The most critical component of an eCommerce store lies in the shopping cart and checkout process.
Think about this, eCommerce sites have an average of 55%-75% abandonment rate. That means most of the people adding items to their carts never actually purchased from your site. Take the best producing campaign you’ve ever had, and throw half of it away.
But shopping cart abandonment doesn’t need to be a permanent fixture in your eCommerce store. Sure, you’ll never get to 0% abandonment, but you can take certain actions that will dramatically decrease your cart abandonment rate. In fact, most of the causes of cart abandonment can be fixed fairly easily.
Have a look at these stats and tell me they aren’t easy to fix:
- Only 65% of stores display security information and features
- 24% of customers who abandoned did so because there wasn’t a clear delivery date estimate
- 55% of customers abandon due to cost of shipping
- 93% of customers say they would make more purchases online if they had free shipping.
To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a shopping cart page checklist for you. These are things that can be implemented in less than half an hour, if you’re really motivated. So open up your store’s shopping cart and see if you’ve completed everything on this checklist.
In a retail store, when customers walk up to the cashier to purchase their products, do you hide it from them when you bill them?
Well, the same concepts applies to online shopping. When customers add products to their cart, make sure those products have a thumbnail so that customers can actually see what they’re buying. It is their last chance to review their items before ordering and they don’t want to make a mistake.
For products with variations, you don’t want to show only the base product in the thumbnail. For example, if your t-shirt comes with three color options, show the option that the customer chose.
Here’s what the Zappos shopping cart looks like. If you add the same shoe twice, but with different colours, you’ll see the appropriate thumbnail image.
Zappos also displays the product options of size and width, because those are obviously hard to tell from a thumbnail image. And if I need to go back and change my options or refresh my memory about the product, I can always just click on the image.
Customers can be quite fickle in the last few steps of their shopping experience. They’re always looking for excuses to postpone their purchase. Make sure that you don’t actually hand it to them on a silver platter.
That means stop distracting them when it comes to pressing the final ‘Buy’ button. An annoying trend amongst eCommerce stores is to spray a bunch of social media icons all over the place. Do you really want customers to tweet out their shopping carts instead of actually buying?
Even worse is when there’s a popup asking customers to subscribe to newsletters, or sign up. You can always ask them to do this after they have completed their purchase.
If possible, try to have only one clear call to action, that is the ‘Proceed to Checkout’ button. If you must have a ‘Continue Shopping’ button, make sure the it is less prominent. A good way to see if your ‘Proceed to Checkout’ button actually stands out is the squint test. When looking at your checkout page, squint and note down what stands out most.
The Apple cart is a great example of how to design a Call to Action. Notice how the green ‘Check Out’ button stands out. This is because green isn’t used anywhere else on the site. The secondary CTAs to ‘Continue Shopping’, ‘Save Cart’, or ‘Chat Now’, are the typical Apple silver and blend in with the site.
Bonus: Try naming the checkout button as ‘Secure Checkout’ for the extra security assurance.
Taxes and Shipping
A major reason for abandoning carts is getting hit with unexpected costs. Yes, it’s obvious that there will be additional costs, but that doesn’t mean you have to surprise customers with them right at the very end. Why hide the costs till they’re just about to pay and then spring it on them?
Make sure your tax and shipping calculations are shown upfront, right in the cart. Sum up all the costs and show customers a final total, one that doesn’t change when they proceed to payment.
Bonus: Try offering a free shipping option or deal for free shipping, like in the Apple and Zappos examples. Studies show that discounts to shipping are valued more than discounts to products, even if the amount saved is the same.
As opposed to retail shopping, eCommerce consumers don’t get their hands on the product immediately after purchasing. For online shopping, delivery time becomes very important.
Around 25% of people who abandon your cart are doing so because they don’t know when they will receive their purchases. You don’t even need to give them an exact date. Something as simple as “Usually ships in 5 business days” could suffice.
Bonus: If you’re not sure what to tell customers, test it.
Easy Cart Editing
The point of the cart is to allow customers to preview what they’re buying before they actually pay up. If they made a mistake, they’ll want to change it, so make it easy for them to edit the cart.
A few, minor UI changes can go a long way. Changing the number of units should be a simple numerical scroller or even a text box. To remove a product from the cart, add a small trash icon or cross.
Amazon makes cart editing extremely simple. Quantities can be changed by a simple drop down. There’s a delete button if customers change their minds and a ‘save for later’ option if they are on the fence. Amazon also provides little checkboxes in case a customer wants to gift the product to someone else.
The ‘save for later’ option is a really cool feature. All it does is push the product down to a section below the cart. So when you come back to shop again, you’ll be reminded of the products you had save earlier. This is different from a wishlist which requires a separate page.
Fraud and misuse of credit card information is still a strong concern amongst online consumers. As an eCommerce store, it’s important to build trust by providing customer with useful information, friendly support and transparent policies. Talking about your security, installing site-wide SSL, and displaying security badges go a long way towards easing customers when the time comes to buy.
Yet, only 65% of stores display security information and features. Security badges like Norton Verisign or Comodo don’t cost a lot, and take minimal effort to install on your site. The small investment will generate huge returns when you see your conversion rates rise.
Bonus: Test out different types of security badges. Tests show that some convert better than others.
Show Contact Details
Conversion rate optimization is all about pre-empting customer objections and answering their questions before they have them. However, you can’t pre-empt everything, so it’s always prudent to give them a way to contact you quickly if needed. Displaying a toll free number somewhere in the header or footer is a simple way of doing this. If there’s some missing information, or a problem with the cart, customers can always contact you and clear it up.
Contact details are also a symbol of trust. You’re indicating to customers that they can contact you at any time and that you have nothing to hide. It puts them at ease knowing that if they run into a problem or make a mistake, you’re just a call away.
Bonus: Try a live chat software, like in the Apple example earlier. They’re a lot faster than phone calls and consumers usually prefer them.
How Good Is Your Shopping Cart?
Have you been following along with your shopping cart open? If so, how many of these suggestions do you already have in place? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’ve missed anything, now is the best time to go implement it. It won’t take you more than half an hour to set any of them up on your store.
When it’s all done, you’ll start seeing an improvement in your conversion rates. Don’t forget to track your shopping cart to measure exactly how much conversions improve!