The Orphaned Shopping Cart

It's like a disease that has no cure. It can only be prevented. Yes, it's the dreaded SHOPPING CART ABANDONMENT syndrome.

Imagine a physical shopping cart (in your grocery stores or elsewhere) with several items inside, abandoned, left for good, sitting in an obscure part of the shop - it's a heartbreaking sight for merchants, whether it's an abandoned physical or online shopping cart.

With cart abandonment rate growing ever year (around 40-60% for ecommerce merchants), it's become a source of headache for merchants everywhere. Customers give varied reasons for shopping cart abandonment, but some of the more prominent reasons stand out:

Tedious check out process

How many more steps until a customer can check out? There are 2 arguments for this - when a customer is keen on buying something, they will literally fill out several forms just to be able to buy the item. However, there's is also a school of thought that emphasizes shoppers are fickle (lazy as well) when it comes to filling up forms. More often than not, the check out process can be cumbersome for the customers, turning them off, leading to cart abandonment.

Account registration

Getting information from your customers is vital to customer relationship management. However, there are still customers out there who aren't agreeable to providing sensitive information - outright.

Limited Payment Options

Do you only accept checks? or money-order? Providing a limited number of payment processing options gives rise to customers leaving the site because they can't pay the way they want to.

Design and navigation

Admittedly, there are still merchants out there who have confusing check out pages. "Where will I go?" "What should I do?" "How should I pay?" These are just some customer questions that remain unanswered. Ergo, abandoned shopping cart.

Other reasons:

  • Unreasonable taxation and shopping rates
  • Missing return policy
  • No customer support information (no phone numbers/email)
  • Limited Warranty (should at least be a year for most products)

What's the remedy? The doctor is in.

Aside from forcing them to buy(which you can't really do, by the way), and employing a better, more functional shopping cart, there are a few tweaks your site can have to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion rates.

  • Guest Option

As said before, some customers prefer to remain anonymous(they don't want to have a file on your system), so putting a guest user account on your site gives the anonymity they require. If you prefer, you can also put an account registration OPTION at the end of the check out process. Note that it should be an option, not compulsary.

  • Promotional items

As a merchant, cross selling is important and entices merchants to go through the check out process for a chance to get discounts, coupons, etc.

  • Better Design and navigation

Buttons like "Next", or "continue here" should be obvious, prominent, & should stand out from the rest of the buttons. Indicating what step of the process the user is in makes customer more aware and makes for better navigation. Oh and please, lessen the clicks/steps before finally reaching the end of the check out process.

Needless to say, it's always different for each site. There are a lot of variables to consider before deciding what gives rise to cart abandonment. All we know for sure is it's a growing trend and every merchant should make efforts to reduce shopping cart abandonment incidents.

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