Purchase abandonment

Checkout abandonment can happen at any stage of an online transaction.

From becoming disinterested during the initial browsing, to dropping out right at the checkout. Each of these is a substantial problem for any online business. While studies disagree on exact numbers, even lowest end estimates suggest checkout abandonment is at a staggeing 55%. If your business wants to put a dent in that figure in 2020, consider implementing the following four ideas.

Keep Costs Visible

The spectre of abandonment haunts 55% of near-purchases that reach checkout stage, for one reason. Extra costs are too high. A 2019 survey of over 2,500 internet consumers concluded that this was the single largest cause of checkout abandonment.

What are ‘extra costs’? Things like shipping, taxes, tariffs and so on, that only get added on at the very last stage of the purchasing process. Their sudden arrival can catch the consumer unawares. The final figure paints a painful realisation of the true cost of their purchases.

While these expenses are often unavoidable, their impact on purchase decisions can be reduced. The key issue is the element of surprise. If customers only find out just how much they will be spending at the end of the purchasing process, they can feel deceived. There are ways around this, such as including shipping costs at every stage, as well as an approximate estimate of taxes. These changes can mean the difference between a sale going through, and an indignant closing of a browser window.

Free Shipping

One way to deal with the sudden costs issue is to do away with perhaps the single biggest eCommerce related charge. While parking fees and transport costs are a problem for high streets, they are not directly connected to physical purchases. In contrast, shipping costs are seen at the final point of sale during every single online transaction.

Data gathered by Google revealed just how important shipping costs can be. US, UK, and Brazilian online shoppers rated free shipping as the second most important factor in making a purchase. The only factor ranked above this was confidence that they were getting the lowest price for the item.

Whether the cost of shipping is built into your products profit margins, or if the cost is simply absorbed by the business, appearance is key. Free shipping gives the strong sense that the online retailer is meeting its customers part way.

Mobile First

Abandonment rates strongly correlate to the size of the device being used. As of 2017 mobile phones account for just over half of all eCommerce, but abandonment rates on mobile are much higher. For mobile phone users, the cart abandonment rate is 86%. On tablets, that number drops to an estimated 81%, while on desktops Barilliance estimates that abandonment rates fall to as “low” as 73%.

These numbers show that when it comes to 2020 eCommerce, it is no longer enough to be mobile optimised. Your online store has to be built around mobiles first and foremost. It needs to be as easy as possible to make purchases on the smallest possible screens.

Experiment with your Emails

Emailing customers about abandoned carts is a widely used and effective strategy. As is the case with so many such strategies, the devil is in the details. The data would suggest that this is not a one size fits all situation.

Data from 1,000 eCommerce websites found almost two thirds of businesses didn’t need to include an offer code in their abandoned cart emails to gain a sale. For those who did include a discount code, most would only provide discounts between 10-20%. Almost all would include the code within the first two abandonment emails. From this we can see that including discounts is far from essential, but there is still a substantial body of retailers who find them useful. To learn what is right for you, there is no option but the scientific method. Test and experiment as much as possible to see what is right for your customers.

Guest Checkout

For many customers, when an online retailer requires that you create an account before you buy, that is one step too many to be worth bothering with. 34% of checkout stage abandonment is caused by mandatory account creation, with 26% of customers feeling that the process to place the order was too “long or complex”. Guest checkout options are essential to solve this issue. If a customer knows they can buy quickly and easily, they are much more likely to come back to purchase again.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that in UX design, simplicity is king. The more complex the process, the fewer people will convert. But sometimes online retailers are so keen to keep hold of customers details for future sales, they end up risking immediate conversion. The ability for a customer to make a purchase as a guest, without an account, will be essential in the 2020 eCommerce landscape. This will need to be especially easy on a mobile, where setting up an account could be very work intensive.

With the lowest end estimates suggesting that 55% of all online carts get abandoned, online retailers find themselves facing an uphill struggle. Yet with consideration and carefully planned testing of specific techniques, that figure can be reduced.

Publicly available research and keeping up on market trends is the beginning of your solution. To go the extra mile, you need to make the most of what you already know. Monitor all your KPIs through one dashboard. With functionality like OrderWise’s Business Intelligence module, and its connections to OrderWise eCommerce and OrderWise Marketing, you can see your company’s activity more clearly than ever. Giving you the insights you need to better manage your business and achieve success.

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