Is your ecommerce site suffering from too many abandoned shopping carts—and too few completed sales? Here are 6 steps you can take to improve the odds that customers check out.
- Provide shipping costs and other price information upfront. Many customers abandon their carts after adding up their purchases and discovering that shipping costs or taxes are prohibitive. Of course, offering free shipping is a great way to increase sales, but if you can’t afford to do so, at least be sure customers can clearly find information about shipping from the home page (and every page) of your ecommerce site. Consider providing a shipping and/or sales tax calculator early in the process. One site I use regularly has a shipping estimator that pops up right on the product page so you can put in your ZIP code and see how much that pair of shoes will cost to send. This feature can be especially useful if you ship large or bulky items that might incur extra shipping charges.
- Speed them through checkout. Just like in real life, customers get antsy and may give up if they have to “wait in line” too long. Keep your checkout process as short as possible. For example, letting shoppers check out without having to create an account makes it more likely they’ll buy. (Offer the option for shoppers to create an account that stores their information after the order is placed.) Minimize the number of fields that must be filled out and, if you have to ask for information some people don’t want to share (like their phone number), explain why and how it will be used (“We will only use this number to contact you in case of a problem with your order.”).
- Help indecisive customers out. If possible, adding a “Buy Later” or “Wish List” feature that lets customers “store” items in their carts is a great idea. This keeps shoppers from abandoning carts altogether. Because they must create an account to do this, not everyone will use the feature, but for those who do, the account lets you remind them of the items they’ve set aside.
- Send reminders. Look for an ecommerce order fulfillment system that can automate email reminders and set them to be triggered by certain events, such as sending them X days or hours after a cart has been abandoned, when an item in the cart has gone down in price, or when stock of an item in the cart is running low.
- Provide enough information to make the sale. Lackluster product photos; being able to view a product from only one angle or in only one color; or not having information such as dimensions, weight or materials can cause customers to abandon products because they’re not 100 percent sure it’s what they want. Provide as much information as you can, including a wide range of photos, videos of the product in use, product reviews, questions and answers, so customers feel confident in making the purchase.
- Answer questions. Last, but not least, customers abandon carts when they can’t get help—so make sure you provide plenty of ways for shoppers to contact you and get answers in real-time.