While it’s important to direct traffic to your online e-commerce venture in hopes of yielding substantial profits, it’s equally as important to ensure potential customers actually follow through with the online purchase transaction once the selected items placed in a shopping cart are to be processed at the “check out”.
Many online merchants assume that once a potential customer drops an item in a shopping cart that it’s basically a done deal and calculate it prematurely as a finalized transaction. Recent stats among large online retailers, however, reflect a shopping cart abandonment rate of over 70%. Not only are these stats troubling to large online ventures, but small online endeavors also feel the financial wrath of shopping cart abandonment issues.
The Indecisive Shopper
Although shopping cart abandonment is among one of the largest marketing hurdles for online retailers to overcome, there are proactive steps online merchants can take to make the checkout process more user-friendly. Of course there are some influences that are simply beyond their control such as the inevitable event of potential customers changing his or her mind before completing the online transaction. Unfortunately, this is a factor that is entirely dependent on the customer’s needs as well as a strong marketing strategy to sell a product or service.
Real Time, Real Support
Perhaps the greatest way to prevent shopping cart abandonment is by offering real time customer service support. Often many customers encounter technical difficulties during the online transaction process. It’s not only frustrating for customers, but also to online merchants facing the potential of a missed opportunity. Reliable and efficient customer support is an effective solution to walk customers through the online purchasing transaction should issues arise. Ideally, live chat and toll-free phone support are the best options to provide immediate assistance to answer questions in real time during the actual transaction.
No Registration Required
As an online merchant, it’s imperative to cater to customers to allow them a quick and easy transaction without first having to register with a website or signup for a newsletter. While it’s a great way to track visitors and sale leads, for many potential customers it’s an automatic turn-off as they may not have the desire or time required to fill out registration information. Instead, offer customers the option to make an online transaction as a guest. Once the customer has completed the information in the purchase transaction, merchants can easily obtain any required details. Remember time is still an ageless commodity.
Details in the Fine Print
It’s also important to provide visitors with any necessary information clearly visible on the website before customers proceed to check out with their purchase to avoid shopping cart abandonment. Information such as money back guarantees, exchange and refund policies, shipping and handling fees, privacy policies, applicable state taxes, accepted payment methods and customer support contact information. By providing the above information posted in conspicuous sections of a website allows customers to make a more informed buying decision before finalizing the transaction.
Pointing the Way
Finally, as a last attempt to prevent shopping cart abandonment, progress indicators that guide customers through the purchase process from adding items to the shopping cart to the final checkout are helpful. Online merchants should strategically place progress indicators on the top center of checkout pages. Indicators should be numbered in the order of purchase sequence and highlighted as each step is completed. Also, customers appreciate the option of being able to return to the previous page without being required to re-enter information. As a general rule, the entire checkout process shouldn’t exceed three steps to complete the transaction.