There are many reasons why customers abandon shopping carts in your store which may derive from strictly psychological or behavioral patterns as well as formal or technical aspects of e-commerce. This time I’ll focus on the latter, but if you’d like to read more about the human factors behind abandoning shopping carts, feel free to go back to the previous part of this article series.
But now, let’s take a look at formal improvements you may implement to provide a seamless experience to your customers.
A solid technical infrastructure is needed to ensure a satisfactory online shopping experience but even robust systems experience temporary failures.
Screens don’t display properly, payment gateways stop working, promotional codes don’t register—the list goes on. All of these issues can cause frustration for shoppers and make it impossible to complete a transaction. The result is lost sales and possibly customers who will never return.
Even the loading time of your site can impact your sales figures, boosting the chances that visitors to the site will leave with each fraction of a second that the page takes to load.
TIP: You can never do too much to ensure the proper functioning of your online store:
- Test and retest any changes you implement and refrain from making big changes at times of increased customer traffic.
- Monitor the loading speed of your site using freely available tools. Pay particular attention to additional script or plugins that may cause delays.
- Add a live chat function that allows customers to quickly alert you to technical problems.
- While problems are being fixed, add a pop-up to inform visitors and let them know you are working on it along with an estimate of when things will return to normal.
Problems with delivery and returns
A lack of delivery options is another reason why carts can be abandoned since today’s consumer expects options for everything. What’s more, excessive delivery times take away from the immediacy of the purchase—customers want their merchandise now. Restrictive or unclear return policies can also be a factor driving abandoned carts.
Buying products online, sometimes far from their source, frequently comes with a slight uncertainty about the product and its quality since customers can’t see it up close and touch it for themselves. This means that a clearly defined return policy is key to making customers feel comfortable when making a purchase, especially the first purchase. No access to information on this subject can be enough to trigger the hesitation that results in another abandoned cart.
TIP: Delivery options and their details have to be clear to customers and make them feel secure about their order. There’s no better way to overcome this than to organize free shipping, either as part of a temporary promotion, a reward for making certain purchases or as a permanent feature. How to make it work financially is up to you, but there can be no doubt that it will boost your bottom line.
Also, giving customers delivery options (courier, express mail, personal pickup, etc.) is always a good idea. Make your return policy clear and accessible at all times. Let customers access the information they from every page. When questions about things like delivery and its costs or return policies are answered before customers get to the last stage of the transaction, there’s a much better chance that abandoned carts will be avoided
Problems with security and privacy
Online transactions must take place within a secure context of trust and confidence. Ironically, offline purchases are more anonymous than online since some identifying data is shared in e-commerce transactions. Shoppers today are aware of this and are reluctant to share any information that is not needed to complete an online transaction. The safety of any personal or financial data that they share is a primary concern among today’s consumers. Any doubts about the security of such information they share with you will almost certainly result in another abandoned cart.
TIP: Shoppers want to avoid any chance that they could be cheated out of products that they pay for online. Customers must also have absolute trust in any business that asks for private financial information. It’s a good idea to make your contact information and operating hours easily available along with certifications, customers reviews and opinions. Assure your customers that their sensitive personal data will be safely secured by sharing your SSL certification.
Customers abandon carts for a reason… many reasons
There are six main reasons why customers abandon carts:
- Lack of desire to buy
- Complicated ordering process
- Technical issues
- Problems with delivery and returns
- Problems with security and privacy
You can respond to all of these factors with a certain degree of influence by remembering to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider their needs at each part of the purchasing process.
Apart from the tips discussed in my articles, you can consider creating a buyer persona or implementing solutions based on artificial intelligence algorithms to provide an even better experience for your customers.