How to avoid lost ecommerce sales at checkout

tips  August 26, 2019

Many retailers have to deal with it every day: consumers add products to their shopping cart, start a checkout process for their online order, but drop out of the process before completing the purchase. This phenomenon of ecommerce cart abandonment is a major problem for online stores that must be prevented. The best way to identify the ways in which lost sales at checkout can be prevented is to find out why online shoppers abandon carts. In this blog piece we have therefore identified the most frequently mentioned reasons for cart abandonment during checkout and devised a solution for each reason.

Why avoid cart abandonment?
It appears the average cart abandonment rate is estimated between 60-80%[1]. In other words, 60-80% of online shoppers choose to leave the website without completing a purchase. With abandonment rates running so high, this represents a significant loss in potential sales, revenue and reduced conversion rates for etailers. If etailers do not take action, the results could go beyond simply missed sales but also customer disloyalty and brand damage. By devising a solution for the most frequently mentioned cart abandonment reasons, this effect can be reversed, and sales and conversions can be increased.

The difference between online shopping and offline shopping is that when shopping offline, the phenomenon of cart abandonment doesn’t occur specifically at the checkout.

Reasons and solutions for abandonment during checkout.
With online shopping, just like with physical retail, many consumers visit the store to do window shopping, compare prices or explore options. Consumers shop around and because of this there will always be some shoppers abandoning. These reasons for leaving the online store are almost inevitable. The difference between online shopping and offline shopping, however, is that when shopping offline, the phenomenon of cart abandonment doesn’t occur specifically at the checkout. This is mainly because of extra factors, such as delivery and creating an account, do not apply.

In order to identify the most frequently mentioned reasons for abandonment during checkout, we combined the results from our own research and from Baymard’s research. Our research focuses on European consumers and Baymard’s research on American consumers. Below you will find 5 of the most cited reasons for cart abandonment during checkout, with associated solutions.

  1. Unexpected delivery time and costs

In many cases, potential buyers decided to leave the checkout before they had made a purchase because the delivery costs were too high, or the delivery time was too long. Because consumers nowadays have a choice of a huge number of different online stores, they are becoming increasingly demanding. They tend to expect fast and cheap delivery. If, in their eyes, an online store takes too long to deliver the product or charges a high fee for it, they go to another provider without hesitation.

The solution for this is: be upfront and transparent. Customers are looking for clear and obvious information when it comes to the cost and time of deliveries and returns. It often happens that online shoppers had already placed the products in the shopping cart, but only saw at the checkout that additional costs were added to the purchase price or that delivery would take a long time. Etailers can respond to this by clarifying costs and times before the consumer reaches the checkout. By clearly indicating what the total price and delivery time will be before the checkout, consumers will not be faced with any surprises. Information about the shipping can be displayed on product pages, where consumers can view the delivery costs and time via a zip code calculator. If it is not possible to display the shipping details before the checkout, then it is advisable for etailers to display the delivery options as the first step in the checkout process.

Also, free delivery can be offered when the consumer spends more than a certain amount. This information must also be prominently displayed on the product pages.

  1. Preferred payment method was not available

Many online shoppers abandon their cart because their preferred payment method was not available. The solution for this is to offer as many payment methods as possible, specifically aimed at local preferences.

Consumers want to have access to a payment method that they have experience with, because they feel that it is a safe option that they trust, or simply because they thought it was a convenient experience. It is important that retailers consider the country from which the product is ordered. This is especially important for cross-border e-commerce, because preferred payment methods vary between markets. For example, Dutch online shoppers prefer to pay online through iDEAl, while American consumers prefer to pay by credit card or PayPal.

  1. Website felt unsafe

Although ecommerce is booming, and more and more is being purchased online, not every website is considered reliable by consumers due to technological developments, online scams and hacking attempts increasingly taking place. Fortunately, consumers are increasingly aware of this, but this means that retailers must do their utmost best to convince consumers that their website is safe.

Offering proof of security is a solution for this cart abandonment reason. If a website feels unsafe by consumers or if consumers are unsure whether a website can be trusted, they will look for a sign that proves the website is safe. Many online stores show this through trust seals from recognized security providers, such as PayPal, Norton, McAfee and SiteLock. Adding trust seals can lead to an increase in conversion and revenue.

  1. A lack of information about returns

Another barrier which stopped customers completing an online purchase was a lack of information about returns. Before they buy a product, consumers want to know how to return it if necessary and whether there are costs involved. If this information is not easy to find on the website, the consumers could leave the online store early.

The solution for this problem is to communicate clear returns policies. It is important that the policies regarding returns are clear and easy to digest, and furthermore it is wise to communicate this clearly on the website. The fact that online shoppers are more likely to shop more with an etailer that makes the return process easy is evident that an easy returns process is vital[2].

An easy return process can be achieved by enabling easy access to the return label and drop off items at a local collection point. If consumers are required to pay for this service, the etailer must be upfront about it.

  1. Website was too slow

When shopping online, consumers drop out quickly if the website of the online store is very slow or if technical glitches occur. If these problems occur, consumers cannot use the website as they are supposed to, and they leave the website without having made a purchase. A slow website or a website with many technical glitches also contributes negatively to the reliability of the online store.

The solution for this is to regularly maintain and update the website. To quickly detect errors, etailers can also regularly view the website themselves and view and click on all pages and aspects of the website. In addition, it is wise for etailers to optimize the website for several devices. The shopping experience on a smartphone must be the same as the shopping experience on a computer or laptop.

In addition to the above 5 reasons, a few others for cart abandonment during checkout are mentioned by online shoppers. These are: preferred delivery option not available, had to create an account, too long/complicated checkout process, couldn’t calculate total order costs up front and credit card was declined.

 

[1]Baymard (2017). 37 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics.
[2] SaleCycle (2019), Why do people abandon shopping carts?
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