This July Only: Save 30% on PRO with code SUMMER30 »

Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 616,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
N E X T
Text:  A A

Three Steps for Stopping Checkout Abandonment

by   |    |  2,721 views

You've gotten your customer on your site, and even to the checkout page, but (as you well know) your efforts don't end at the "Add To Basket" button. If you want to encourage your website visitors to complete their purchases, you need to double-check your checkout process.

Any e-commerce site owner knows the frustration resulting from the abandonment of a full shopping basket; all online shops suffer from a certain amount of checkout abandonment. But the most likely causes of a high rate of abandonment are few, and they're relatively simple to rectify.

Here are three key areas that can generate improved conversions if you pay attention to them. I explain what steps to take in each area and why doing so will improve conversion rates.

1. Optimize the checkout process

You don't have to look far to find one of the main reasons for customers' abandoning their purchase at the checkout: your checkout process.


Making sure you comply with the following three checkpoints will maximize completion rates:

  1. You do not force registration for purchase.
  2. You offer more than one payment option.
  3. Your procedure is simple and quick.

Forcing registration to your site in order to complete the checkout stage does little more than cause potential customers to abandon their purchase.

Many customers will be first-time purchasers, and they may not initially plan on using your site to purchase again. Trying to force the issue will often put such buyers off. So make sure you include a "Checkout as Guest" as well as a "Register and Checkout" option.

Offering a single payment option may be simpler for you, but doing so will put off those whose preferred payment option is not the one offered.

For example, if you offer payment via PayPal only, you automatically exclude potential customers who do not have a PayPal account and have no desire to create one simply to buy from you. Having the option of PayPal among several other options is a good thing, however, because it is some people's preferred payment method.

Of course, make sure you allow people to use all major debit and credit cards.

Too lengthy a checkout procedure causes about 10% of people to abandon their shopping at the checkout stage.

Make it simple for customers by allowing them to enter their delivery and billing addresses together if they are the same, and never make extraneous questions mandatory to answer in order to complete the process (for example, "How did you find our site?").

Also make sure that completed fields in the forms are retained, customer security permitting, should a customer forget to check a box or fill in a mandatory field and be directed away from the checkout. Most customers will not have the patience to fill in an entire checkout form more than once.

2. Cut down on hidden charges

Almost half of those who have abandoned a shopping cart at checkout cite their unwillingness to pay hidden charges.

Make sure you are as transparent as possible with all pricing. Most customers expect being charged a small amount for shipping or delivery at checkout, but displaying prices on product pages without, say, VAT included (in Europe), can be misleading.

If you charge extra for a service that is needed for the product (for example, fitting a glass curtain pole) either incorporate that charge into the price on the product page or make it clear on that page what additional amount will be added at the checkout stage.

Ensure that your shipping and handling prices are reasonable and transparent.

If possible, offer standard delivery for free (factor the cost into the product price, or decide to absorb it in anticipation of increased sales), and offer the option of quicker delivery at a higher price.

Also, consider flat rates for each option (standard, next day, named day) rather than calculating amount, size, or weight of the purchased goods.

3. Use a lead-recovery service

Using a lead-recovery service can help you pick up those customers who still abandon at the checkout stage. If the potential buyer has entered an email address or a telephone number, he can be contacted to prompt re-entering the site and completing the purchase.

Email reminders can be sent a short time after the abandonment occurs, offering a helpful reminder to customer that they did not complete the checkout. The reminder can offer an email address or local-rate or free telephone number to call if the purchase abandonment was the result of an unanswered question—whether a query about the product or a difficulty with the site.

However, contact via telephone is the most direct way to pick up sales leads, as it does not require any action by the customer, and it gives a straightforward way to find the cause of checkout abandonment. The caller is able to unknot any uncertainty on the customer's part and answer any queries, so you retain the sales lead.

* * *

Have you put any of these ideas into play? How have they improved your checkout abandonment rates?

Author's note: This article was written for UK-base lead optimization firm Optilead, on behalf of which I write about cart abandonment and the merits of using geographical phone numbers.


Join over 616,000 marketing professionals, and gain access to thousands of marketing resources! Don't worry ... it's FREE!

WANT TO READ MORE?
SIGN UP TODAY ... IT'S FREE!

We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:

Loading...
James Duval is a technology and business expert for GKBC and a freelance journalist.

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • This has a 3 star rating
  • This has a 3 star rating
  • This has a 3 star rating
  • This has a 3 star rating
  • This has a 3 star rating
2 rating(s)

Add a Comment

Comments

  • by Jeff Long Fri Dec 7, 2012 via web

    Great article, James! I know you mention that a phone call might be the best way to recover an abandoned transaction because it provides the most straightforward way of determining the root cause for the abandonment. There are new smarter technologies available that recognize causality for the abandonment (eg. payment problems, shipping costs, promo code, etc.) and allow you to tune the email message to their unique experience. Might be worth a look.

  • by Puru Sat Dec 8, 2012 via web

    Nice thoughts James! In our case, we find more abandoned carts before the checkout - though we have tried to address most of the issues mentioned by you, a checklist like above will help us retook our design once again.

    Thanks!

  • by Carolin Mon Dec 10, 2012 via web

    Great article, James, but I'm not sure how well a personal call is received when the shopping cart was abandoned by someone who doesn't live in your country. I would probably stick to an email (preferably a personalized one) in those cases, what are your thoughts?

  • by Arthur Carlos Mon Dec 10, 2012 via web

    Great article! But, we're in Brazil, and not force a registration it's bad because we need some personal information about the user to checkout.

    So, if we need these information, force the registration it's a way once the users will give us their data.

    Or you have another advice?

    Thanks!

  • by James Duval Wed Jan 16, 2013 via web

    @All - sorry I took so long to respond, I didn't realise this had been published! Super excited to be on Marketing Profs, it's a great site.

    @Jeff Long - Cheers for the recommendation. I really appreciate it, and I'm always interested in expanding my technical knowledge. Sounds like a rich area to explore.

    @Puru - glad to help. Little things can have a big impact, especially when we're talking about the larger eCommerce sites!

    @Carolin - that's a really good idea. A personalised email can be a brilliant option for many. Where a phone call shines is that it does not require technical writing proficiency. I know that English Majors can sometimes be easy to find in the market, but a good copywriter is a rare thing in my experience. If you have the resources, go for it! Some companies might not be able to, though.

    @Arthur Carlos - if you need the information, you need the information. However, registering is an extra step requiring a username/email address and password. Allow users to either painlessly and securely create a user account, with few extra steps required OR allow users to enter their details but avoid creating a user account. That's my opinion. Cheers!

  • by Carolin Wed Jan 16, 2013 via web

    Thank you for your thoughts, James. I have been in charge for the abandoned shopping carts of a small company and have made a lot of awkward phone calls to people not living in the same country that 'just wanted to see the total price' of the software packages offered. I've now gone over to sending out emails instead and have had much better success. I do use a template, of course, but try to add a personal touch to each. It doesn't take more work than if I were to call them, so this is way better for our company. I suppose each business has to see for themselves which technique works best, though.

  • by James Duval Wed Jan 16, 2013 via web

    I think you raise a really important point that most, if not all, businesses should consider. Especially in conjunction with what Jeff Long said higher up the thread!

    This is the reason I love the blog/comment thread format. 9 out of 10 times the commenters add genuine value to what was said in the original post.

  • by Kristen Hanna Fri Apr 19, 2013 via web

    Googd topic on Shopping cart abandonment which is the major problem faced everywhere. This is due to several reasons like long step checkout process, page reloading time, out of stock and many more. The major reason is many step checkout method. so I can suggest you to try one step checkout method which reduces the shopping cart abandonment.
    http://www.apptha.com/category/extension/Magento/OneStepCheckout

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!