08 Mar Checking out or getting out? Reasons for shopping cart abandonment
People used to abandon online shopping carts because they didn’t understand how online shopping works. Now, it’s because they do.
Despite ongoing efforts to streamline online purchasing processes, online retailers continue to experience staggering abandonment rates: A recent study by Kefta Inc., a San Francisco-based technology provider, indicates that 50 to 90 percent of all shopping cart purchases are abandoned midstream.
NetIQ, the company behind WebTrends predicts that $63 billion in sales will be lost in 2004 due to shopping cart abandonment. However, their prediction only holds value if every shopping cart visitor is intent on buying.
They are not. Online-savvy consumers are using shopping carts to browse more than to buy. Knowing that shipping costs, handling charges, sales tax, product availability, and delivery methods vary widely among online retailers, customers use shopping carts to compare vendors.
To distinguish the best online offer, many consumers visit 3-5 different online vendors and use their shopping carts to determine the final cost of purchasing from each vendor before determining where to make the sale.
By knowing that shoppers use their cart for comparison, online retailers can serve customers better:
Allow customers to adjust their order without returning to product pages. Customers should be able to change quantities and options. If a product comes in multiple sizes or colors, make it easy to select or change values in the shopping cart.
Provide complete shipping information. If you allow multiple shipping methods, show the cost for each. If customers print out the shopping cart for offline comparison to other vendors, they can compare different methods without returning to your site.
Specify whether products are in stock. If items aren’t in stock, indicate availability dates. Allow customers to leave an email address is they want to be notified when an out-of-stock item becomes available.
Include contact information in your shopping cart. Providing telephone and email contact information puts shoppers at ease, and allows them to contact you easily if they print out information for offline comparison.
Have your shopping cart remember their order even after they leave your site. This allows them to place the order quickly if they return to your site after evaluating competitors.
Make the checkout process easy for new customers. Allow individuals to place orders without creating an account. Limit the amount of marketing data you collect when someone places an order.
Implement a survey to random visitors who abandon their shopping cart. Ask them to identify the top reasons they decided to leave the site without making a purchase. And, allow them to rate your prices and shipping charges in comparison to other sites.
Ultimately, the best mean of finding out why consumers are leaving a web site is to ask them.
Troy Janisch is president and founder of the Icon Interactive Group (www.iconinteractive.com), an industry leader helping companies integrate Internet and other Interactive media into sales channels, marketing strategies, and overall branding. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.