Cart abandonment is an issue that is plaguing thousands of ecommerce merchants around the world. A 2016 study found that 74.3% of all online shopping carts are abandoned globally. That means that out of every four shoppers on your site, three of them are likely to abandon their order altogether for whatever reason.
Part of handling this problem is understanding what reasons a user may have for abandoning their order. First, we might be tempted to draw from our own personal online shopping experience. We’ve all been that pesky cart abandoner that either got distracted by another one of our many open tabs, or reacted to seeing a shipping cost we hadn’t anticipated by hitting the x button and never coming back.
While there’s nothing wrong with using your intuition, there’s nothing more effective than utilizing your online feedback and data to help point you in the right direction. The best part is this information is readily available, waiting to be analyzed.
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Why Cart Abandonment is a Problem
Merchants approaching cart abandonment with an optimistic “Oh, well. We’ll get them next time” are turning a blind eye to a major threat to their business. Businesses lose up to $4 trillion every year because of abandoned shopping carts.
Beyond the sheer financial loss, cart abandonment is problematic because a high cart abandonment rate often reflects a poor customer experience. While there may be a handful of users that get distracted and save their orders for later, the users that were so dissatisfied with the checkout process and decided to take their business elsewhere are a miss that could be completely avoided.
The purpose of utilizing online feedback is to ultimately understand your customers better. Solving your cart abandonment is just one of the extra perks of refining your customer experience.
How to Use Online Feedback to Reduce Cart Abandonment
The majority of users that abandon their carts probably aren’t randomly deciding to do something else before checking out. Diving into online user feedback can help you to adjust your checkout process accordingly.
Live and Breathe Your Data
Web tools such as Google Analytics can help merchants to identify specific points in the checkout process that are losing people. By pinpointing a specific page that isn’t converting, merchants are able to start testing different assumptions for why this is so. The solution could be as simple as to create a more eye-catching “Continue” call to action. Or possibly, the entire page could be removed to streamline the process.
Page level data will only tell you that something is wrong, and it’s up to you to figure out why. While you might inevitably stumble upon a solution through extensive A/B testing, interacting with your customers to get direct feedback could save you time and money.
Surprise! You Have to Pay $7.99 in Shipping!
Statistically, shipping cost plays a substantial role in cart abandonment, with 35.7% of cart abandonments happening within seconds of customers seeing the shipping price. Nobody likes additional expense surprises, and if your shipping costs aren’t made clear earlier in the buying process, you will likely continue to experience shopping cart abandons.
There are a few possible solutions to this shipping cost problem. The first and very optimistic is to offer free shipping and tout it in major places on your site. This will not only reduce cart abandonment, it could also increase shopping conversions and bring it new traffic if it is reflected in your ads. Alternatively, if offering free shipping doesn’t work for your business model, you can try highlighting your shipping costs earlier in the process. This will dispel people who would otherwise be turned off by the cost during the checkout period.
The Never Ending Checkout Process
Another major issue causing cart abandonment is a lengthy, multi-step checkout process. The checkout process is a delicate exchange in which you, the merchant, need relevant information to finalize the transaction, but with each additional second comes a higher probability of your shoppers abandoning the process. This process naturally becomes clunky, and it’s your responsibility to identify any redundant or overly complicated steps and replace them.
When in doubt, take a look at Amazon’s checkout process. Users are able to finish their transaction and receive a shipping confirmation within seconds, and this convenience is one of the biggest reasons customers continue to come back to Amazon. Part of what makes this process so seamless is because Amazon simplifies things by creating solutions such as a checkbox of “billing address the same as our shipping address”, as well as utilizing customer accounts to remove steps for future transactions.
Another way to make the process go more smoothly is by observing and using the exit feedback of your users. The moment your visitor decides they want to click away from the checkout page or leave your website altogether, you can trigger a form to ask them why they’re leaving. This helps to remove any ambiguity or guessing from just looking at a correlation of data points, and points you to the direct reason someone decided to leave.
You can also use this feedback in real-time and take action right away to hopefully help your customer make their purchase.
Step Up Your Content
30% of shoppers abandoned their shopping cart because the product descriptions weren’t up to par. This is why it’s very important to place an emphasis on your product page content, and make sure it evokes a positive response from your shoppers. Slapping on an SKU number and manufacturer specs isn’t an effective strategy for the vast majority of merchants.
The lack of high quality product reviews and images also turns away around 25% of people who would otherwise commit to buying a product. By fixing your product page content with high quality copy, images, and possibly even videos for extra points, you will be able to not only decrease your shopping cart abandonment, but also increase the amount of shoppers committing to purchasing.
People who have already been on your site are already aware of your site and have expressed some sort of interest in your products and services. Just because they abandoned their cart doesn’t mean they’ve completely written you off; all they need is an extra reminder or incentive to finish their purchase. Ronald Dod is the Cofounder and Owner of Visiture, a search marketing agency focused on Search Engine Marketing for eCommerce Businesses. His passion is helping eCommerce and marketing professionals navigate the SEO landscape and put together a plan to increase new qualified traffic and conversions.
A great way to get another crack at these orders is to send reminder emails. Since your shoppers are already aware of the transaction, these emails tend to perform much better than standard emails, with open rates between 40% to 55%, and are responsible for 20% to 25% of conversion rates.
Just because someone left doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. 72% of people who abandon their cart will complete the process within 24 hours when reminded. Additionally, 75% of shoppers who abandoned their checkout stated an intention that they planned to return at some point in the future. The crux of the cart abandonment issue is using real world feedback to both minimize the amount of shoppers leaving in frustration due to a lengthy checkout process and unexpected shipping & handling costs, as well as figuring out a way to engage customers who planned on returning to your site at some point in the future.
About the Author
Ronald Dod is the Cofounder and Owner of Visiture, a search marketing agency focused on Search Engine Marketing for eCommerce Businesses. His passion is helping eCommerce and marketing professionals navigate the SEO landscape and put together a plan to increase new qualified traffic and conversions.
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