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Shopping Cart Abandonment

The Achilles heel of online retail has to be shopping cart abandonment. Although ecommerce provides consumers a convenient and valuable service, companies have been fighting this online ailment for quite some time. 

According to recent Business Insider data, $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year. While that figure seems gut-wrenching, online retailers should not fear entirely. The same Business Insider study found 63 percent of that figure is potentially recoverable if business owners are savvy in their online retailing (1). 

Keeping that in mind, here are three tips on how to avoid shopping card abandonment: 

  1. Be honest about shipping costs: Let's face it, customers don't like surprises when they're shopping - unless that surprise comes in the form of a discount or deal. However, not being completely transparent about shipping costs will end up hurting businesses in ecommerce. According to a Visual Website Optimizer study 28 percent of shoppers surveyed said unexpected shipping costs directly led to shopping cart abandonment, which was the largest response of any category in the report. Shoppers really don't like having to pay a lot for shipping, but if they're slapped with an expensive shipping cost during checkout, they're much more likely to abandon their cart (2).
  2. Make the checkout seamless: In addition to being honest about your shipping costs, it's imperative that your checkout process is simple and seamless. Shopping cart abandonment risk increases with each new landing page or hoop customers have to go through to complete their transaction. One way is to accept multiple forms of payment at the point of sale, giving the customer the option to choose whichever is easiest for them. The overall goal is to ask for as little information as you need so customers aren't tempted to leave your site before they complete a transaction.
  3. Build trust: Personal computers and laptops changed how we shop for products online. More recently, tablets and smartphones are now altering ecommerce even more, which highlights the importance to provide consumers with assurances that their information is protected.  Inc. magazine suggests making guarantees, warranties, service, and security icons easy to locate on your site (3). Information breaches are commonplace and the consumer will appreciate the security guarantee. The modern-day buying journey is a complex experience, but if businesses are there to provide support every step of the way, a business can decrease the chances of shopping cart abandonment through its excellent service. The more assurances a customer has with a brand, the more likely it is for the consumer to show loyalty to the business.

1. Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-retailers-can-reduce-shopping-cart-abandonment-and-recoup-billions-of-dollars-in-lost-sales-2014-4 (Mar. 4, 2015)

2. Visual Web Optimizer, http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/310840/file-2031207983-pdf/VWO_ecommerce_report_new.pdf?__hssc=109314842.1.1427744907938&__hstc=109314842.070c2bf4664523977222cedd91496487.1427742524146.1427742524146.1427744907938.2&hsCtaTracking=b9a35d76-d32d-423e-aaed-572a805adc98|71f41019-1a1a-46df-9ae0-c71a43cd02ca (2014)

3. Inc. Magazine, http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/7-simple-ways-to-decrease-shopping-cart-abandonment.html (Jan. 18, 2012)


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