April 20, 2014

Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment This Holiday Season

Posted on 24. Nov, 2011 by in SEOchat


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According to multiple online sources, the shopping cart abandonment rate this year topped 75 percent. If you run an e-commerce site, you’re probably seeing evidence of those numbers yourself. With holiday shopping in full swing, you’ll be glad to hear that you can improve the percentage of carts that make it all the way through the checkout process.

SeeWhy recently quoted a Forrester report on the top five causes of shopping cart abandonment. These included too-expensive shipping and handling; not being ready to purchase the product; a desire to compare prices on other sites; the product’s price being higher than the shopper was willing to pay; and a desire to save products in the cart for later consideration. While you may not be able to address all of these issues, you can address many of them (and others) with proper shopping cart design and layout.

Monetate posted an awesome shopping cart abandonment infographic that Search Engine Land picked up and posted. I’ll be covering the points mentioned on the infographic here. You can think of it as a checklist for your site’s shopping cart – a tune-up for the holidays, as it were.

We’ll start with thumbnails. When a visitor puts something in their shopping cart, they want to make sure they’re purchasing the right item – and a lot of items have similar titles or descriptions. Including a thumbnail of the product in the shopping cart can help your customer make sure she purchased the dark purple blouse, and not the bright pink one, for her Wednesday Addams-admiring daughter.

The next feature your shopping cart should include is a progress indicator. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at the top of a shopping cart and been relieved to see exactly where I am in the purchase process, and how much further I need to go. Think about the process of making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store: you choose an item from the shelves, go to a cash register, hand over your credit card, collect your receipt and purchase, and take it home. From the buyer’s point of view, the store does a lot of the work. Compare that to shopping online. The buyer clicks on an item they want to buy, and brings up a shopping cart. They then need to input their payment information (when they’d just hand over their card before) and shipping information (when they’d just take it home before) as well as their email address (so they can receive the receipt they’d just be handed before). They also need to pay for shipping, which isn’t an issue with brick-and-mortar retailers.

In other words, while many aspects of shopping online are much easier than shopping through a brick-and-mortar retailer (especially at this time of year!), it’s very detail-oriented, and easy for potential customers to lose their place. If you show them exactly where they are in the process, you’ll keep them on track.

Now let’s talk about your calls to action. These might include links to express checkout or rush shipping, for example. Monetate recommends that you keep them concise, consistent, prominent and color contrasted. Also, make sure that a fumble-fingered move won’t cause frustration; specifically, Monetate advises that  you “Never place the ‘checkout’ button next to the ‘remove from cart’ button.” These days, many people use laptops as their main computers, and may even do their online shopping on smaller mobile devices. Small mobile devices usually mean small user interfaces. Think about how many people you know who have large fingers, and you’ll understand why this is an issue.

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