With every passing year, more people are utilizing the internet to research and buy products. Almost three-quarters of all U.S. consumers go online to find the best prices, and more of these people are ultimately buying products online, using their desktop, and, at a growing rate, their smartphone.
Unfortunately for some ecommerce sites, 70 percent of all online consumers click away from their shopping cart without carrying out a purchase. Lowering your online store’s cart abandonment rate can lead to an impressive leap in your sales figures as well as an uptick in the number of happy customers recommending your site to others.
Common Reasons for Losing Sales and Cart Abandonment
Have you ever gone to a particular website with the intention of buying something, only to realize hours later that you got distracted and have strayed far away from your original purpose? Such is the nature of the internet, and it goes a long way toward explaining why your customers don’t consummate their purchases. Below are just some of the contributing factors:
- Your website is cluttered, hard to navigate or not mobile-friendly. Any of these situations can cause a potential customer to click away in frustration in favor of cleaner site.
- Poor quality images and product descriptions. If would-be buyers can’t figure out what you are selling, how much it costs or the features of the products, they will not trust in your expertise as a seller.
- An over-complicated checkout process. Making customers jump through hoops just so they can give up their hard-earned money is a recipe for disaster. While customers want to know that your website and your payment process are both secure, they definitely don’t want to be asked to provide extraneous information or spend any more time than necessary making their purchase. When two minutes turn to five or 10, the chances of losing your customer skyrocket.
- Poor website navigation. People expect vertical navigation down your site’s left side or horizontal navigation across the top. Don’t get fancy and lose your customers. Make your site as descriptive as possible, avoiding generic labels such as “what we do.” In addition, keep your pages sparse, making sure not to include so many menu choices that a user becomes overwhelmed. In general, seven or less per page is best. When ordering your items, put your most important ones either first or last, with less important ones in the middle of the list. Finally, use links instead of buttons. Buttons load slower, are invisible to search engines, are harder to update and are inaccessible to visually impaired users. Therefore, use links whenever possible.
- Noncompetitive pricing. E-commerce is cutthroat; you aren’t just trying to out-sell the business down the street. These days, your biggest rival might not even be in the same country. Furthermore, customers have gotten incredibly savvy about harnessing the power of the internet to find the best deals. For these reasons, you cannot afford to price your goods higher than other sellers do. Also, find ways to stand out from your peers with enhanced customer service, a personalized relationship with buyers and loyalty programs.
- Lack of a virtual payment processing solution. No matter how small your business might be, you cannot get by these days simply by taking telephone orders. Fortunately, there are many affordable e-commerce shopping cart and credit card processing options from which to choose. Not only are costs low, but also you need not necessarily sign up for a long-term merchant processing contract as entrepreneurs were required to do in the past. If you do not provide your customers with standard, secure buying options, they will most certainly take their business elsewhere.
- Slow checkout loading times will alienate today’s rapid-fire customers. It only takes a few seconds of frustration for someone to click away, possibly never to return.
- Lack of secure payment methods. The headlines have been filled with stories about internet data breaches affecting millions of consumers. As a result, your customers will be more watchful than ever about how and to whom they divulge their sensitive data. To that end, be sure that your e-commerce system is up-to-date and secure, and make certain to indicate to customers the measures you have taken to guarantee the safety of their transaction.
- Unclear shipping and return policies. It is important to be completely transparent with customers about how and when items will be shipped. Make all costs, delivery times, the need for signature on delivery, etc. clear from the outset. Furthermore, let buyers know how they can contact you if they have questions – and make it your business to answer inquiries promptly and completely. Be equally transparent about your return policy. The fewer misunderstandings you have in these areas, the lower will be your chargeback and return rates.
- Narrow selection of products and services. It goes without saying that if what you are selling is sparse or does not meet customer needs, your shopping cart abandonment rate will be higher. Taking the time to learn about what the market will bear and the need you can fill as a business can help you streamline your products and offer what your consumers want to buy.
Tips for Improving Your Checkout Process
- Optimize your website for mobile devices. Use fluid layouts, and make it as easy as possible for users to navigate around your page – on both a desktop and smartphone. Make your site as easy as possible to navigate with a smartphone’s touch screen, and be sure to test it out for yourself and enlist your friends to give feedback.
- Invest in secure virtual payment terminals. If the processing system you currently have is not modern and updated to the latest security standards, it is in your best interest to devote some funds to this equipment. By so doing, you reduce the chances that you will be a victim of credit card fraud or other cyber crimes. Furthermore, customers’ trust levels will be much higher when they see that your payment infrastructure is strong.
- Remove distractions and “junk code” from website pages to ensure they load faster. Since your customers’ attention spans are short, they will not have much tolerance for cluttered pages that take forever to load and are hard to navigate.
- Publish stunning pictures and well-written product descriptions. With eye-catching visuals and the poetic language, you can elevate the status of your products above those of your competitors. People not only want to understand exactly what they are buying but they also want to feel that they are making an intelligent choice. Helping your customers feel good about their purchases will ensure that they buy what is in their cart today and come back again later.
- Provide precise and accurate shipping information using the cheapest methods possible. Offering free or discounted shipping can be a terrific way to encourage customers to make a purchase. If shipping costs too much on your site, your customer will click elsewhere to find a better deal.