Online sellers are facing an abandonment crisis. According to a report from Barilliance, 78% of online shoppers leave a website without checking out, a number that has been increasing over the past five years. The rate is even higher on mobile devices, with nearly 85% of carts left abandoned, a figure that is truly shocking considering the fact that mobile consumerism is on the rise.
While there are certainly some valid reasons behind an abandoned cart, many online retailers are guilty of major e-commerce mistakes that are killing conversions.
Let’s discuss seven of the top reasons for abandonment, along with logical and effective solutions that can help to grow conversion rates.
1. Problem: Hidden Costs
The previously mentioned report from Barilliance also found that the number one reason why customers abandoned their orders was due to unexpected costs, such as additional shipping expenses, extra taxes, or handling fees. Not knowing your actual total until the last checkout page can be quite shocking and this sudden surprise could cause the customer to rethink their purchase.
Instead of displaying the final price on the last checkout page right before confirmation, it is best to keep this number calculated from the very beginning. Also, be sure to clearly display all shipping rates and offer several options to help keep costs to a minimum.
2. Problem: Cold Feet Consumers
Most first-time customers tend to approach online retailers with a little bit of skepticism. Unfortunately, many shoppers have had bad experiences with online businesses, ranging from receiving a product that didn’t match up to their expectations to having their private information sold or stolen.
Typically, these apprehensions will be strongest the moment that the customer is faced with a final decision to purchase. Therefore, you must do all that you can to build a sense of trust and confidence with customers throughout their interactions with your website.
One of the best ways to do this is through customer reviews. Studies have found that consumers trust a business more after reading several reviews from previous customers. Be sure that you are gathering highly detailed feedback to paint a full picture.
These customer reviews of Trustpilot are a great example. Reviewers are asked to share the pros and cons of their experience and offer advice to new customers. This kind of review content is super transparent and gives skeptical customers the information they need for a confident purchasing decision.
3. Problem: Site forcing to create an account first
Barilliance’s report also found that 22% of customers will abandon their cart if they are forced to create a user account. Ultimately, many customers view this as a time-consuming and unnecessary step, especially if they have no intentions of buying from your online store again.
The solution to this abandonment trigger is to offer enticing incentives that make the process of creating an account worthwhile. The benefits this process offers to the retailer are quite obvious: it helps create a database of customer information for easier targeting.
But what does it offer the customer?
Create some exciting perks that come along with a customer account, such as birthday gifts, loyalty points, or even better customization. For instance, the clothing retailer Madewell uses personalization as a major incentive for account creation, along with discounts and free shipping.
4. Problem: Out of Stock
Obviously, an item going out of stock during the time a customer spends browsing on your website is going to be frustrating. Unfortunately, this issue is fairly out of your hands as a retailer, but there are some steps you can take to make this issue less frequent.
One solution here is to warn customers that a product is low in stock. Some websites will even display a countdown to how many are left in inventory to spur a quicker checkout.
Another solution here is, of course, better inventory management. Some online retailers are using AI and machine learning technology to predict upswings in demand to restock inventory accordingly. Preparing for influxes of purchases ahead of time can help you avoid the problem altogether.
5. Problem: Complicated Checkout Process
The more steps and fill-in boxes that a customer needs to complete before they buy, the lower the chance that they will make it all the way through to the end. The nature of online shopping thrives on impulse buys and convenience. The reason that many customers prefer to shop online is because it is much easier than going to a store; therefore, the checkout process should be just as easy as it would at a brick and mortar location.
Try to remove any unnecessary steps or offer smart tools to make things simpler. For instance, using an auto-filter that enters the customer’s shipping city and state based on their zip code saves just a few seconds, but it offers the kind of convenience that customers want. Another useful tool here is multiple payment options.
Allowing customers to use Apple Pay or Samsung Pay means that they don’t have to manually enter their credit card information every time. Some retailers, like Tiffany & Co., use smart technology through the phone’s camera lens to scan a credit card and auto-populate the numbers for faster payment processing.
Keep in mind, every extra step in the checkout process is a chance for the customer to reconsider their decision to buy.
6. Problem: Unsatisfactory Return Policy
Anticipation of future issues can be another reason why customers abandon their cart before making a final purchase. If they get the sense that returning or exchanging a product is going to be a big hassle, they may just avoid the situation altogether by looking for a different seller.
Offering a great return policy can be tricky and difficult, especially for smaller online organizations. It may not be possible to compete with giants like Amazon that offer free shipping and unlimited returns.
For example, you might not be able to offer returns on clearance items. Make sure that this fact is extremely clear before the customer checks out by displaying a note on the shopping cart page.
Furthermore, whatever your return policy is, it should be extremely clear and understandable so customers are not faced with any unexpected issues.
7. Problem: Security Concerns
With the increasing number of data breaches that are occurring every year, it is no wonder that today’s consumers are increasingly worried about the safety of their private information.
If a customer has any qualms about your website’s data security, it will almost certainly cause them to leave without a full conversion. In fact, according to one study, one-third of online shoppers admit they have decided to abandon their cart because they were worried about the safety of their payment information.
Obviously, the clear solution is to integrate safety systems that use proper encryption techniques to prevent data hacking. However, simply using these systems is not enough to dispel this worry from all of your customers. The study mentioned above also found that nearly 70% of consumers actively look for signs that a website is secure before they make a purchase. Therefore, your website must clearly display the tools that it has in place and explain all of the measures it takes to ensure safe transactions.
On the checkout page, it should be clear you offer SSL encryption, along with any other safety measures. If your business has been awarded any certifications or utilizes multiple security tools, display these symbols (known as trust badges) to reduce concerns.
There are plenty of objections that customers come up with to avoid making a final purchasing decision. You need to prioritize your process to reduce abandonment and combat concerns with smart approaches and tools. Ultimately, your online store should give customers peace of mind and fewer reasons to leave before checking out.