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Stopping Checkout Abandonment

According to a Forrester report, 88% of buyers have abandoned an online transaction

If you want to provide a good checkout process, you need to allow your customers to quickly and easily pay for their items without feeling overwhelmed, or worse, confused. However there are other factors that drive customers away from the checkout process...

1. Remove compulsory registration

This one is a strange beast. Customers must leave their personal information and delivery details in order to purchase, no matter where they shop online. How else would an online retailer know who you are and where to send the items? However consumers don't see it that way, they simply see a registration page.

If possible provide a one page, quick shop checkout. If you have to provide two you can, but one page works much better. A recent study found that over 25% of consumers would abandon a checkout if they were forced to register first.

2. Clear delivery charges and timescales

Be honest, up-front and clear about delivery charges and delivery timescales. This allows customers to quickly check the total charges before they complete the checkout, removing any concerns about costs.

If you can, how about providing free shipping? It makes people feel like they are getting a deal (even if it may be added to the product price).

3. Remove checkout distractions

Enclosing the checkout process and removing all possible exists (links) keeps a consumer focused. It also means that important information such as security information and credit card scheme logos are more visible.

That said, adding delivery information and refund policies is a good idea as it keeps certain consumers reassured. However don't link away to informational pages. This information should appear in lightboxes which don't interrupt the checkout process.

Also a 'Continue Shopping' button may have pros and cons.

4. Use high quality images

Not only does this make your website look much more professional, it also shows the customer exactly what it is they are buying. It may also be an idea to add a thumbnail to the basket page to remind them what they are about to purchase. Or even remind of them what they are not about to purchase.

5. Avoid feedback forms

This is getting increasingly popular, however not only is it really annoying, it creates a barrier to the all important purchase. Surely this is more important than the survey? Why not ask after the customer has completed their checkout?

6. Display a clear refund policy

Having a clearly displayed refund policy makes your customers feel warm and snuggly. A refund policy should be displayed clearly so that a customer does not need to spend time looking for it.

7. Provide progress indicators

These are simple and effective in showing a customer how long they have left in the checkout process. A progress bar should be located across the top of each page.

8. Offer alternative payment methods

Each merchant account and gateway we provide is set-up to accept all major cards automatically. However cards on their own may no longer be enough.

4 or more payment types increases the success of a transaction by 22%. Customers are increasingly expecting choice when paying online, with 50% abandoning a transaction because their preferred payment method isn’t available. Preferred payment options include electronic bank transfers, vouchers, e-wallets (PayPal) and other payment methods

9. Coupons

If at all possible avoid coupon fields. Coupons drive sales, however research has found that when customers don’t have a coupon and see that field, they leave to find one with many not returning.

10. If you have data on a customer, use it.

If your shopping cart records who has abandoned an order, email them a reminder. Contact them and, politely, ask if there is anything you can do which means they will complete.

Forrester: Shopping cart abandonment here to stay?

Even the most streamlined shopping cart process can not stop cart abandonment, found Forrester in recent research into the online shopping process.

But, what is it that drives a consumer to leave?

  • Shipping and delivery costs (44%)
    Best practice suggests retailers are honest up-front about the costs yet many still anger customers with hidden extras during the checkout process.
  • Unprepared to purchase (41%)
    Not all consumers are in a position to make an immediate purchase yet go through as much of the check-out process as possible to ascertain a final price.
  • Price comparisons (27%)
    Shoppers shop around and compare prices. Therefore many consumers will go through the checkout process to ascertain total cost of an item including delivery.
  • Price too high (25%)
    No matter how good your shopping cart process, if your products prices are high consumers will go elsewhere.

It is interesting to note that of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment, most were behavioural. Therefore, even though having a clutter free shopping cart process, as well as having clear cut delivery charges, is a very good start, no amount of shopping cart streamlining could have solved the issue.


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