E-commerce is an essential channel for retail sales right now, but only if merchants are able to convert browsers into purchasers.
Cart abandonment remains a significant concern for online sellers, with Statista reporting that the average cart abandonment rate was 69.57% in 2019. In order to prevent customers from leaving their items before checkout, retailers should assess their shopping journey for these five vulnerabilities.
1. Complicated Checkout
A consumer who has added items to their cart is already interested in the product, meaning that the reason for abandonment is more likely to be an issue of service. Paul Paradis, co-founder and chief revenue officer at payments platform Sezzle, told FN in a recent conversation that a confusing checkout process is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment. This could entail asking for too much consumer information, requiring a specific payment method or including too many steps.
While merchants should be wary of e-commerce fraud, which is a growing problem, excessive verification can slow down the checkout experience. By streamlining the process, retailers can eliminate friction points that may cause customers to exit before purchase.
2. Limited Payment Options
Offering multiple sources of payment, such as digital wallets and installment plans, could help retain customers who have a preference for those services. If a retailer has both on- and offline channels, the accepted payment methods should be consistent across both, so that regular customers aren’t surprised upon purchase. In addition, opportunities to save information for one-click checkout are also valued. And Afterpay CEO Nick Molnar told FN that requiring a lower initial cost — as part of a payment plan — could also entice customers to complete an order and help reduce cart abandonment.
3. Hidden Costs, Like Shipping
A 2019 study by UPS found that unexpectedly high shipping costs and too long delivery estimates were two of the most common reasons for cart abandonment, at 41% and 26%, respectively. Free, fast shipping has become an expectation for many customers, so finding out at checkout that there is an additional fee can lead to cart abandonment.
Right now, logistical infrastructures are under a lot of pressure, so offering free and fast shipping is not a realistic option for many small businesses. Fortunately, being transparent and clear about associated fees or delays can remove the sticker shock and promote conversion. In fact, a 2020 Scalefast survey found that shoppers are more tolerant of delays than normal, if shared upfront.
4. Inaccessible Customer Service
Sometimes customers just need more information before they complete a purchase. A comprehensive FAQ section online can minimize strain on customer service, while live chat functions have become increasingly popular due to their ease of use and the ability for shoppers to receive immediate answers. Easily solvable queries can be managed through automated chatbots, freeing up customer service teams for more complex issues. But whatever method is used, having a responsive customer success team to address issues quickly can remove obstacles to conversion.
5. Insufficient Inventory
The last key reason for cart abandonment is insufficient inventory. Many merchants are currently having difficulties in maintaining their usual flow of product, due to supply chain disruption, so lack of inventory is a common issue. However, shoppers should not discover this at the point of checkout. This kind of poor experience can turn away a consumer for good — in fact, 55% of consumers said they wouldn’t return to an e-commerce site after a poor checkout experience, according to a survey conducted by Splitit in 2018. By communicating real-time inventory, merchants can prevent shoppers from getting an unpleasant surprise at the point of purchase — and even incentivise purchases, if stock is at risk of running out.