For ecommerce companies, few events are as frustrating as successfully nurturing a lead through the process of placing a product in the shopping cart, only to lose the sale at the last moment. Unfortunately, shopping cart abandonment is a big issue in online sales.

Four Tips to Reduce Shopping Car Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment rates can be fairly high. In fact, the average documented rate is around 68.81 percent. A lot of this is the result of how people search — placing products in their cart for later reference – but ecommerce retailers have to accept some of the blame as well.

Here are a few things they – as well as you – can do to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates in the future.

  1. Make Forms Shorter

According to Tracey Wallace of BigCommerce, “More than 20% of online shoppers cite bad design and navigation as a primary reason for abandoning a cart or choosing simply not to check out with an individual retailer.” But do you know what the worst design/navigation grievance is? It’s a lengthy checkout process with long forms.

You may think it’s useful to require customers to provide you with lots of information, but from their perspective, you should only ask for what’s totally necessary. If you can speed up the process and give shoppers less time to think about abandoning the purchase, you’ll close more sales.

  1. Don’t Require a Login

If you can possibly avoid it, don’t require customers to log in – or create an account – in order to make a purchase. It’s certainly ideal to have people become members, your website may not have enough value to make it worth their while to register.

If you want to encourage account registration, do so at the end of the purchase process; perhaps require customers to create an account in order to track their order. This is a much better option than going for it on the front end.

  1. Prevent Surprises

You may think surprises are fun, but this isn’t a birthday party – it’s an ecommerce shopping cart. Save the surprises for other stages of the conversion funnel.

When a customer places something in his or her cart and is ready to check out, a surprise is the absolute last thing a shopper wants to see. It damages trust and creates doubt where it didn’t previously exist.

The best way to avoid surprises is to include the total cost of the order – including shipping and taxes – on the very first screen. If you wait until the end to refer to these extra charges, customers are more likely to feel you’re taking advantage of them.

  1. Provide Visual Completion Cues

If your checkout process has to be longer than normal, you should gently guide customers through the various stages. Using visual completion cues, such as markers that read “Step 1 of 3,” Step 2 of 3,” etc., is a great way to hold the customer’s hand, so to speak.

If you want to instill urgency, a countdown clock may be used to speed things along. This shouldn’t be used in all cases, but you could experiment with it in certain situations. Just make sure you still give customers an opportunity to purchase even after the clock runs out.

Make This a Priority

It can be hard to get a prospective customer to put something in the shopping cart at first; you know that better than anyone. Why aren’t you doing everything you can to prevent shopping cart abandonment and encourage people to complete their purchase?

It’s not a complicated task to regain control of your shopping carts. By making forms shorter, not requiring a user login, eliminating surprises, and providing visual cues, you can instantly boost your bottom line and attract more customers to your brand.

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