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Cart Abandonment Troubles and What You Can Do to Solve Them
By DannieB
7/30/2009 2:38:00 PM
Following up on the last blog about the Abobe/ BRS Group study “Customer Experience: Lessons for Loyalty,” I wanted to share the findings on abandoned cart rates.  Every retailer can improve abandonment rates, and many are frustrated because they can’t seem to pinpoint where carts are abandoned and why so many are left behind.

As it turns out, 79 % of online shoppers report that they abandon carts, with the top three reasons being shipping and handling charges higher than expected, a desire to continue comparison-shopping, and simply a change of mind.  Other reasons included poor customer service, learning that items are back-ordered or out of stock only after dropping them into the cart, and errors in the payment process.  These are all big problems, but the good thing is that there are solutions.  Few ecommerce providers, however, can truly provide the features and functionality to fix them all.  Let’s take a look:

Problem: Shipping and Handling Charges Higher Than Expected (72 %)

Solution: Find an ecommerce provider with the technology to run estimates on shipping and handling from the product page, or once the item goes into the cart.  Do not wait until the end of checkout to give a customer the shipping and handling estimates.

Problem: Decided to Do More Online Comparison Shopping (62 %)

Solution: Make sure to mark “low price guarantee” on items when possible.  Shoppers will be more inclined to take your word for it and less likely to continue comparison-shopping.  

Problem: Just Changed My Mind (60 %)

Solution:This one is tough, because it’s hard to convince a noncommittal shopper to buy.  This is where your smart marketing comes into play.  First, it’s important to provide all the information a shopper needs to make an informed decision (attributes and specs like color, weight, dimensions as well as visuals including multi-angle shots or zoom functionality help).  Product reviews, ratings, rich content—also important.  If everything you’ve got still doesn’t seal the deal, send an email to the person who abandoned offering him a discount for coming back to purchase what was left in his cart.   You will need an ecommerce solution or email marketing provider with the capability to capture abandoned carts and the SKUs within them.

Problem: Poor Customer Service, Namely, No One Online to Answer My Questions

Solution: Live Chat! Live Chat! Live Chat! Not only can you answer questions that will help a customer buy, but you have the opportunity to up-sell more products.  Just make sure you have a sales representative available during business hours, because a Live Chat window with a “no one home” message can be just as frustrating to a shopper as having no option to chat at all.

Problem:  Finding Out Items are Backordered or Out of Stock Only After They Place Them in the Cart

Solution: You need an ecommerce provider that can automatically update inventory in real-time, so items that are not in-stock or backordered will automatically appear on the product page in a timely manner.  Trying to buy what you want and then finding out you can’t get it is extremely disappointing for shoppers.  (And exactly the reason I hate shoe shopping – I fall in love with a pair on display, wait around for someone to help me, and then I’m told it’s not available in my size! At least online you can find out before you get your hopes up! Similar idea here.)

Problem: Error in Payment Process

Solution: Your checkout process must be quick and convenient without any sign of error.  It’s also important not to ask for too much personal information from the shopper—most already hesitate to give out their credit card numbers to retailers.  Go through your own checkout process as if you were a customer to make sure that no security messages or error messages appear anywhere.  It’s also a good idea to consider alternate payment methods as options for consumers such as Google Checkout, Checkout by Amazon, in addition to PayPal.  These payment methods allow shoppers to buy items from independent retailers with their Amazon or Google credentials.  It’s quick, easy, and shoppers feel safe when their transaction goes through a company that they already trust.

ShopVisible has been focusing on the issue of abandonment rates for a while, and we've come up with some innovative ideas on how to further prevent them with proper cross-sell marketing tools.  In addition, included in our analytics package are specific reports surrounding abandonment.

Stayed tuned for more on the customer experience…

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Tags: abandoned carts, abandonment rates, shipping estimates, shopping cart abandonment, shopvisible, ecommerce shopping
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