Tips for Combatting Cart Abandonment
The rapid growth of online shopping over the past year has been welcomed news for merchants facing a decrease in brick-and-mortar sales stemming from the pandemic. A recent report found that U.S. e-commerce sales were up 44 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. However, despite record e-commerce growth during the past 12 months, merchants are still facing a serious hurdle: cart abandonment.
With more than three in every four shoppers leaving their digital carts before buying, cart abandonment costs the global e-commerce industry $18 billion annually in sales revenue. And cart abandonment rates could potentially climb even higher. A growing trend in recent months has seen consumers with no intention of making a purchase visiting e-commerce websites, filling their shopping carts with merchandise, and then leaving without buying anything — a kind of virtual window shopping.
What can e-commerce merchants do to reduce cart abandonment and entice online window shoppers to complete their transactions? The following are actionable insights to help merchants create the best possible e-commerce checkout experience for customers and hopefully eliminate the barriers that lead to cart abandonment.
Clear Product Information
Make sure you offer clear product information that helps the shopper make a decision. Are the photos helpful? If it’s clothing or shoes, are you showing someone wearing it? If it’s a mechanical part, do you have the correct technical specifications, serial numbers, etc., so the consumer knows it's the correct part?
Let buyers know upfront about flexible payment options, preferably before they get to the cart. Consider buy now, pay later (BNPL) options that might help shoppers who don’t want to buy on credit and pay interest find a path to work that purchase into their budget. In addition to offering BNPL options (e.g., Klarna, PayPal Pay in 4, Affirm, etc.), make sure you also include a mix of traditional credit and wallet options (e.g., Apple Pay, PayPal) to help the buyer choose what's best for them.
Present clear pricing for the entire purchase. If there's any value-added tax (VAT) or other landed costs for cross-border purchases, shipping costs, etc., make sure those costs are transparent to the consumer.
Offer a real-time chat feature for any product or checkout questions. You don’t want a shopper to abandon their cart because they had a simple question that went unanswered. You should also offer a FAQs section at checkout to answer any common questions about shipping, returns, etc.
Make sure your fraud solution is optimized to mitigate the number of false-positive credit declines. Failure to do this is frustrating for both the shopper and the brand.
Offer multiple shipping options and delivery expectations so shoppers can choose what works best for them. This should include the flexibility to ship cross-border, ensuring you aren’t excluding customers who want to purchase your product.
Make sure your site is localized for language, preferred payment options, and cultural awareness of what the shopping experience should be like region by region. If it doesn’t look right to the consumer, they might walk away. Back-end localization is also important to support “in-country” transactions. Local currencies are not only important from a shopper point of view, but a truly local experience might also include local processing and a local entity structure to eliminate foreign transaction fees.
Make sure your checkout process is seamless, simple and flexible. In addition to shipping the product, consider a click-and-collect option if you have physical locations.
Convert and Keep
Once you’ve converted a customer, keep that customer. For recurring purchases like subscriptions, make sure you have optimized billing practices to eliminate as much unintended customer churn as possible. It's less expensive to keep a customer than it is to go out and find a new one.
Unfortunately, cart abandonment isn’t fully preventable and will always be an opportunity for online retailers to minimize. However, e-commerce merchants can use these insights to create a more seamless customer experience that can increase conversions and ultimately grow e-commerce sales.
Jason Hofmann is the senior vice president of customer success and partner enablement at Digital River, a completely integrated solution for all the back-office functions of e-commerce. Digital River enables businesses to sell across the world with a single connection to the platform of your choice.
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