At a glance
By Nigel Bowen
In a bricks-and-mortar store, it is rare for someone to put items into a shopping trolley, wheel it to the cash register and then vanish. For online shopping, however, this happens more often than not.
There is no shortage of possible reasons – shipping costs, delivery issues, poor check-out experience and untrustworthy-looking websites are the most commonly cited suspects.
However, there are strategies small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can put in place to minimise cart abandonment and get their customers to click “pay”.
Provide a seamless shopping experience
Shannon Ingrey, vice president and general manager APAC of BigCommerce, despairs that many SMEs continue to believe that simply having a website is enough to drive sales.
“In 2021, it’s not enough to just have an online presence and e-commerce facilities,” he says.
“Businesses need to go beyond just providing a functional site and identify and address consumers’ desires.”
Ingrey suggests any business wanting to reduce cart abandonment start by investigating their customers’ pain points.
“To take two examples, consumers increasingly want to ‘click and collect’ goods and use ‘buy now, pay later’ to purchase both goods and services.
“Any business that isn’t offering these delivery and payment options is costing itself sales. If you don’t want consumers to abandon carts, obsess over providing them with a seamless shopping experience,” Ingrey says.
Do your analysis
Eshita Durve, marketing manager and automation specialist at the digital marketing agency Rocket, says that Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) analysis often reveals that confusion around shipping or payment options is behind cart abandonment for many SMEs.
“Shipping details should be clearly displayed,” Durve says.
“E-commerce businesses should consider adding a header banner on all pages and more prominent text on the product pages and check-out page to highlight shipping information.
“It’s the same deal with payment options. You don’t want to lose a sale because a potential customer isn’t sure whether you accept AfterPay, or ApplePay or American Express.”
Once this low-hanging fruit has been plucked, it is time to bring out the digital marketing “big guns”.
“If a customer has signalled an interest in your product by putting it in their cart, it’s a no-brainer to send them follow-up emails providing them with more information about the product,” Durve says.
“You may also want to offer a limited-time discount to prompt a quick purchasing decision.
“Remarketing can be remarkably effective, too – having ads pop up on a warm lead’s Facebook or Instagram feed is often enough to get them over the line.”
Respect the customer’s time
“Customers don’t like friction, and they’re not afraid to take their business elsewhere,” Warboys says. Customers also want “personalised interactions at every touchpoint, as well as faster answers that they can find on their own time”.
“Businesses should conduct rigorous user testing to ensure their website is as intuitive and user-friendly as possible,” Warboys says.
“The check-out flow should pull buyers forward and be as helpful as possible. And it’s critical to measure your cart abandonment rate, so you can have insight into how many shoppers aren’t completing a purchase.
“In an age of easily replicable products and empowered buyers, businesses need to maintain a laser focus on helping their customers achieve their objectives throughout the entire sales journey”.
CEO of Bluewire Media and digital marketing expert Adam Franklin argues that, while people have grown accustomed to buying online, they still worry about their money being stolen or about receiving a substandard product for which they won’t be able to get a refund.
“Consumers who are reassured they won’t be ripped off are less inclined to abandon carts,” Franklin says. He advises SMEs to reassure consumers by doing the following:
1. Provide social proof
“This can be anything from text and video testimonials from satisfied customers to celebrity endorsements, to 5-star reviews from your Google My Business page to a list of the industry awards your business has won to an ‘In the News’ page displaying the media coverage your business has received.”
2. Address financial concerns
“Consumers want to know they can get their money back, with a minimum of hassle if what you’re selling doesn’t live up to their expectations.
“The reason smart operators highlight the fact that they offer a no questions asked, money-back guarantee is that it reduces the likelihood of consumers panicking when they reach the final stage of the shopping cart check-out process.”
3. Offer a human connection
“Consumers like to know they have the option of chatting to a human.
“Most of the time, they will never use your helpline. But they are more inclined to buy from you if they’re confident they can get on the phone and have a real-time conversation with an employee or representative if any issues arise.”