Imagine walking around a supermarket and having to constantly dodge a sea of abandoned shopping trolleys stacked with goods. The supermarket manager would be horrified to see customers selecting items and then leaving the store without buying them.
Yet that is exactly the situation that global eCommerce businesses face. Every year, goods and services worth trillions of pounds are selected, then abandoned prior to payment.
One survey found that in the UK alone, 74% of online shoppers abandon purchases before paying.
The hidden cost of this is that the marketing spend required to attract them in the first place is then redoubled in retargeting activities.
Finding the reasons behind abandoned shopping carts online is not as problematic as it sounds. There are also robust steps that online retailers can take to minimise its occurrence.
Unfortunately, many of the most popular analytic systems in place today, responsible for determining reasons behind e-cart abandonment, are so heavily monetised and easily led astray for the sake of profit, that as they grow bigger they move further away and disconnect online retailers from their customers.
Reasons for abandoning online shopping
There are some easily discernible patterns and probabilities for this frustrating issue.
The main one is, there is always going to be a certain volume of “window shoppers” on digital retail sites. They select items of interest and store them within a virtual shopping cart. Then they either lose interest, forget, or find the items cheaper on a different site.
eCommerce lends itself well to this trend but mobiles have made it even more common. When shoppers take physical things off shelves they feel obliged to complete the purchase. Virtual shopping doesn’t have the same social restraints and established practices.
However, even factoring in the “just browsing” cart abandonment, there is still a significant number of online consumers who progress all the way to payment, and then withdraw from the transaction.
Among the reasons provided by research into global eCommerce is that customers find that shipping costs, fees or any tax or export duty make the product too expensive.
Some customers become disenfranchised at a late stage if they are asked to create an account. Though the EU GDPR is bringing with it greater data security and privacy, the public are still wary of providing personal information online.
The readily available solutions
There are steps retailers can take to overcome these obstacles. This includes carts abandoned because the check out process is felt to be too complicated or drawn out. Or, potentially the whole website is found to be inefficient, and visitors become frustrated that it is slow to load, hard to navigate or crashes.
Poorly functioning websites potentially could fail to register or store items effectively in a virtual shopping cart in the first place. Having a well designed eCommerce site with effective functionality is clearly vital.
There are also easily remedied aspects of customer service that can prove an obstacle to completing transactions. This could include, for example, not answering product queries quickly enough or failing to provide a channel of communication for individual questions.
Transactions can also be halted due to a returns policy or delivery timescale that customers find unacceptable.
Creating a positive consumer experience
Much of the above comes down to one truth. In the age of technology, when online shopping is so rampant, retailers must work hard to make shopping on their site as streamlined and pleasurable as possible.
The cost of creating a positive consumer journey is a fraction of the amount you need to pay for retargeting sales activities to win back their attention.
The millennial shopper values speed and convenience and wants to be able to complete transactions effortlessly. Having eCommerce systems – or an entire website – that is complex or unresponsive is a sure-fire way to lose business.
Has your eCommerce site got sufficient numbers of choices for payment methods, to enable various preferences to be accommodated? Are your delivery policies and timescales clear from the outset, rather than being an “unpleasant surprise” when shoppers get to the stage of paying for their purchases?
Do you have a returns policy that is well worded to be commercially feasible but also customer-friendly? Dependent on your sector, this may mean offering more than your statutory obligations.
For example, these days many fashion companies choose to accept returns when customers change their minds.
Getting attention from browsers
Creating a smooth customer experience still leaves you with the prospect of abandoned shopping carts due to the casual nature of this interaction.Therefore, it makes commercial sense to try to reward customers for not leaving too soon. Web metrics solutions often produce exceptional quantitative data that shows you what is happening, but why it is happening is discovered using qualitative tools.
One of the most common methods is an exit pop up. Pop ups have a bad press in general and are counterproductive in the customer experience. However, exit pop ups are a different beast.
If a customer abandons their cart, the pop up could invite them to rethink that decision. Do they realise they haven’t paid? Are they sure they want to miss out on your great products? They can be reminded of the rewards of continuing to payment as well.
That is also a great place to add an incentive. For example, complete your order now for 10% off your next purchase or for free delivery.
Blockchain and eCommerce
To encourage customers to engage with businesses the team at UserClix are developing a complete dashboard for retailers to manage and execute reward campaigns.
Using blockchain and smart contract automation and the native cryptocurrency, Clix, retailers can reward people who are actively engaging with their website.
Conversely, the feature suite will give data that enable retailers to do more accurate analysis of customer behaviour resulting in customer relationships that are more meaningful, personal and productive.