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Avoid Abandoned Shopping Carts & Lost Sales!

According to industry research, up to 75% of online shopping carts are abandoned by buyers without completing checkout. Wow! That’s a lot of empty carts! If this is as big a problem for you as it is for many or most online stores, you’re losing a significant number of sales due to shopping cart abandonment. Less sales equals less profit and that is never a desirable result.

What are some things you can do, as an ecommerce entrepreneur, to lessen the incidence of buyers placing items in their shopping carts and then leaving your site without checking out and completing the transaction?

  • Clearly Show What To Click Next: This sounds oversimplified, but it isn’t. I do a lot of online shopping and can state from personal experience that some sites are extremely difficult to navigate. Some, in fact, are so unclear and have such confusing steps from one phase to the next that I have thrown up my hands and left in frustration. You don’t want this to happen on your site! Who can afford to lose sales? So, do whatever is necessary to clearly and plainly show customers exactly where to click and tell them exactly where that click will take them. A rule of thumb here is to make the button for checkout the largest clickable button on the page. Highlight it if needed, but make sure it stands out.

  • Progress Indicators: Show a progress indicator very clearly on each step of the checkout process. You might number them so that buyers will see and understand where they are in the checkout process and what steps are next. Besides numbering each step, use text to explain and clarify which step the buyer is on and which step comes next, so that as they proceed through the checkout process they can see that they are indeed making progress. Give buyers a way to go back to the previous step if they need to change or modify the contents of the shopping cart, shipping address or whatever.

  • Don’t Have Too Many Steps: People don’t like this. Nowadays, most buyers are in a hurry. For some, time and convenience are one of the main reasons they shop online. If you have too many steps in your checkout, a lot of buyers will get disgusted, frustrated and impatient---then leave without completing the long, drawn-out, overly involved and complicated checkout. So, keep it simple. Four steps is the maximum number of hoops a buyer should have to jump through in order to make a purchase. Anything above that and you’re risking an abandoned shopping cart!

  • Add Pictures: Have a thumbnail photo of each item in the shopping cart.  Many, many sites don’t do this and personally, I find it so helpful to have that image there when I’m ready to checkout. If there are quite a few items in the shopping cart, it’s nice to be able to glance at a photo of each one and sort of recap what you’re buying. Otherwise, if there’s no image, a buyer is forced to go back and back and back, or click on the item title which often takes them completely out of the checkout process and they have to start all over again because they needed to see a picture of the item one last time before committing to buy. I don’t know if any research has been done on what part this particular issue plays in shopping cart abandonment, but I suspect it’s a major problem. So, avoid this risk of an abandoned cart buy placing a small image of each item in the shopping cart.

  • Easy Editing: If a buyer needs to delete or add to items in the shopping cart, make it easy for them! Clearly show the options to delete or increase an item.

The key to retaining buyers throughout every step of the buying process from selection to payment should be as easy as you can possibly make it. Keep it easy and you will lessen the risk of shopping cart abandonment!


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