Online shopping has made it incredibly easy for people to fill up their digital shopping carts, go as far as the checkout page, and then close the tab without ever completing their purchase. In a lot of cases, consumers actually treat their online shopping carts as bookmarking tools.
This is a headache for retailers because it represents a huge amount of lost sales: Approximately $US4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year. But those lost sales are also a massive opportunity. About 63% of that $US4 trillion is potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers, according to BI Intelligence estimates. In order to win back those sales, retailers are using a number of strategies, from retargeting to auto-fill billing information.
In a new report, BI Intelligence explains what leads a shopper to abandon an online purchase and how retailers can begin to combat rising shopping cart abandonment rates. We collected and analysed data from top e-commerce companies, and spoke with industry experts whose job it is to reduce abandonment rates and boost conversions, to come up with a number of solutions that can help retailers recover lost sales.
Here’s a selection from the report of some of the key reasons shoppers abandon their shopping carts and how to fix those issues:
- Consumers are presented with unexpected costs. More than half of consumers halt their check-out process when they are presented with the unpleasant surprise of unexpected costs, according to WorldPay. Consumers want retailers to be more transparent about additional costs that they will incur from a purchase, and they should be made aware of these extra costs as early in the process as possible — is shipping free, what is the sales tax?
- Usability of the website/shopping cart. Roughly half of the top 100 U.S. e-commerce sites ask shoppers to resubmit information they have already shared with the retailer before they check out, according to the Baymard Institute, which specialises in user experience research. “What’s the point of just having created an account if they don’t use all the info I just gave them?” quipped one unhappy shopper surveyed by Baymard. Retailers should invest what they can in auto-complete and auto-fill features for personal and payment information.
- Required registration. Requiring shoppers to register their information is another surefire way to lose potential customers. One in four shoppers abandon an online shopping cart because they were forced to register on the site before completing the purchase, according to a survey from Econsultancy. Customers should be allowed to complete purchases as guests.
- If a shopping cart is abandoned, email marketing can help. If a customer does go on to abandon a shopping cart, then one of the best performing solutions is to retarget them via email. Email marketing firms typically target these shoppers with an email one to three hours after they have left an online shopping cart. Open rates for that initial email average well north of 40%, and click-through rates average around 20%.
In full, the report:
- Explains the complex relationship between consumers and retailers, and outlines reasons why shoppers abandon a purchase.
- Includes interviews with executives from top retailers and marketing agencies who talk about what they are doing to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
- Proposes a list of solutions that are proven to reduce shopping cart abandonment for online retailers.
- Forecasts where this trend is going and how shopping cart abandonment will affect retailers — bricks-and-mortars and e-commerce companies alike — in the future.