How to boost sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment [updated]
Setting up an online store and making available all your wares is just the first step to creating a successful eCommerce operation. The slightest obstacle may thwart a shopper's desire to buy.
To get your store to the next level, you have to play delightful tour guide to help shoppers through the buyer’s journey. We’ve got tips for that.
3 simple tips to boost your eCommerce sales
Your site is the tunnel through which shoppers pass to find and buy lovely things.
This journey can be simple and fun or it can be tedious and aggravating. Let’s make it the former with some eCommerce optimization tips.
Make it easy
There is a ton of competition out there for that one thing you sell. The difference, for the consumer, is the experience.
Don’t doubt their willingness to bail on a difficult sales journey. It just isn’t worth the headache.
The moral of the story is to make that journey easy—from perusal to search to shopping cart to checkout. Remove the friction.
Smart site search and intuitive navigation go a long way to guiding your visitors to fill their carts.
Many eCommerce platforms (with the help of a plugin) can save your shoppers’ carts as they research and compare, making it easy to corral them to checkout.
And, getting them to checkout isn’t the end. Simplified checkout can get them quickly from curious shopper to regular customer.
And don’t forget a dedicated shipping page detailing what they can expect on everything from tracking to returns.
Make it fun
Not only should it be easy to buy from you, but it should be fun. They could be playing Mahjong instead.
Be more fun than Mahjong by awarding loyalty.
Customer loyalty is a hot commodity to retailers, whether they realize it or not. It costs five times more to get a new customer than to retain an existing customer.
So, it makes sense to laser focus on how to keep them coming back.
You can do this by creating compelling offers—like cashback programs and special discounts—so that there is an obvious benefit to being a loyal customer.
Make it affordable
Nobody likes to pay extra, and nothing seems more extra than shipping costs these days.
Consumers undertake a certain psychological calculus when they shop.
They might sign on for the cost of a product (even something that may be a bit expensive), but the added cost of shipping (however small) is just too much and they end up bailing.
Offering free shipping can seem like a loss to your bottom line, but it can really be the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.
To make it feasible, you can offer it up conditionally. That is, if their cart hits a minimum dollar amount or they buy certain items that qualify.
This can be a great compromise for those who can’t stomach unconditional free shipping.
For those that can stomach it, unconditional free shipping allows your customer to no longer battle their internal accountant once they land on the checkout page.
If shipping costs do make a dent, build that into your product costs instead. If you use pricing psychology in your favor, the extra might not even register.
Lastly, the assurance that their decision isn’t final and they can freely return their purchase can go a long way.
Again, offering free stuff like the cost of a return can seem costly, but what is more costly than someone deciding not to buy your wares?
Give them every reason to buy and then come back and buy more and more.
6 tips to reduce cart abandonment
OK, it worked. Your site is beautiful and user-friendly and their cart is full of your amazing things.
But, that’s not the end of the journey. They can still be turned off and that cart will just molder away in the ones and zeros of your otherwise lovely site.
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.
Here are a few tips to avoid the sad abandonment of carts in your store.
Make the process fast and friction-free
If your checkout process includes too many steps—steps that aren’t expressly necessary—your shopper may not become your customer.
Remove the friction by using simple checkout solutions. If a field isn’t necessary, it just becomes a barrier.
As more people are shopping on mobile, simplicity is becoming more and more important.
Finding the right checkout process for your store should include keeping mobile in mind. There are many ways of doing a simple checkout, from a one-page all-in-one-go option to a simplified multi-page option.
Ship it flat-rate or free
As was mentioned earlier, nobody likes to deal with shipping costs. When they’ve committed to buying something, they don’t want to then add another cost to it.
This far into the process, you don’t want to dissuade them from clicking 'Buy Now'.
Once again, offer your customers free shipping with a minimum cart value. Or build the cost into the product and offer it unconditionally.
According to the Walker Sands Future of Retail survey, free shipping was a contributing factor to online purchases for 80% of US respondents.
If nothing else, keep it simple and make your shipping costs flat-rate. That way they aren’t surprised at this late stage of their journey.
Check out Sendle's flat rate Price Guarantee to get you in the mood!
Ship it carbon neutral
Being eco-friendly is becoming ever more popular, especially among the youth that will be inheriting this planet.
According to a Nielsen survey from a few years back, 73% of Millennials and 72% of Generation Z are willing to pay more for sustainable offerings.
According to a more recent global survey, 77% of all surveyed consumers think it is important that a company be sustainable and environmentally responsible.
This will only become more important in the years to come.
So, why not include carbon-neutral shipping as an option (if not the option) at checkout? It is sure to attract the right attention and who doesn’t like free marketing material?
With Sendle, carbon-neutral shipping doesn’t mean extra cost.
Dedicate a whole page to shipping it
Communication is key to a great relationship. You want a healthy relationship with your customers, don’t you? (That’s rhetorical.)
Part of the checkout experience should include a dedicated shipping page, detailing the important bits like when they can expect their package, how they can track it, and how returns work in case the purchase wasn’t quite right.
You know, communication.
Further, you should give them options—express shipping, standard shipping, delivery notes (signature required, authority to leave, watch out for the dog, leave behind the concrete moose, etc.).
Users who access a shipping page convert to buy at 2.67 times the rate of users who don’t, according to a 2018 report by SmartCompany.
Let them pay as they like
The fact is that there are tons of ways to pay for things online.
If you don’t accept certain popular payment types, that might be where the sale ends. No matter what eCommerce platform you use, there are a multitude of options for payment gateways.
Cover your bases by accepting credit card payments via something simple like Stripe, Authorize.Net, or Shopify’s built-in payment solution.
But there’s more! Paypal and Square and Clover, oh my!
Find the payment processors that best serve your customers and add them.
If you are selling particularly expensive items, you can also give your customers the opportunity to finance their purchase instead of paying it all upfront.
With options like Afterpay, Affirm, and Zip, you can provide your customers with an easier path to purchase.
Don’t surprise them
This isn’t a haunted house. Don’t surprise your customers at the end of the process.
And who wouldn’t be spooked by the unexpected fee or surprise cost of shipping?
Say what you charge and mean it.
According to Forbes, 60% of U.S. consumers abandoned checkout because extra costs (shipping, tax, etc.) were too high.
This means that if there are going to be extra expenses, make it known early on. Include a shipping calculator so people can see exactly what they will end up paying.
For many eCommerce platforms, this is as simple as adding a plugin.
Beyond shipping costs, if you do have other unavoidable fees like sales tax or handling fees, mention it on the product page so your customer isn’t caught unaware.
Is that it?
Go forth and make it fun and easy for people to buy your stuff. Happy customers are repeat customers.