It cannot be denied that today, competition for customers between Ecommerce websites is huge. With so many online stores, customers are spoilt for choice. Despite coming in all shapes and sizes, one similarity Ecommerce sites all share is: the shopping cart. For something that is so easy to do in real life, online retailers often struggle with this process with many shoppers eventually turning away. This is otherwise known as ‘shopping cart abandonment’ and is when a shopper begins the checkout process but discontinues it halfway through. Ecommerce sites have an average cart abandonment rate of 55% to 75%. Although a high percentage, lucky for you this means some sites are also doing it right. Fear not, some minor changes can bring about major improvements and here are some tips to help you increase your shopping cart conversion rate:

1. Keep it short and sweet

It may seem obvious, but you should keep your shopping experience as quick and as easy as possible. The more steps you include, the lower your sales will be and the more opportunities your customer will have to change their mind. Thus, remove all unnecessary steps and excess details, only ask for essential information and ensure you require as few pages as possible to complete the checkout process.

You will often be tempted to ask your customer for as much data as possible. However, this is a big mistake. Don’t force your customers to register and allow them to buy without registering. If that isn’t an option, keep your registration form as clear and simple as possible and only ask for needed information – save the rest for later and eliminate unnecessary form fields.

2. Add clear Progress Indicators

These days people do not have the time or the patience to be trailing through superfluous stages of a checkout process. They want to know exactly how long it will take and be assured that it is quick and easy. Thus show your customers where they’re going and how much longer it will take.

3. Test, test, test

The reason you want to measure the performance of each step is to precisely determine where the highest amount of drop off is occurring. A recent Forrester study found that 89% of online consumers had abandoned their shopping cart at least once. I would advise the first thing you do is connect your shopping cart to Google Analytics. You may have a vague idea of where people are dropping out in your funnel, but by testing and identifying the problem areas you can find the specific leak and begin to address fixing it. By using Google Analytics, you can monitor these changes, know your conversion rates and thus gain key insights into your checkout funnel and user experience.

4. Provide Assurance & Trust

You may be surprised, but there are still many online shoppers that are buying for the first time and others that are naturally concerned about disclosing any credit card or personal information to a website. As a vendor, you need to ensure you assure your customers throughout their shopping experience. It may sound crazy but still only 65% of brands display security information within the checkout process. By improving and building trust between you and your customers, you’ll be able to counteract any concerns, acknowledge and relieve any last minute jitters they may have and make them feel comfortable and safe on your website. Here are some services you can offer to build trust on your website:

  • Display Trust and Security logos (Accreditations / 100% Secure Checkout)
  • Offer a satisfaction or money back guarantee
  • Display all contact and Customer Service information (phone, email, live chat, customer support center, social bookmark links e.g. Facebook / Twitter)
  • Provide customer testimonials and reviews

5. Reingage

Unfortunately no online business will achieve a 100% conversion rate and whether we like it or not, cart abandonment is going to happen. However, this isn’t the end of the world. What is important is knowing where and when an individual abandoned their cart. With this information, you’ll be able to create automated messages to send to these visitors shortly after to encourage them to come back to their cart. Via email marketing you have a fantastic tool to follow up and recover a possible sale when customers abandon their cart or become distracted checking other prices and sites.

6. Don’t charge for shipping

There’s no two ways about it, charging for shipping is a conversion killer. 93% of customers would make more purchases if shipping was free and an E-tailing Group research study showed that ‘unconditional free shipping for all purchases’ was by far the most important criteria for customers. Merchants such as Walmart, Amazon and Zappo have become free shipping pioneers and have since led the way with shipping cost expectations.

If you can’t offer free shipping for all purchases, try to work around this and offer ‘Free shipping if you spend $25 or more’, for example. Otherwise be sure to mention your shipping costs upfront to your customers. If you can charge a flat fee instead of per item, then do. Remember, there is no bigger conversion killer at checkout than surprise shipping fees and finding out they weren’t initially included.

7. Entice your customers (photos, videos, customization)

Lastly, when shopping online, people want to see what they’re getting. Here are a few things you can do to improve your site:

Ensure you include a variety of top quality product images and clear product descriptions. Make your product pages persuasive and use compelling images. Show them from different angles, colours and make them zoomable.

Now, images are good, but product videos are better. If you can create some short and concise product videos for at least some of your inventory then do so.

Customization is king. People like to customize things. It’s cool, fun and creates a sense of ownership. Once someone has spent a few minutes designing and personalizing their own product, they feel more attached and have a higher chance of making the purchase.

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