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e-Commerce Industry News

September 6, 2016
Top reasons for cart abandonment - and how to counter them
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September 6, 2016
Mobile shoppers are especially likely to abandon carts. Mobile shoppers are especially likely to abandon carts.
It's so close - when a customer has added an item to his or her cart, the transaction is a mere step away from being completed. Of course, nothing has really been decided at that point, and cart abandonment remains the scourge of eCommerce retailers the world over. The rates remain high - The Drum reported that SaleCycle's quarterly survey put the worldwide rate at 74.52 percent for the second quarter of 2016.

That number can be read one of two ways: A pessimistic view is that carts are being abandoned in mass numbers, and that digital retailers are failing to deliver an experience that makes buyers stay through the process. On the other hand, that 74.52 percent is a huge number of potential buyers who may be close to converting. If only leaders can understand the reasons behind their current abandonment rates, they may be able to turn them around and capitalize on that untapped group of shoppers.
"Leaders can capitalize on this untapped group of shoppers."

Some potential causes
While every customer and situation will bring something a little different to the table, there are a few key situations that drive people away from websites before they've completed a transaction. Here are a few causes that have fairly straightforward solutions to help leaders transform their sites and capture a greater percentage of shoppers:

  • The problem: Mobile users are frustrated. Smartphones and tablets have become incredibly common devices for browsing retail websites and, potentially, good sales channels. Business 2 Community contributor Chris Layne gave a warning, however: Cart abandonment is even more common in the mobile realm than on PCs. He referred to VentureBurn numbers which indicate 97 percent of mobile carts never lead to a purchase, due to a host of factors including improperly designed or slow-loading web pages.
  • The solution: Play to mobile's strengths. Mobile devices are simply laid out differently than desktop and notebook PCs. Companies that invest in mobile-friendly eCommerce platforms will be able to capture shoppers who may have been turned away at the first sign of clunky interfaces or desktop settings that didn't translate well to small screens. Layne argued that convenience is key in these situations. People who use their devices on the go aim to have a transaction done while in transit - take too long and they'll just abandon the cart. Mobile shoppers are especially likley to abandon carts.Mobile shoppers are especially likely to abandon carts.
  • The problem: Shipping sticker shock. As Forbes contributor Sujan Patel highlighted, no single element is more problematic than shipping costs when it comes to cart abandonment. People who see a number they don't like in the shipping column may abandon the cart then and there - no recourse. This type of cart loss can occur even if the website performance is solid and the products priced to customers' liking when shipping is not factored in.
  • The solution: Include costs early. Patel posited that the problem may have less to do with what is told than when it is told. In fact, his advice for companies is to include shipping charges early in the checkout process. If these costs are in place from the start, people will not be shocked at the end and decide to click away.
  • The problem: Options don't suit international shoppers. Minutehack offered another warning: Companies that try to make inroads into international markets may find that their offerings are being abandoned at the checkout stage. A lack of local research into the regions' preferences could be the culprit here. An eCommerce offering that is completely satisfactory in one region may fall far short of local expectations in another.
  • The solution: Currency and payment options: Once leaders know where they will be operating, they can tweak a few simple elements of their offerings to suit those locations. Minutehack recommended installing currency conversion tools to make sure people can see in familiar terms what their orders will cost. The source also noted that firms should have many different payment options, because popular choices in one country may lead to cart abandonment if they are the only way to proceed in others.
What does it take to turn carts into complete purchases? What does it take to turn carts into complete purchases?

It's not hard to set up eCommerce solutions that will drive down cart abandonment rates. Leaders simply have to drill down and find out what is sending their shoppers away. There is every opportunity to turn a near miss into a sale, and sometimes an online platform adjustment is just the thing.