Do you own an online shopping website? If yes, you might already be familiar with the problem of dealing with shopping cart abandonment.
Research published by Baymard on cart usability and abandonment reports that online retail experiences an abandonment rate of around 74.6%.
Historically, the main reasons online shoppers abandon their shopping cart is due to either the cost of shipping fees, the fact the products are more expensive than expected, the checkout process being too convoluted and complicated, the information regarding the products being inadequate, or the website not providing answers to shoppers’ common questions and queries.
Technical problems like slow page loads, security, coding errors and confusing processes are also problematic for users and among the key reasons usually cited for shopping cart abandonment.
The technical issues in particular not only affect user experience but also affect a website's ability to rank well in Google and Bing's search engines. Issues like time on site, site speed, bounce rate, and clean code are all ranking factors because they directly affect user experience.
This makes the shopping cart experience one of the most important aspects of web design and marketing.
Digger Deeper: The Emotive User Experience
However, simply fixing a few bugs and redesigning the site is only dealing with the surface issues that go into a purchasing decision. Many people drift and abandon the checkout process based on emotional responses related to trust and efficiency.
Emotive user experience includes:
- Having unanswered questions
- Being asked questions the user finds irrelevant
- Missing information
- Annoying obstacles like pop-ups and,
- Invitations to services the buyer wasn’t looking for
If you are aiming to reduce shopping cart abandonment activity in your online shopping website, here are some practical policies that will help you.
1. Ensure You Answer Common Buyer Questions
Most often than not, the customers tend to have numerous questions regarding the products that they want to purchase.
To aid with this, you can offer a web page dedicated to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that will answer the common queries of the buyers and customers.
By utilizing an FAQ page, it will be easier for the customers to determine the answers they have in mind. Think about the kinds of questions a buyer needs to be answered in order to purchase with confidence.
Customers usually want to know:
- Shipping costs
- Returns - make policy clear
- Contact details - make it easy for customers to talk to you
- Delivery times
2. Minimize the steps when Purchasing
Customers will frequently abandon their shopping carts due to the complicated and time-consuming process of purchasing the items.
The Baynard research revealed that the average checkout process has over 14 form fields: Twice as many as necessary. The result from this fact alone cites Baynard, is a 27% abandonment rate.
Reducing the number of steps or clicks, it takes to make a purchase can have a dramatic effect on sales. For example, do they really need to create an account? If they do, what is the quickest way for them to create it and move through the checkout?
The shopping cart process is also a place where some e-commerce stores attempted to place a survey in order to gather additional customer information. Again, if it is not relevant to the immediate purchase then remove it.
While it is helpful to gather a certain amount of customer data for future reference, if it interrupts a buyer's intent then it is counterproductive to the day-to-day profitability of your store.
Which would you rather have, a survey or the profit?
3. Take Distractions and Unnecessary Information off the Page
Unnecessary information, bells, whistles and graphics affects load time, causing a sluggish check-out. Consequently, the customers tend to leave the website. Moreover, your online shopping website’s bounce rate will increase, which in turn affects search position in Google and the overall quality and success of your business.
One of those bells and whistles is the notorious pop-up. Pop-ups are rarely appreciated. They interrupt the user's experience, they are not called for by the user and they tend to create irritation and mistrust.
In many ways pop-ups are redundant. Many of us have developed and blindness. We no longer see them. All we see is the little ‘x’ needed to cancel them.
But pop-ups are something else altogether. They literally stop the user in their tracks. If the user is reading the content - for which purpose they came to your site - and are interrupted by intrusive and irrelevant material, they're not likely to stay.
More to the point. pop-ups seriously hamper the checkout process. They rarely add value to the user experience and only serve to interrupt a person who is sitting at the computer with a credit card in the hand. So, avoid annoying pop-ups and distractions during the checkout process. Keep check out pages clear, focused and plain.
4. Guarantee Transparent Pricing
When it comes to owning an online shopping website, price transparency is very important. False, vague, or generally misleading information about pricing raises abandonment rates and reduces trust. Make your pricing crystal clear.
Customers hate it when an online shopping website states the prices only to surprise them at the checkout with additional costs. It makes no difference whether those additional costs are taxes, packaging or other shipping costs.
If your purchasing costs have not been explained or anticipated then you are likely to lose another buyer.
5. Provide Secure Payment Options
One of the primary concerns of online shoppers is the security. If you want to increase the number of online shoppers who check out successfully, make sure that you secure the payment options.
Not only is site security a trust factor with users, but it is also increasingly an important ranking factor in major search engines. Website security protocols are standard these days and can be purchased direct from your host at minimal cost.
A good shopping experience comes down to a few basic things. But those things require careful thought so that they are implemented correctly.
Have you audited your shopping cart experience lately? Now might be a good time to give it a good makeover.