Managing an ecommerce store is not that different to dating. Just think about it. You invest time, effort and probably a bit of money into looking your best for that first impression. You pluck up the courage, put yourself out there and you hope to attract the perfect match.
So when shoppers add products to their shopping carts but leave without completing the transaction, you can’t help but ask yourself: “Is it me?”
Well, probably. As with all relationships, it’s about learning about yourself and others. This can be achieved by answering three questions:
- Do you know what you want?
- Are you willing to compromise?
- Do you continue to pursue those who walk away?
1. Do you know what you want?
Considering that the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment include hidden costs, difficult purchase processes, too few payment options and security concerns, your ideal ecommerce match should tick all of the following boxes:
- They are ready to buy your product no matter what the cost.
- They are Internet savvy so they can easily navigate your website, shopping cart or payment gateway.
- They have access to money and a method to pay for their purchases, such as a credit card, debit card or cash in the bank.
- They have no trust issues with shopping online.
Shoppers who have all of the above traits are highly likely to complete their purchase. These are the keepers. But in reality, not everyone who visits your website will tick all of these boxes.
2. Are you willing to compromise?
Say your existing shopping cart abandonment rate is 70% (which is the global average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate). This means that out of every 10 shoppers who start the purchasing process, only 3 complete the transaction the first time around. In other words, 3 out of every 10 website visitors ticked all the aforementioned checkboxes. So how do you prevent the other 7 from abandoning their carts?
So they’re not quite ready to buy your product.
Many shoppers add products to their shopping carts with no intention of completing the purchase. Their goal is to rather calculate shipping costs, to see if there are any hidden costs and to preview the checkout process.
The best way to avoid this kind of ‘window shopping’ is to be transparent about your prices, shipping costs and hidden costs from the start. You may even describe the checkout process next to the product description, for example, “check out in three easy steps”. It’s also a great idea to add wishlist functionality so that visitors to your website can save items for future purchases.
Suppose they find your website, shopping cart, or payment gateway too complicated to navigate.
There are a number of ways in which you can simplify the checkout process. For example:
- Offer a Buy Now button instead of a shopping cart for single product purchases.
- Give buyers the option to checkout as guests to expedite the transaction process.
- Make it easy to apply discount vouchers.
- Make online help easy to access, such as a clear contact page, live online chats or FAQs.
What if they’re unable to pay via credit card, debit card or EFT?
While credit card and Instant EFT are the most popular online payment methods, South Africans in particular may prefer alternative ways to pay for their online purchases. To broaden your reach, sign up with a payment gateway such as PayFast that offers a wide variety of popular payment options, including credit card, debit card and Instant EFT, as well as Masterpass, Zapper, SCode and Mobicred.
And if they have security concerns?
With Google cracking down on Internet security, the padlock icon in your browser may be sufficient to set some potential buyers’ minds at ease. For the rest, consider introducing testimonials from other buyers, easy return policies, trust seals and logos of existing customers, where applicable.
3. Do you continue to pursue those who walk away?
Nobody likes being rejected. While there’s nothing wrong with trying to make a relationship work past the first failed meetup, be sincere. As with any relationship, if you push too hard you run the risk of being a stalker or a spammer!
In the case of your online store, analyse your website statistics to understand the point at which things went wrong. You can then try to resolve the issue by sending out a customised, personalised email where you offer a solution.
For example, for those who abandoned their carts because of shipping costs, offer free or reduced shipping. If they got lost in navigation while checking out, send an email with a ‘Buy Now’ button, bypassing the normal checkout process. If their credit card was declined, let them know of alternative payment options.
Finally, as with dating, listening is key. Once you understand their needs, their limitations, their challenges and their insecurities, you have the power to make or break the relationship. What would you choose for your online store? Fortunately in ecommerce, multiple relationships are favoured and not frowned upon (as is often the case with dating).