(This is a guest post from our friends over at Sezzle, a payment platform that offers customers interest-free installment plans at online stores.)
Abandoned carts are missed sales for merchants. Your customer selects your products, prepares to check-out, and then, at the final step, gets cold feet and walks away. What causes cart abandonment? It could be that the consumer gets sticker-shock when they see the total order price added up in the cart, or balks at the shipping fees, or simply changes their mind. As a merchant, understanding why cart abandonment occurs and what you can do to reduce it is the key to increasing your conversions.
If you’re struggling to get consumers to pull the trigger on a purchase, know that you’re not alone. According to recent data from SalesCycle, global cart abandonment in Q3 2017 was up 1.5% from Q2, rising to 78.4%. That means that over two thirds of items placed in carts are never actually purchased. Talk about missed opportunities!
Here are some important steps you can take to convert these opportunities into more sales:
What does it take to make you feel comfortable handing your credit card to a stranger? In the brick and mortar world, it is usually clear when that stranger is an employee of a reputable store. But what about online? What does your online store need to show customers to earn their trust?
The answer for many stores is modern design and optimal functionality. More simply put, your website should look professional, and everything should work as intended. That button that leads to a broken link may be costing you more than you think – it indicates to your customers that your business isn’t detail-oriented, which reduces their overall trust. The same goes for an outdated design that implies your site hasn’t been updated or maintained thoroughly. Enough of these mistakes can drive up your cart abandonment rates significantly!
Only Ask For Necessary Information
Every merchant wants to know as much as possible about their customers, but it’s important to resist the urge to ask too many questions – especially when it comes to the checkout process and flow. Most customers are easily annoyed by having to register with your site. In fact, according to Yapsody, over a third of online shoppers will abandon their cart due to a compulsory registration process!
To avoid this loss, allow your shoppers to check out as a guest, and only ask what’s actually necessary. Additionally, respect that these buyers may not always be interested in your marketing material – to the point where they will leave your digital storefront if you try to force it upon them.
That being said, there are ways to encourage a guest shopper at checkout to become a registered customer, namely through incentives. Make it known that your registered customers will earn certain perks, such as exclusive access to new product drops, enhanced tools (such as wishlists), or points within a loyalty program.
Transparency Is Key
No matter how minimalist your checkout process, you will need to ask for several key pieces of personal information. Make sure that you explain exactly what that information is going to be used for – an informed customer is, generally speaking, a happier customer! This especially applies to contact information such as their email address. If you’re going to send them marketing emails, make sure to let them know at the time they give you that information. Want to really jump start your success? Allow them to opt out right then and there.
There is no such thing as a good surprise for a customer when it comes to check out. This is especially true for a checkout process that involves more than one page of activity. As Kissmetrics explained, progress bars can relieve the tension that your customers may feel when they see that ominous “Next page” button, and can reliably increase your customers’ levels of engagement and overall satisfaction with their experience.
In addition to progress bars, you can reduce confusion and unpleasant surprises by itemizing the breakdown of costs early and often. It’s never a good idea to spring extra fees on a customer on the last page; customers will view the last minute cost additions as sneaky or sly, and will be loath to trust your company again.
Offer Payment Options
If your customer experience is intuitive and modern, your fees and process are transparent, but you’re still seeing a high cart abandonment rate (or you just want to reduce whatever your current rate is now), then it’s time to offer alternative payment options.
This is especially true if your business caters to young shoppers. A whopping two-thirds of Millennials do not own a credit card. If you are targeting Millennial shoppers, you need to provide alternatives to traditional payment options.
Some popular alternative payment options include digital payments like Paypal and Apple Pay, loan financing providers like Bread, or 0% interest-free installment payment processors like Sezzle. By giving consumers additional options, you’ll remove a major barrier to purchase for many of your potential customers.
Remove Fear Of Commitment
Finally, remove the last hurdle for your customers by making your return policy very clear. Make sure they understand that if they buy your product and end up not liking it, you won’t just stick them with the bill – you’ll make sure that they’re satisfied with their purchase and experience with your business!
About the Author: Chris Dolan, VP of Strategic Partnerships of Sezzle
Chris Dolan is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Sezzle, a payment platform that increases purchasing power for consumers by offering interest-free installment plans at online stores. This increase in purchasing power for consumers leads to increased sales and basket sizes for merchants.