One of the largest challenges facing online retailers is the issue of cart abandonment. A staggering 68% of all customers who begin an online transaction by adding items to their cart don’t complete the transaction. This means that you stand to lose a significant portion of potential revenue through customers abandoning their transaction. Luckily, by understanding why customers abandon their carts you can make small adjustments that can minimise the impact of cart abandonment on your online store.

Customers leave because of the lack of upfront information about additional costs

The primary reason cited by customers abandoning their transaction is the shipping and handling costs involved in the transaction, which often comes as a surprise because of the lack of total order cost upfront. Many online stores only calculate shipping and handling after the checkout process has begun, and once the customer sees the total cost as opposed to what they were expecting to pay they leave and look for a better deal elsewhere.

The simplest solution to this problem is to provide free shipping, which can be used as a major selling point incentivising customers to shop with you rather than go to your competitors. Many eCommerce shop owners are reluctant to offer free shipping due to the expense incurred, but the benefits can be worth the cost. Shopify even offers a free app to check whether free shipping is a worthwhile investment for your store. If unconditional free shipping is not for you, there are some other options, such as offering free shipping during your peak sales times or conditional free shipping on orders above a certain price range

Make sure that if you decide to offer free shipping that it’s clearly indicated on your storefront as well as during the checkout process. If, on the other hand, you decide not to offer free shipping, make sure that shipping and handling costs are clearly indicated throughout the storefront. This allows your customers to make informed decisions about your pricing, making them less likely to abandon the transaction during the checkout process.

Customers leave because of usability issues

Apart from hidden costs, usability issues such as mandatory account creation, excessive security checks, complicated navigation and unstable websites all cause customers to give up on transactions and look for better storefronts.

Many users hate the idea of creating a new account for every website they visit and want to purchase something from. The best solution for this issue is to offer social logins that use a customer’s existing social media account to log into your website. This allows the customers to seamlessly sign in with their essential details already in place, simplifying both the account creation and checkout processes and also enhancing the security of your online storefront.

The checkout process also needs to be as streamlined as possible, with as little user input required as possible. Make sure that your site loads quickly and is responsive. Customers don’t like having to wait, and a slow, buggy checkout experience is likely to turn them off your store completely.

Customers will have their preferred way of paying for online transactions and will most likely abandon their cart if they see that they can’t pay with their preferred method. A recent study showed that offering multiple payment options, such as PayPal, Google Wallet, Stripe and MasterPass in addition to traditional credit card purchases helped increase conversion rates and lower cart abandonment rates.

Having a secure checkout process is essential, both in terms of the reputation of your online store, but also as reassurance for the customer that their data is safe. 17% of customers report that they’ll stop a purchase if they feel the site is insecure. At the very least, your website should have an SSL certificate, lock icon in the browser and a privacy policy. Security badges from accredited vendors can further enhance the trust customers will have in your checkout process and can increase sales by up to 6%.

Sometimes customers simply aren’t ready to buy

Many customers now take the time to research prices and items before committing to a purchase, and it’s in your interest to encourage them to buy from you. Many customers expect their carts to remain intact even if they leave, so ensure that they can easily resume their purchase if they return at a later stage. Also, provide a wishlist system linked to wishlist emails to allow users to mark items they’re interested in and then provide them with information when the item goes on sale.

Conclusion

By understanding what leads customers to abandon their transactions, you can remove these barriers to purchase leading to decreased cart abandonment rates. Providing clear information about shipping and handling costs up front is essential, and free shipping may be an option to explore. An easy to use website and seamless checkout process that is secure ensure that customers complete their transactions quickly, giving them less time to abandon their transactions. Finally, in the event of a cart abandonment, provide customers with options to return to their cart at a later stage to complete their purchase.

It may be impossible to completely get rid of cart abandonment, but it is possible to lessen their impact on your sales.

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