More than just window shopping
eCommerce shopping cart abandonment causes brands a sobering USD 18 Billion in annual revenue [Forrester Research]. While rates differ by device, with mobile and tablet device users most likely to leave before completing their order, nearly 70 percent of shoppers desert their eCommerce shopping cart before committing to purchase [Baymard Institute].
Some of this is due to unavoidable factors like shoppers comparing online prices, saving items for later, looking at gift options, or just good old-fashioned window shopping. Some, however, are entirely avoidable and are matters of user experience (UX), process bottlenecks, site design, and when an eCommerce company alienates the shopper by contradicting their expectations of a smooth and successful purchase process. Here are the four main reasons why shoppers abandon carts.
1. Delivery costs
It’s estimated that over half of shoppers are swayed by free delivery [Statistica]. The likes of Amazon have established this as the conventional practice. Extra costs like taxes, shipping, handling fees, and surcharges, are unwelcome additions on top of any listed product price. Shoppers value convenience, and delivery costs add friction. Psychologically, shoppers would rather pay USD 14.99 (with free shipping) than USD 12.99 (plus shipping).
There should be no surprises in the purchase journey, especially in the current financial climate where most people are looking for brands at competitive rates and are skeptical enough to feel “cheated” if there are additions to the purchase price. Opticians sell more spectacles if the price on the shelves is transparent and includes lenses, frames, fitting, tints, etc., and the same principle is true of the eCommerce checkout process. Some shoppers may need express shipping and will be happy to pay for it, but for the majority of prospects free shipping will always triumph.
2. Enforced account creation
Nearly a quarter of shoppers cancel a purchase because an eCommerce site demands they create an account. First-time eCommerce shoppers want a fast, friction-free checkout experience, and this is not synonymous with the account creation process.
There is also a privacy element here, with shoppers reluctant to hand over unnecessary details when all they really need to provide is a name, email address, and (if necessary) postal address. While our marketing teams may want to know more, some simple A/B testing will likely show our prospects would rather be a “Guest”, perhaps with added discounts as an incentive to create an account should they choose to, than go through an account creation process on their first visit.
3. Loading times
No one likes watching a loading icon, it makes a site look broken and causes an unwelcome pause in the purchase journey. Purchases are based on trust, and shoppers are naturally skeptical of any site that doesn’t appear professional or doesn’t offer a smooth road to purchase. In general, if an eCommerce site doesn’t load within 3 seconds, 57 percent of shoppers will abandon their transaction [Vouchercloud]. Soberingly, 80 percent of these shoppers will then never return to that site.
This is especially true during peak shopping periods, where there is a high likelihood that customers are visiting for the first time to capitalize on sales, promotions, or to take advantage of limited-time offers. A website traffic system can be invaluable here, where a prospect is put into an orderly queue and given an estimated wait time, vastly improving the user experience and smoothing the path to purchase.
4. Trust with financial data
eCommerce shoppers need to trust that a store won’t put their personal and financial information in jeopardy, leaving it exposed to bad actors and subjecting it to poor security practices. Nearly 20 percent of shoppers abandon their online shopping carts because they don’t trust an eCommerce site with their financial information. [Shopify].
Good security practices and the use of common protocols, like Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocols and Transport Layer Security (TLS), can help to foster shopper trust. Insisting on strong and unique passwords, perhaps through the inclusion of a password strength indicator at sign-up, can also help to show an eCommerce site cares about its users’ online safety. The use of multi-factor authentication (2FA, 3FA, etc.) shows that a website cares about shoppers having their accounts hacked or data stolen. In addition, the role of the modern CISO is changing, and security is now more of a PR exercise where online brands are happier to wear their security thought leadership credentials on their sleeve than they have been before.
Let customers pay however they want to pay through recognized payment gateways. WorldPay, PayPal, Apple Pay, Square, and others, are all trusted platforms that the shopper may have used before, as well as offering more diverse payment options than just the likes of Visa. Multiple payment options also give shoppers another layer of protection if they are concerned their data might be at risk – the gateways often offer fraud protection as a feature.
The path of least resistance
Online shoppers expect an easy journey. While it may be obvious, the majority of shopping cart abandonment issues can be addressed by a little brand psychology and improving usability and design. Give customers what they expect, ask for no more than you need, offer reassurance, avoid surprises, and ensure a smooth and frictionless purchase process.
There are plenty of other places an eCommerce shopper can go, but by addressing these four main reasons shoppers abandon eCommerce carts we can make more sales and create more repeat visitors.
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