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E-commerce Tip – Converting Curious Customers Into Satisfied Buyers

Every online business with any sort of shopping cart has experienced some sort of shopping cart abandonment – the number of shopping carts that are abandoned every year is staggeringly high. For example, the holiday season in 2011 saw 8 out of 10 online shopping carts abandoned before a purchase was made.

There are a variety of different factors that encourage and incite shopping cart abandonment; some are things that you as a business can work on, and some things you just cannot predict or control as they are unique to one particular shopper.


What Causes Shopping Cart Abandonment?

There are two main causes of shopping cart abandonment:

  • Price / Cost
  • Readiness

Other high-ranking issues include cart/website errors, distractions, and personal factors. There are all kinds of reasons that someone might abandon a cart they have started.

Whether they were just “window shopping” and trying to get an idea of the total cost of a purchase or were about to check out when they saw some pretty high shipping costs, no one can deny that money has a large role to play in the abandonment of online shopping carts.

Consumer readiness is also a very important factor in any online purchase; if someone isn’t ready (for whatever reason) to make a purchase, they will often abandon their cart and leave the website to go elsewhere. Now they might leave to contact the business they want to buy from by phone or send them a message to speak with someone in customer care, but the fact still remains that there was something amiss in the checkout process and this potential customer abandoned their cart.


How Can Cart Abandonment Be Addressed?

One of the easiest ways to address cart abandonment is to collect customer data and use it to follow up on an abandoned cart. This is commonly done by asking a potential customer to fill out a short form in order to begin the check out process; the caveat to this is that this is where many carts are abandoned in the fist place because a user doesn’t want to create an account simply to make a purchase, so the results of this particular method are mixed. On one hand it can deter buyers, but on the other hand it can make it easier for you to keep in touch with the people who were serious enough about their cart to move on to the next step in the process!

Another way that businesses can reduce abandonment is to make any and all additional costs and fees obvious (or at least provide an estimate of said costs/fees) to the customer before it comes time to purchase the items in their cart. Nothing beats the “sticker shock” consumers experience when they see the cost of shipping and processing/handling before check out! By indicating an approximate shipping total based on the value of items in the cart or as a flat fee while a user is still browsing, you are giving them an opportunity to adjust the items in their cart and arrive at a total that suits them, or to move on to another website earlier on in the process if that is what they need to do. In the end, even if the user abandons their cart to go elsewhere, they will not have the same negative impression that they might have developed from a bad case of sticker shock.



As an online shopper, what causes you to abandon a shopping cart? Do you think your experience tells you anything about how your own customers might feel and/or why they might abandon their shopping carts?


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