10 Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping Cart abandonment can easily lead to a headache for most retailers; however, it is easier for consumers to abandon their carts while shopping online rather than in a retail store. Shopping online can be easier than shopping in a retail store, but this increases the chance of abandonment. Apparently, cart abandonment rates reached as high as 60% last year due to the economy. Many people were jittery about whether or not to spend money in fear their money spending would backfire.

Check out 10 useful tips that can help you reduce shopping cart abandonment at your online store.

1. Ensure you show stock availability on product web pages and let consumers know which countries you ship to. If a consumer places something in their shopping cart only to discover later it is out-of-stock they will not be happy. In addition, make which countries you ship to highly visible. Try to ship to as many countries as possible.

Do not forget to disable the shopping cart button for products that are out-of-stock or on back order. This can save both you and your customers any unwanted frustration.

2. Let your consumers know the tax and shipping charges before they check-out. This will help avoid any shock with the total charge. This is the number one reason consumers abandon their online shopping carts.

3. Do not require a log-in. Instead, allow the option for a guest to check-out. Do not make account creation mandatory, but rather make it an option after check-out is completed. Rather, explain the advantages of having an account (faster check-out time, order tracking, special discounts, etc.) to consumers without being too aggressive.

4. Use SSL (secure socket layer) certificates on your online website. Make sure that you renew these certificates when they expire. These certificates protect the personal information and credit card numbers of your consumers. SSL certificates reduce the chance of identity theft. Many customers look for these certificates. If your online store does not have them, you will lose business.

Consumers want to know that you are looking out for them and you care about their business. SSL certificates are one way of showing that you care to keep their personal data and credit card information safe. Identity theft is a huge issue and worries many people. Avoid making it easy for identity thieves to steal information from your site.

5. Make credibility indicators such as TrustE and McAfee badges visible on your website. Many customers look for these badges and avoid websites and online stores that do not have these credibility badges. These badges can help you avoid cart abandonment in your online store.

6. Always ask for an email address in the first step in the check-out process. Email addresses are useful for validation, special offers if they request it, and providing them with helpful information such as a confirmation order. Inform your customers that their email address will only be used for order purposes only. For instance, if there is a problem with their order or to notify customers when their order has been shipped.

7. Place a link to the privacy policy in plain view. It is a good idea to place this link near where the customer must enter their personal information. If the customer wishes to view the privacy policy, use pop-up windows so the customer does not have to leave the check-out process. If a customer has to start all over again after clicking a link, they will most likely abandon their cart instead of having to deal with starting the process all over again.

In addition, it is important that consumers have access to the privacy policy. The privacy policy will tell them everything they need to know about returns, information about your company, and other important, useful information.

Your privacy policy should be clear, concise, and compact. A consumer should be able to read your privacy policy and clearly understand what your terms are.

8. Provide a toll-free 1-800/877 number on each page. Place the number within easy view so customers can easily contact you or a company representative if need be. In addition, it can be helpful to provide a unique number that is tied to the cart. This makes it easier to keep track of how many calls were made concerning the cart process. Mongoose Metrics is one site that provides unique 1-800 numbers and tracks conversions with Google Analytics.

9. Never ask for more information than you need. Consumers do not want to fill out more information than they need to. In addition, requesting unnecessary information can make your business appear sketchy and your online store will be avoided.

Mark only the required fields with asterisks so customers can check-out faster. Make all other requested information optional. Customers can easily become frustrated if their form will not process because there is an empty field. Make the check-out process less frustrating by making only necessary information required for the check-out process. You do not want to make your customers frustrated or angry.

Also, make it an option for customers to sign up for discounts or the newsletter during their check-out. Inform them of the benefits of signing up for either, but not push it. You want their decision to be voluntary and not forced. If you sound too sale-like or aggressive, customers are going to abandon their carts rather than choose to do business with you.

10. Remember that customers will use online shopping carts to bookmark items of interest and come back to purchase the times later. Not all customers are going to buy their items right away. You may want to consider cookie length and using a shopping cart that is persistent. Persistent shopping carts can save the items in the cart for a number of days. Let customers know on the online shopping cart summary page how long their items and the cart details will be saved in the cart. Provide any other important information about the shopping cart on the cart summary page as well.

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