Many people do a majority of their shopping online these days. Most users are accustomed to finding a great item and placing it into a “shopping cart,” often with the intent to complete the purchase. However, statistics show three out of four consumers don’t follow through to actually purchasing the item. This is known as shopping cart abandonment, and results in lost revenue for businesses. Studies have shown that up to four TRILLION dollars in sales are lost due to abandonment. The reasons for canceling vary, and can include unexpected costs such as high shipping charges, simply changing their minds, payment security concerns, or customers wanting different payment options. In addition, some customers leave the cart in search of discount codes or coupons. If one is not found, the customer may not complete the purchase. Download our infographic which shares statistics on this topic.
There are many aspects of a business website can lead to increases in shopping cart abandonment.
First off, if there are limited ways to pay, customers may not be able to complete a purchase. Most websites accept credit cards nowadays, but there are still some small businesses that may fulfill orders by phone or email. If your website offers multiple ways to pay, either by accepting credit cards, PayPal, or other means, you are more likely to increase sales. Customers want options on how to pay for their items, and also want the purchase process to be easy and streamlined.
Another aspect of website design that may hinder purchases is requiring customers to create an account in order to make a purchase.
Again, this goes back to keeping it simple – people don’t want to have to go through setting up an account, adding their information, and THEN having to check out or make the actual process. Merchant account specialists and experts recommend allowing “Guest” checkout on websites, and keeping to a minimum the number of steps required for purchase completion. Offering your customers the ability to become a “member” for special discounts and sale information is a good idea, however, most eCommerce customers do not want to have to create an account. Most will site that they want a quick and seamless transaction as well being concerned about creating an account and the security of their information.
Another one of the top reasons often cited by consumers for shopping cart abandonment is unexpected costs, particularly shipping charges.
Sometimes, shipping costs nearly as much as the item being purchased, and I’m sure many of us can relate to being slightly outraged over such charges. The end result is often no purchase at all. To prevent this, industry experts suggest displaying shipping charges up front, or offering a flat shipping rate up to a certain dollar amount in purchases. Make sure that it is easy for customers to navigate to and understand the costs of shipping before looking into a purchase.
Overall, there are three guiding principles that merchant account specialists suggest to utilize in order to have a more welcoming website: Reduce fear, build trust and credibility, and reinforce benefits to purchasing.
For example, when asking for a customer’s phone number, people may wonder if they will start receiving calls from the business, or simply are fearful of giving out personal information. By adding a small disclaimer such as “for shipping related questions only,” the customer’s mind is often put at ease. This also develops a relationship of trust with the customer, and that often translates into repeat business.
Additionally, make sure that your website not only meets all security requirements but also displays security seals. It is amazing how many customers will abandon their purchase just because there is not a security seal on the secure payments page. Also, statements on your site or in your terms of service stating that customer security is a top priority can go a long way to making new customers feel welcome and secure.
Is there hope to regain a sale after shopping cart abandonment? What can you do to get a customer back?
Thankfully, all hope is not lost. Businesses who communicate with customers report higher levels of conversion and statistics reflect that certain methods in particular led to recovery of the sale. For example, sending an email reminder to the customer that he or she has items in their cart has proven to result in a recovery rate of around 30 percent. Also, studies show that the optimal time to send this email is around 30 minutes after the initial abandonment. This task can be simply created and automated by some shopping cart platforms.
Another way that merchants can increase shopping cart conversions is by offering the item at a discount. Around 54 percent of online shoppers have reported they are “very likely” to purchase abandoned items if they are presented with the item at a lower cost. Discount codes, coupons, and free shipping are all enticements that often result in shopping cart conversion. In addition, it creates goodwill and that often encourages a new customer to return for future purchases. Imagine if you could convert up to 50% of your abandoned shopping carts into purchases!
And finally, as was stressed earlier, keeping things simple goes a long way towards converting those shopping carts to sales.
Don’t make customers set up accounts, or require them to fill in information that generally isn’t needed for the purchase. There are always opportunities to reach the customer for options such as loyalty programs but the first step is getting them to buy. By streamlining the buying process, you increase your chances that the customer will actually follow through with the purchase. Once the purchase is complete a solid follow up program with incentives to become a “member” will often times provide you the marketing opportunities you are looking for.
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