On average, 7 out of 10 customers abandon their shopping carts when visiting an online store. While a quarter will return and checkout later, the rest, more than half, will take their custom elsewhere. This figure represents not just a huge loss in sales, but a waste of marketing and advertising budgets spent attracting visitors who leave without buying. In this post, we’ll look at the main causes of shopping cart abandonment and explain what you can do to avoid them.
- Shipping costs
With so many companies offering free shipping, it’s no surprise that nearly half of all shopping cart abandonment is a result of shipping costs being too expensive for the customer. And the bigger the shipping cost is in relation to the price of the product, the greater the chance of abandonment.
In reality, no store delivers items for free. If it is not charged for as an extra at the checkout, its cost is built into the pricing – whether that’s adding the cost to individual items or spreading the total cost of shipping all items pro rata across all products to minimise the delivery costs of lower-priced goods.
There are pros and cons to both ways of operating. If you leave the shipping cost off the item price, it appears cheaper, but you’ll have abandonment when it’s added at the checkout. If you add it to the advertised price, no one will abandon the cart because of shipping costs but fewer people might buy it.
The advantage of including shipping costs in the pricing and not adding them on at the end is a psychological one. Customers who know at the outset what the total price is, including delivery, have only one purchasing decision to make. When the shipping fees are added at the end, they are having to make that decision for a second time – just when they’ve been disappointed by a last-minute price increase. It’s at that point when some people leave for good and others go in search of a better overall price.
- Compulsory account creation
A quarter of all shopping cart abandonments happen at the checkout when customers are forced to create an account in order to buy. There are various reasons for this. Firstly, creating an account often takes a lot of time, with information to be inputted and email addresses to be verified, and so forth. A lot of customers simply want to shop and go, life’s too short.
Other customers just don’t want to set up an account. They don’t want their personal information to stay on your records, especially with so many data breaches taking place, and they don’t want to be bombarded with emails and other marketing.
While it can be very helpful to the business and to some customers to have accounts, it’s best to give people a choice. For this reason, allowing guest checkouts makes good sense if you want to cut down on this cause of abandonment.
- Long checkout process
Nearly a fifth of all abandonments are the result of a long checkout process and while enforced account creation contributes to this, it isn’t the only cause. The time taken to complete the checkout is often caused by taking the customer through pages trying to upsell or cross-sell. For example, before you get to the actual payment, you may be offered add-on warranties, upgrades to higher specs, matching goods and special offers on other items.
For many people, the hassle of having to trawl through all this unnecessary marketing is more than it’s worth and they leave. Individual businesses will need to calculate for themselves if the cost of abandoned carts is outweighed by the additional profits that these upsell pages generate. If it isn’t, then it’s a good idea to remove these pages from the checkout process. Alternatively, you can direct customers to an offers page once the checkout has been completed.
- Untrustworthy website
It can be very hard to sell products online when the browser warns users not to provide your site with personal or financial details. If you do not have an SSL certificate installed on your website, then this is what will happen. If you do have an SSL certificate, you are rewarded with the padlock icon and the confidence this gives potential customers. Often, those that abandon sites over trust issues are those that ignore the browser warning when viewing items and then think more carefully about it as they are about to buy – that’s the moment they change their mind.
Aside from an SSL certificate, make sure you clearly display your business information, like name, address, phone number, email addresses, company registration number, and so forth, to prove you are a legitimate business. You will also find that today, many customers will check online reviews before checking out with a company they haven’t bought from before. So, if you haven’t set up reviews on Google, Facebook, and Trustpilot, it’s worth considering.
- Slow delivery
Another major cause of cart abandonment is slow delivery. Not every customer wants or needs quick delivery, but when they do, they are going to choose the company that can get things to them the soonest. Today, shoppers expect to see a next-day delivery option available, and some companies even offer same-day delivery.
Fast deliveries are easier for big companies, like Amazon, which have the infrastructure in place. For companies that package and post their products, it can be difficult to compete. Today, many have started to use third-party fulfilment companies to speed up their shipping. These are firms with large vehicle fleets that hold the retailer’s stock in their warehouses and deliver it quickly when the order is processed. Fulfilment is helpful to some retailers, but not for all. It can be too costly for some and doesn’t always work well with products that have a limited shelf-life.
Shopping cart abandonment is unavoidable for any eCommerce website. However, by understanding the major causes outlined above, you will be able to take measures to reduce abandonment rates and thus increase overall sales.
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