How to increase conversions and reduce shopping cart abandonment on E-Commerce Websites
It’s very exciting to get great traffic to your e commerce website after you’ve put a lot of time and effort into building it, stocking it with excellent products and putting in your very best search engine optimization efforts. It can also be monumentally disappointing to see that your potential customers are filling their shopping carts with goodies and then bailing out during the check-out process.
Why does this happen, and what can you do to prevent it?
Check out process – Is it user-friendly?
If your customer must work his or her way through multiple pages, fill out lots of forms and perform a lot of repetitive actions, this might be causing customer bail-out! If your customers can’t figure out how to use your website check out process, they are very likely to give up. If this is the case, simplification and redesign are in order. If you are already running a website it’s a good idea to take a look at the bounce rate of every single page on the site. This will give you a good starting point to identify problem areas.
Shipping and Handling
Are your shipping and handling fees too high?
It’s important to remember that in addition to convenience, people also shop online to find value. If you offer excellent prices and then your shipping costs cause the total purchase to be much more expensive than buying in a brick and mortar store, your customer is very likely to abandon his shopping cart and look on amazon instead.
Charge reasonable shipping and handling fees that are in line with the price of the products you offer. Provide a free shipping option and/or create free shipping coupon codes with updated links that open in a new window. In this way, your customers can retrieve the current coupon code without leaving your website. This helps with purchase follow-through.
You can also set up automated emails that get sent out to customers who abandon the website during the checkout process. The email can contain free shipping coupons or a discount on the total order if the customer competes the purchase within a given time frame.
Is your shipping time excessive?
Another reason people shop online is that they can do it impulsively. If it takes a couple of weeks or a month for your customer to receive that impulse purchase, it could ruin your sale. Make it a point to acknowledge and process orders promptly. Offer choices in quick, reliable shipping, such as the US Postal service, FedEx and United Parcel Service. Providing choices gives your customer a sense of control and involvement that may help motivate sale completion. If a customer chooses the two week option they will not complain, however if you tell them that it takes two weeks to receive the product many will abandon and look elsewhere.
Are you transparent about fees?
In addition to high shipping fees, customers are frequently put off by secretive shipping fees. If they are forced to jump through a bunch of hoops, fill out forms, click through one screen after another and possibly even confirm an opt-in e mail, it is quite understandable that they might feel upset to find exorbitant shipping fees disclosed only as the last step of the entire process. This sort of thing can cause your customer to feel tricked and may result in the loss of a sale and a customer.
Post a chart of your shipping fees in a prominent place on your website along with notices of special offers, discounts and coupons. Being open and above board can go a long way toward building customer trust and a willingness to transact with you.
Very often customers abandon their shopping carts because they cannot tell if it is safe to disclose their credit card information. Naturally, if you are engaged in e commerce, you must have a secure site. Make certain that the security of your website is obvious to your visitors. Remember that not all people who shop online are aware of every method of testing website security.
Prominently post official logos for any site security program you use along with an explanation of your security measures.
Reinforce this to your email list from time to time especially when events such as the most recent attack “Heartbleed” become widely known. It’s a good idea to send an email letting everybody know that you have updated your servers and renewed/rekeyed your SSL certificates. This alone can build customer confidence and ensure future sales from repeat buyers.
Time and Privacy
Are you requiring too much information just to shop?
It’s best if you do not require your customers to join your site before shopping. Sometimes they just want to look around, and being required to join can cause them to stop shopping before they begin. Imagine if a store asked for you email as soon as you walk in.
We advise to give your customers the option of joining your site to get special information and values or shopping anonymously as guests.
This is a great way to build up your mailing list and promote your business without diminishing the shopping experience. Additionally, giving your customers a choices helps them feel respected and more importantly in control.
One big reason customers abandon their online shopping carts is that they get all the way to the payment screen and find that their form of payment is not accepted. This is very disappointing and frustrating and it will lose you that sale and that customer.
Set up your website so that your customers can pay with a variety of popular methods, such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, American Express and so on. If you are selling a product that customers may feel unsure about (e.g. electronic cigarettes) or if you are catering to an older demographic, it’s also a good idea to offer the option of ordering by phone and paying by check.
Remember that many people who shop at home may be old-fashioned and may not want to disclose their credit card information online, no matter what.
It is always a good idea to provide your customers with a phone number they can call to speak with a person and a physical address where they can send a check if that’s what they want to do. This provides a complete array of payment options and establishes you as being a real person with a real business in a real location. This can go far toward establishing trust and stopping shopping cart abandonment.
Do I make it easy for my customers to keep track of their shopping lists? Often a potential customer simply moves items to the shopping cart to keep track of them without intending to purchase immediately. When this is the case, your customer may fill a basket to overflowing and then walk away for no apparent reason. To avoid this, you can do two things.
First, establish a Wish List option so that customers can add items to their Wish List instead of their shopping cart. ( expert advice: make sure to no index and no follow all wishlist pages, they create duplicate thin content on your site)
If the person doesn’t want to buy right now, establishing a Wish List will involve setting up an account, entering personal information and possibly opting into your mailing list. This will help remind the customer to come back, peruse your site and add things to the Wish List.
Second, set your cart so that it retains information indefinitely. In that way, even if it is a long time before your customer returns, he or she will find the selected items waiting in the cart. Eventually, a purchase will be made. In the meantime, you are building up a good relationship with your customer.
Product and policy information
Customers may hesitate to go through with a purchase if they are unsure about your return policy. They may not want to purchase an unfamiliar item without being able to have a look at the owner’s manual and guarantee. Your customer may need to know about gift wrap options, delivering to an alternate address, color choices and much more.
Include as much product information as possible in each product description.
Create a very thorough Frequently Asked Questions page that is easy to navigate and read. Divide your Questions and Answers by topic so that your customers will be able to locate the information they need right away. Provide a Contact form so that customers can e mail you, chat or call you with further questions.
Parting E-Commerce Website Design Advice
Do everything you can to make your website friendly, enjoyable, informative and inviting. Post high quality, valuable content so that your site will become the go-to site in your niche. Send out interesting, pertinent e mails and Tweets, invite your customers to join your social media pages and generally help them to see you as an honest and trustworthy individual.
This will garner you more new and repeat business and it will help prevent shopping cart abandonment since your visitors will be less likely to leave a nice individual such as yourself high and dry and wondering what happened! If you are looking for or thinking about building an e-commerce website, feel free to give us a call, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Much more to come your way, sign up for our email list and let us know if you have any specific questions. We are here to help!