Saturday 03 August, 2013
How often do you see a shopper at a brick and mortar store suddenly walk out of the shop, leaving their shopping cart full of goods unpurchased? It happens pretty rarely. But in the world of online shopping, it’s extremely common. With a virtual shopping cart system, this is known as an abandoned shopping cart and one metric ecommerce stores look at is the ‘abandonment rate.’
The only good thing about abandoned shopping carts online is that you don’t have to take all the items and put them back on the shelf. In the past, marketers have looked at a high abandonment rate as a sign that something’s terribly wrong with their store. The truth is that it’s not necessarily an indication of something wrong. But if you can decrease your abandonment rate, you’ll get more sales.
How Many Carts Are Abandoned?
There are many different estimates for shopping cart abandonment rate. A recent study by Baymard Institute puts the average at 67%. Some websites claim average abandonment rates are as high as 90% or more. A reliable estimate is that around 75% of all online transactions are abandoned before they reach check-out.
Why People Abandon Shopping Carts
In fact, often the reasons for abandoned shopping carts have nothing to do with your ecommerce store. People may go all the way to the end of the process just to find out how much shipping costs are. Your shopping cart probably tallies it only at the end when they’re ready to check out.
They may be comparison shopping, checking out your prices while they also add items to a virtual shopping cart on another ecommerce site. Maybe they’re just browsing and they’ll make their purchases later (which illustrates that abandoned carts aren’t necessarily lost sales).
However, it could mean that your checkout process is confusing or difficult. If you require customers to register before making payment or enter a lot of complicated information, this is sure to raise your abandonment rate.
What You Can Do About It
Abandonment rate may not be a life or death metric, but it’s something any good ecommerce store would like to see decrease. There are measures you can take to lower the rate and improve sales. These include:
* Making the checkout process easier
* Presenting shipping information in detail ahead of checkout
* Not asking for too much personal information upon checkout
* Letting customers know if they qualify for free shipping as they shop (rather than at the end – many customers abandon carts when they discover they won’t get free shipping).
As in all things ecommerce, focus on the customer. Go through the checkout process on your own before you launch your store to make sure it’s as smooth and easy as possible. And don’t forget to offer lots of product information and responsive customer service.