In early November at the Conversion Conference in London, I had the good fortune
to hear Charles Nicholls from SeeWhy speak about abandoned online
He cited a Forrester Research study from earlier this
year that examined the reasons why website visitors abandon online shopping carts.
The top 5 were:
and handling costs were too high – 44%
- I was
not ready to purchase the product – 41%
wanted to compare prices on other sites – 27%
price was higher than I was willing to pay – 25%
wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration – 24%
Interestingly these 5 reasons can be classified into 2
- Issues relating to cost
relating to readiness to buy
Whilst you should quite rightly review
your shopping cart process to
increase conversions, addressing both these other issues may in fact have a
Comparison sites, such as Comparedownload.com and Comparethemarket.com, have made it very easy for consumers
to find the best price for a product, dramatically reducing the research time
and frustration of visiting multiple websites. Whilst that’s great for the
consumer it’s meant the business owner needs to ensure her prices are
competitive if she is to secure the sale from an ever more transient audience.
It’s not just the product price; the shipping charges
are a bigger concern. Buying a discounted book at £6.99 suddenly looks less
attractive when you discover you need to add £3.50 to cover postage. In some
cases it’s suddenly more expensive than shopping instore.
The two most common ways of addressing
this are unconditional
and conditional free shipping.
With unconditional free shipping the company absorbs
the cost, either by holding the product price and eating into the profit margin
or by upping the price to cover the postage. Both can be unhealthy for a
business in the long term. It might be okay for a promotional period but you
have to do the maths to know whether you’re attracting enough additional
business to offset the cost.
The alternative might be conditional – offering free
shopping once the consumer purchases a set amount. If you set that threshold at
the right point you’ll find your average order price will increases as shoppers
add a second item to their order to qualify for the free shipping.
This is the most popular offer from
recruiters, with a Shop.org survey quoted in the NY Times, stating that 71% of surveyed businesses would use
this approach this year versus less than half taking the unconditional route.
The same article, however, highlights the risk of
experimenting with shipping, referencing a case study that revealed that
Timberland would need to generate 40% more sales to justify the cost of an
unconditional free shipping promotion.
2. Readiness to buy
You may think there is little you can do if someone is
not ready to buy. Many businesses will rely on the potential customer coming
back when they have made a decision, but it’s a rather risky approach to take.
So what can you?
Speak to them – why are they not ready?
Understand the issues and look for solutions. It may be that they just need a
little more information. Run a survey like KissInsights or call if you have a telephone number.
Price comparison – if you’re confident about your
prices, why not save them the hassle of research and show your prices versus
your competitors. If you’re the cheapest, great, but if not demonstrate why
it’s still better to buy from you (i.e. warranty, free accessories, loyalty
A Free Whitepaper example from Alistairlobo.com
Whitepaper & tools – Offer them a free whitepaper,
guide or tool relevant to the product they’re considering buying in exchange
for their email address. By giving the visitor something of value, you’re
positioning yourself as an authority on the subject and providing a positive
brand experience. As such they’ll be more inclined to part with their email
address (for you to remarket to) and you’ll be a step closer to a future sale.
Scarcity & Urgency – how can you create a sense of
urgency to encourage a quicker or immediate sale? Add a time-sensitive price
(i.e. Offer ends Monday), or limit availability (i.e. Limited edition prints).
Build Confidence – when they say they’re not ready
to buy, maybe they’re just not ready to buy from you. Maybe they
don’t have confidence in you just yet. So what can you do?
You need to provide assurance. That could be via
authorative trust marks, such as secure transactions seals, badges from trade
association or industry body membership, logos of media you have appeared in/on
or customer or influencer testimonials (social proof). These will help build
credibility and confidence in your brand.
Finally, if you can afford it and have
the resources, give them a Free
Review. This can be just a sampling of your service, but like
the Whitepaper, should give them something of value. The customer feels they
are getting something for free (who doesn’t love a freebie?) and at the same
time you get to showcase your business and product to them.
It’s not easy selling online; so many factors are out
of your control. Leaving it to chance however, will not grow your business.
Understand you customers, understand why they don’t buy and then address their
concerns quickly. Then sit back and watch your conversion rates and revenue
(Actually that’s just the beginning, there is a lot
more work to be done, including continuous conversion optimisation to ensure
you’ve got right. But, hey, that’s a story for another day)
What changes to your site or ecommerce
pages have you made that helped you reduce your shopping cart abandonment? I’d
love to hear your tips, please share them in the comments below.