping, only to make some very difficult decisions at the check out. Whether in person or online, not everything we put in our cart makes the cut.
Therefore, make it easy for shoppers to make smart decisions. That includes offering opportunities to remove items from the cart, or to edit the quantity, size, or color of the items they choose. The fewer steps you place between reviewing the cart and checking out, the better, as this streamlines the experience, and doesn’t leave the customer waiting for pages to load while they hem and haw over their choices.
By being able to look at everything they’ve selected, make necessary changes, and then immediately check out, without having to reload, hit the back button, or empty the cart and start over, you’re increasing the odds of customer satisfaction.
Additionally, offer plenty of payment methods. If your site is protected by certain fraud guards, or you’re affiliated with a specific type of payment, feel free to display trust seals across your page. Buying something on the internet is a huge trust exercise, given how easily payment information can be compromised. Let your buyers know you’re involved in their security.
Finally, audit your check out process frequently. How clear, fast, and easy is it to go from a landing page to check out? At what point do you learn how much shipping is? Where do users need to go to learn more about a product? How much do they know about the risk of shopping from your site? What can they expect from the experience, and where do they go for customer assistance?
The experience you provide to your customers can be the difference between converting every cart and watching customers walk away all too frequently. While there may not be a way to eliminate cart abandonment, after all, crying babies, smoke detectors, and important clients are all very real situations: you can reduce cart abandonment with just a little action on your part.