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What Is Cart Abandonment & How Is It Affecting Your Sales?

Shopping cart abandonment is the bane of eCommerce order management.

In fact, it’s the virtual equivalent of window-shopping or tire kicking, and it’s potentially the most frustrating part of running an eCommerce site. Depending on who you ask, the rate of shopping cart abandonment runs anywhere from 67 percent to over 73 percent!

So what exactly is shopping cart abandonment and what can you do about it?

Shopping cart abandonment can happen for a number of different reasons – and some may be entirely mysterious to you. Any time your customers place items in their virtual shopping cart, but don’t complete the checkout process, it constitutes abandonment — even if they intend to eventually return and pay for their items.

Because many visitors won’t buy on their first visit, and instead decide to their purchases a little longer, the number of “abandoned” carts that eventually convert into sales is hard to gauge, but it’s far from 100 percent.

Why do people abandon their carts? Unfortunately, many small companies end up with abandoned shopping carts because of their failure to compete with the “big guys.” A company like Amazon.com may offer very low cost (or free) shipping for their order fulfillment because of bulk deals with shippers like UPS and FedEx, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep up — many customers will happily accept free shipping after spending so much money at your online store, provided it’s a reasonable order size.  (Some fulfillment companies, like ours, are known as “shipping aggregators” – just ask us about the great shipping pricing that we pass on to our clients.)

When you offer free shipping promotions, you’re likely to see significantly less shopping cart abandonment. Customers get hit hard with sticker shock when they realize they’re spending a significant percentage of their order’s cost in shipping. Even five to 10 percent in additional costs can seem unfair when the big guys will ship for free. If you find a way to reduce the shipping cost or eliminate it all together, your customers will thank you with return visits and completed transactions. Take a look at your sales stats from the last time you offered a free shipping promotion, and you’ll see proof that the shipping costs may be a reason for shopping cart abandonment.

Take the time to understand why they are abandoning the process. eCommerce order management can be a challenging process, but if you put yourself in your customers’ shoes it’s easier to understand why their shopping carts are being abandoned.  Once you know the why, you can focus on fixing the problem. Encourage completed transactions by offering an enticing premium — something as simple as free shipping with a $50 purchase will put more money in your pocket and more sales in your register.

 

October 23, 2014
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