April 8, 2010

Addressing Shopping Cart Abandonment


Hostway Team

By Winmark Business Solutions

People used to abandon online shopping carts because they didn't understand how online stores and ecommerce works. Now, it's because they do.

Despite ongoing efforts to streamline online purchasing processes, online retailers continue to experience staggering abandonment rates: studies estimate that 50 to 90 percent of all shopping cart purchases are abandoned midstream.

This is because online-savvy consumers are using shopping carts to browse more than to buy. Knowing that shipping costs, handling charges, sales tax, product availability and delivery methods vary widely among online retailers, customers use shopping carts to compare vendors.

To distinguish the best online offer, many consumers visit three to five different online vendors and use their shopping carts to determine the final cost of buying before deciding where to make the purchase.

By knowing that shoppers use their cart for comparison, online retailers can serve customers better:

  • Flexibility — A shopping cart should allow customers to adjust their order without returning to product pages. Customers should be able to change quantities and options. If a product comes in multiple sizes or colors, make it easy to select or change options in the shopping cart.
  • Shipping— Provide complete shipping information. If you offer multiple shipping methods, show the cost for each. If customers print out the shopping cart for offline comparison to other vendors, they can compare different methods without returning to your site.
  • Availability — Specify whether products are in stock. If items aren't in stock, indicate availability dates. Allow customers to leave an email address if they want to be notified when an out-of-stock item becomes available.
  • Contact—- Include contact information in your shopping cart. Providing telephone and email contact information puts shoppers at ease, and allows them to contact you easily if they print out information for offline comparison.
  • Remember — Have your shopping cart remember customers' orders even after they leave your site. This allows them to place the order quickly if they return to your site after evaluating competitors.
  • Simplify — Make the checkout process easy for new customers. Allow individuals to place orders without creating an account. Limit the amount of marketing data you collect when someone places an order.
  • Survey — Implement a survey to random visitors who abandon their shopping cart. Ask them to identify the top reasons they decided to leave the site without making a purchase. And allow them to rate your prices and shipping charges in comparison to other sites.

Ultimately, the best means of finding out why consumers are leaving abandoned shopping carts at a website is to ask them.

About the Author

Winmark Business Solutions (WBS) is a free Web site for small businesses and entrepreneurs containing over 6,000 pages of business-critical information and downloadable tools at www.WBSonline.com. WBS is a division of Winmark Corporation, a multi-brand franchisor with nearly 900 franchise locations in North America. With over 25 years working with small businesses, WBS draws upon years of experience to bring important small business articles, information, tools, forms, checklists, calculators and downloadable forms to the small business owner to help their business grow. WBS contains over 6000 pages of business-critical information all available at www.WBSonline.com.

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