Abandoned carts are incredibly frustrating for online businesses. You get so close to a sale only for it to be taken away at the last minute. Someone who adds a product to their basket was clearly thinking of buying it. So, what stopped them from following through with the purchase? While some people will always change their minds as they continue browsing the store or in the time it takes to checkout, there are design and business methods you can employ that will help boost your checkout conversion rate.
The leading reasons for cart abandonment
Given the scale of the eCommerce market, a lot of time and energy is spent maximizing checkout conversions – which measures the percentage of shoppers who begin the checkout process and go on to complete it – and improving the overall online user experience. Research shows the leading reasons for cart abandonment are:
- The customer was just browsing and was not ready to buy.
- A lack of payment options.
- The additional costs at the checkout were too high (shipping, tax, processing fees, etc.)
- Inadequate return policy.
- Feeling that the checkout process or having to make an account was too long or complicated.
- Poor website performance.
With these in mind, listed below are five methods to help improve your site’s checkout conversions.
Offer as many payment options as possible
When you start accepting online payments, you must select the options you want to support on your site. While it can complicate operations on your end, the more payment methods available, the better it is for customers. Some people want to pay via card, and others prefer digital wallets such as PayPal or Apple Pay. You can even choose to offer products on credit and implement buy now, pay later plans.
If you’re operating internationally, it’s also important to remember that payment methods vary around the world. While credit cards may be the most popular option in the US, different methods are much more prevalent in other markets.
You could offer every payment option under the sun in an ideal world. However, this can be impractical and cause more issues than the bump in conversion rate is worth. A more straightforward solution to ensuring payment options don’t get in the way of sales is to analyze your target audience and understand the critical payment options you need to offer.
Be upfront about shipping and returns
No one likes to be surprised by hidden fees when they reach the checkout page. You think you’re paying one price, and all of a sudden, the purchase is now much more expensive. When designing your online shopping experience, be as upfront as possible about all the fees involved. Additionally, you might consider offering free shipping, even if that means slightly bumping up the price of products.
On a similar theme, people don’t want to learn about an unfavorable return policy at the last minute. Design your policy to be as competitive as possible and communicate it clearly to all your customers. This could be placing it prominently on your website or each product page.
Speed up the checkout process
Making the checkout process as seamless as possible is a great way to maximize your checkout conversions. With some help from website designers and eCommerce solutions, you can cut through the red tape to build a logical, straightforward checkout process.
First-time buyers don’t want to be forced to create an account and enter a million details about themselves. A much smoother experience is to offer guest checkout, with the opportunity to quickly create an account after the purchase. Moving account creation to after the checkout doesn’t stop “purchase momentum,” making customers second guess their reasons for wanting the product.
Build a fast, responsive site for use across devices
We are now firmly in the digital age, and consumers have little patience for slow, buggy online experiences. Competing in the eCommerce world means developing a fast, responsive site that works great across various devices. Consumers want to be able to quickly make purchases on their phones without having to transition to a laptop or PC or make do with a website poorly designed for mobile.
When building your checkout pages, test them on multiple devices and operating systems. Ensure everything is easy to navigate regardless of the device (get rid of any small, awkward fields that are hard to press on mobile).
Beyond checkout conversion, Google now uses site speed as a ranking factor in search results. So, investing in a high-performance website brings more traffic on top of helping increase checkout conversion.
You can employ a range of sales techniques to help increase checkout conversion. These include in-checkout techniques such as adding loyalty programs and incentives and techniques designed to bring back people who previously abandoned their carts.
These include retargeting customers who added items to their cart but never purchased. It’s much easier to sell to people who have already shown interest in your products than it is to target fresh customers.
This could be retargeting with general advertising or using a cart recovery email to remind people that they previously wanted to make a purchase on your site. You can even combine this with additional savings (e.g., money off or free shipping) to sweeten the deal.
Even a small difference in checkout conversion can go a long way
In an ideal world, you could convert every online customer who showed any interest in your products. In reality, consumers are unpredictable creatures that make decisions based on a large number of factors that are impossible to model. But what you can do, is remove as many barriers as possible and offer incentives to complete the purchase.
With a bit of care and attention, you will be surprised how much of a difference you can make to your checkout conversion rate and, therefore, your bottom line.