mark-f-simmons-shopping-cart-abandonmentI recently had a conversation with one of my clients. He has an online store that sells a variety of home and garden items. Sales are strong, but he was complaining that it seems like a lot of his visitors would add items to the cart but end up not purchasing. He was convinced something was wrong with the shopping cart software and never thought to look more at the site itself. A quick glance at his checkout page and process gave me the answers that I needed.

Shopping cart abandoment is a huge problem among online retailers. In a Feb 2013 article by eMarketer – Retailers Rethink Shopping Cart Abandonment, they claim abandonment rates are north of 60%. In this scenario, he had a multi-page check out process. We setup a funnel in Google Analytics and began to see where the fallout or drop off occurred. This was a 3 step checkout process and I had my suspicions the drop off was greatest after the second page. We ran the test for about 3 weeks before we felt we had enough data. Our hypothesis was proven correct. More than 70% of users that added items to the cart left the site after the second page.

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Solution #1: One Page Checkout

I’m a big fan of the one page checkout. Not only as a consumer, but as a recommendation for my clients. This simplifies and shortens the process leading to much higher conversion rates when compared to even a two page checkout. If you don’t give them an opportunity to drop off, you’ll lessen the chances that it happens.

Solution #2: Send Automated Abandonment Emails

I don’t know when I first remember seeing an email from an e-tailer that I didn’t complete the purchase with, but added an item to the cart. I think it was Amazon or maybe Overstock. Let’s take our clues from the big boys. Shopping cart emails work. Not 100% of the time, but when you think about what happens if you don’t re-engage. You likely get 100% of nothing! Think about if that email converted 50% of your abandoned carts. What would that mean in incremental revenues?

Solution #3: Practice Good Site Optimization

Small details can have a big impact. E-commerce sites have to be trusted and that means not only having top notch security, but conveying that to customers in a conspicuous way. I’m a big fan of showing off your security logo and stating that information is secure. BBB logos and other industry affiliations are nice as well. It makes the customer feel safe and doesn’t create another roadblock. Especially if you’re an upstart brand, you need to demonstrate this in an obvious manner.

Solution #4: Utilize Re-targeting Campaigns

Re-targeting is when you display ads to people who have already visited your site. this works extremely well to stay top of mind with them. In this way, they are reminded of your brand and its products. If the timing is right, they will come back via an ad and complete purchase. As with abandonment emails, not doing this is leaving money on the table. Literally. If you’re able to pick up a third of the people who didn’t buy the first time, you’re ROI will be very impressive.

Ecommerce is such a great industry for me because of the data it generates. I have a good time shifting through the differences in marketing channels, new versus repeat customers, top versus worst selling products etc. All of this leads to improved efficiency and opportunity creation. A look at this client’s geographic data led to a discovery that he was spending money on ads in the wrong target market. However, that’s a story for another day.

Needless to say, my client has seen his second-chance conversions up 200% and climbing. This wasn’t secret sauce, just some common sense fixes. As we move forward, we continue to test certain variables to keep the conversion rate climbing.

I hope you found this post useful, insightful and that it gets you thinking. really, I’m just scratching the surface here. More to come in future posts. Until then, feel free to connect with me and check out my YouTube series – The Digital Edge.

Cheers!