When someone visits a traditional brick and mortar shop, there is a 25% chance that they will purchase something. On the Internet, however, that chance is only around 3%. So what are the main causes for this, and how can E-commerce retailers increase the likelihood of a sale on their site?
This extremely low conversion rate can usually be explained by the simple fact that it’s much easier to access to a website, and therefore to attract far more visitors who are just curious about the product offering with no real intention to buy. Added to this is the ability for online consumers to compare multiple offers simultaneously in a matter of seconds online, as opposed to having to exert time and effort to physically move from one retailer to another. Online shoppers are therefore less vested in the shopping process as they haven’t had to waste as many resources to get to the point of purchase. However, this poor conversion can also be pinned on a phenomenon that is critical for E-commerce companies to address, as the factors that influence it are entirely within their control, that being cart abandonment.
Currently, three out of four carts are abandoned, creating a digital wasteland of shopping carts filled with selected products that will never make it into the real world.
What is Cart Abandonment?
Cart abandonment is when a potential customer adds items to their shopping cart and leaves your site before purchasing. It is calculated by dividing the total number of final conversions by the total number of additions to the basket.
Cart abandonment is an essential E-commerce key performance indicator that you cannot afford to ignore, since it can reveal the blocking points in your conversion funnel. Moreover, by reducing it even by a few points you can have a significant impact on your turnover.
Why do people do this?
A recent survey looked at the top reasons for cart abandonment. The most cited reason was the extra hidden costs being too high, followed by sites wanting visitors to go through the laborious process of creating an account before they can complete their purchase. A long and complicated checkout process also doesn’t help, especially when customers are shopping online primarily for the speed and convenience expected of E-commerce retailers.
How can you reduce cart abandonment?
By looking at the reasons for cart abandonment above, the solutions feel pretty intuitive, but can be tricky in practice.
Be upfront about any “hidden” costs
Customers want transparency at every stage of the buying process. Tax and delivery costs should therefore be clear from the beginning. It might be tempting to lure customers in using lower, tax-free prices, but you’ll pay for it in the long run when they realise they’ve been tricked.
Don't force your visitors to create an account
At checkout, you should offer visitors who already have an account the option of logging in - without losing the contents of their cart once they’re logged in. Suggest that newcomers create an account before they get to the check-out process, perhaps even with added incentives such as a first-timer’s discount, but don’t make it an absolute necessity the moment before they can complete their purchase. Some people simply don’t want to waste the time, or give their personal details away.
Remind your visitors of the contents of their shopping cart in a visual way
Rather than reminding your visitors of the contents of their shopping cart in plain text, insert visuals to reinforce their choice.
Let's take for example the Superbalist cart, which is very visual while remaining simple..
Give your visitors lots of options for payment
Imagine that one of your customers is happy with your products, about to purchase the contents of their shopping cart and... can't pay. Or at least not in the way they intended.
It goes without saying in 2019 that it is essential to offer visitors the main payment methods that they are likely to use (Visa, Mastercard, SnapScan, Paypal, bank transfer, etc.). But these should also be presented in a single and intuitive manner, since you don’t want to overwhelm your customer with choice overload. In a South African context, cash on delivery is a highly sought-after payment method that one can’t afford to do without as many consumers do not have access to credit or banking facilities.
Simplify the conversion funnel
Once a visitor has added an item to their shopping cart, you must do everything possible to speed up their conversion to limit the risk of abandonment. You lose potential candidates for conversion every time you add a step in your conversion funnel, so keep it simple, intuitive, and to the point.
Reassure your visitors
When you buy a product in a physical store, you can touch it, try it, measure it, etc. All these things are impossible to do when you buy online, increasing the risk of post-purchase dissonance when the actual product arrives on their doorstep. The customer is constantly facing the possibility that they might not be satisfied with their purchase. Your job is to reassure them that, should this happen, you will help to resolve it. This could mean a competitive return policy, great customer service, or many different return options to suit their needs. These could include having the return picked up or giving them the option of dropping it at a warehouse for a reduced fee.
How can Neuromarketing help?
The tools of neuromarketing are very useful for reducing the cart abandonment rate.
Tools such as eye tracking, facial coding and electroencephalography can help you identify which parts of your online store grab attention, and what kind of emotion your store elicits at different stages. If your customer looks frustrated or annoyed at any given point, it’s probably an indication that you could streamline things better. Similarly, if customers have a very high mental load at certain points in the conversion funnel, it’s best to look at ways to make that part of the process easier.
Eye tracking makes it possible to obtain HeatMaps like this one. This allows us to detect the areas to be highlighted.
These tools are great for optimizing the visual navigation of your site and making sure you don’t lose customers because of a single poorly-coloured button or a badly phrased call-to-action.