Decrease Abandoned Shopping Carts
One of the most frustrating aspects of ecommerce management is configuring the shopping cart. One simple mistake, and extra step, or taking the customer ‘off site’ to make their payment will drastically increase the number of abandoned shopping carts.
There are a few tricks and tips to help streamline your shopping cart and improve sales.
Shopping Cart Software
The number one consideration needs to be the software platform. Surprisingly, cost is not a factor. There are some open-source shopping carts that are far more ‘user friendly’ and easier to navigate than some hosted ones which cost several hundred dollars a month. However, rule of thumb is to buy a cart with service and maintenance.
When choosing a software program, compare the number of steps between the Item Page and the Confirm Payment Page for it. Take a look at eBay. Buying is on the same page as the intro image, a long description, and shipping information.
Look at the size of the page. How long it takes to download. Does it work in all browsers? Does it ask the customer to fill in too many forms?
Losing a sale because the customer is confused is bad enough. Losing a customer because a page takes 10 seconds to download or times out, is unacceptable.
“Add To Cart” Button
The Add-To-Cart button is the most vital part of the shopping process. A good shopping cart will give people the option to become a member so their basket contents will be saved, but will not force the issue. The Add to Cart button must be prominent, a bright color, and placed where it is easily accessible.
A “Buy Now” button is a good idea. It lets customers escape after they make their selection.
Collecting Personal Information
Most shopping carts are abandoned when the customer are asked to fill in personal information forms. Ecommerce managers must understand that a shopping cart is not a mailing list builder. Older shopping carts were notorious for stopping customers one-step before the Pay Now stage, and asking for a long list of personal information that had nothing to do with the purchase.
Many of today’s online stores include this extra page as a feature. A smart store manager will disable it. The best time to collect information is on the shipping form. If you want to ask them to join a mailing list, or request further information for marketing, then d invite them to participate in a marketing survey. Another way to collect marketing data is to ask them to become a member of a buyer’s club, either before or after they enter the shopping cart.
Take a good look at the shopping cart’s forms. Keep the form as short as possible. Consumers become frustrated when asked ‘how did you hear about us,’ ‘have you shopped online before,’ and ‘do you want to join our newsletter.’ Asking these questions in the check-out process can cost the sale.
Reliability and Credibility
Credibility is vital. The total spent by on-line shoppers is growing by millions of dollars each year. These new consumers are comfortable with a standard shopping cart. But, they are also wary of phishing and identity theft scams.
There are a few ways to give your credibility. The most common ways include adding the address and a photo of your place of business. A telephone number and live chat are also good customer service tools. Many sites include SLL or other security images on each page, to remind consumers that their information is safe.
A disclosure statement promising that the consumer’s information is safe and will not be sold to mailing list companies will help calm consumer’s fears.
The most important step is to make sure each level of the shopping cart has the same domain name, and templates. If the customer is being sent ‘off site’ then post a warning, and tell the consumer that you value their security and are hosting your shopping cart on a safe site.
Many shopping carts lead shoppers through a maze of pages. The customer becomes lost. The check out process is confusing. They click ‘check out’ and end up on a personal information form, leaving them confused, wondering if they are in the right place.
It is important to tell customers exactly what will happen next. One method is to use the step-by-step method to track the customer’s progress.
This method should include ‘call-to-action’ buttons or phrases. Also, give the page titles careful consideration. Generic page names have less impact than Call to Action phrases such as Check out now, Make Payment, Arrange Shipping, Final Step.
Each of these pages need to reinforce the ‘decision to buy’ message by promising quick delivery, offering a guarantee, posting a HackerSafe seal on the page.
The last step is the Confirm Order Page. This page should have a prominent ‘Buy Now’ button. Let the customer know that they are only one step from a purchase.
Traps to Avoid
There are some things that cause common complaints from users. These include extra fees at the end of the check out, gimmicks and patronizing images meant to heighten the emotions, coupon codes that don’t work, high shipping costs, and too many check-out pages.
Asking for personal information such as a birth date, or any other private information will raise the ‘identity theft’ alarms, remove all of these you can.
The most powerful tool in a shopping cart is the one page check out. It is a new innovation, but is catching on fast.
Article ID: 298, Created On: 12/9/2010, Modified: 12/9/2010