10 Common Ecommerce Snags that Trigger Cart Abandonment

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
July 08, 2020

One of the biggest concerns digital experience professionals have in ecommerce revolves around the dreaded cart abandonment rate. With an average of 68.07% of online shoppers abandoning their cart before completing a purchase, it’s important to dive into the ways design, functionality, and user experience play a role in modern shopping habits.

As the world is becoming more digital, online retail isn’t going anywhere. Ecommerce is a highlight competitive space with worldwide sales expected to reach $20 trillion in 2020. Online stores can no longer risk losing revenue due to a clunky checkout process or lack of security concerns. This is because modern shoppers will not think twice about moving on to another online merchant.

A significant percentage (58.6%) of online shoppers reported not completing a purchase because they weren’t ready to buy. Considering how consumers browse stores – window shopping, saving items for later, price comparison, etc. – you must look beyond the “just browsing” segment to improve the customer journey and conversion rate.

The good news for ecommerce stores is that $260 billion worth of incomplete cart conversions is recoverable with a solid checkout design and flow. While every online strategy has a unique audience and business goal, understanding customer behavior on your site will help you narrow down how you battle common cart abandonment issues and increase your return on investment (ROI).

10 Customer Experience Issues that Affect Ecommerce Cart Abandonment

With seven out of 10 shoppers abandoning their cart before hitting “purchase,” you need to analyze how you can solve user experience frustration to capture sales and earn long-term customer loyalty. Let’s take a look at 10 common snags that result in cart abandonment.

1. Bland Product Details

If your ecommerce website doesn’t provide detailed information about your product, online shoppers will navigate elsewhere to learn more. Fifty-three percent of shoppers admit to researching products before they buy to make the most educated purchase possible. Depending on what you sell, online shoppers are looking for specs, descriptions, photos of all angles, reviews, and more.

The more details you can provide, the more informed your customer will be to make a purchase. Consider the following features when writing your descriptions:

  • Focus on your target audience and personalize the content toward their needs
  • Draw customers in with scannable benefits that are easy to read and answer the “why” behind a purchase
  • Use social proof like reviews or user-generated photos that add credibility to your products

As an ecommerce shop, you’re always selling, and writing compelling product descriptions will keep visitors interested in your products. It’s important to make an effort in writing these not to only educate customers on your offerings but also persuade them to complete the purchase.

2. Unexpected Costs

With many people comparison shopping before making a decision, buyers don’t want to pay much more than the product cost. If you have higher shipping costs than the industry average or include credit card fees, many shoppers will choose a competitor who doesn’t force unexpected costs. While only 17.5% of online retailers offer free shipping, you can offer promotions and coupon codes to avoid sticker shock and encourage your users to convert.

It’s important to weigh the necessity of additional fees against the customer lifetime value (CLV) and consider absorbing minimal expenses to avoid cart abandonment.

3. Complicated Checkout Process

Take a look at your current checkout process. How many steps do your customers have to go through to make a purchase? To improve the customer experience, you need to simplify the checkout process and make it as straightforward as possible to improve your conversion rate. The checkout process should only include three steps:

  • Product selection
  • Cart review
  • Checkout

Twenty-one percent of customers abandon their cart due to a complicated checkout process, and 28% of customers drop out because they’re prompted to create an account. Are you asking customers to register before making a purchase? Do they have to fill out a profile? Trigger these asks after the purchase so you can personalize the user journey moving forward.

4. Limited Payment and Shipping Options

Consumers like choices. With online merchants forced to compete with Amazon’s next-day shipping and Wayfair’s long-term financing options, you have to meet consumer expectations and provide comparable features. To stay competitive, consider offering expedited shipping options and multiple payment processors. For example, more than 325 million people use and view PayPal as a trusted payment processor and prefer it over a personal credit card.

By allowing your customer to choose their shipping and payment methods, you can expect to reduce cart abandonments by 6% on desktop and 21% on mobile.

5. Security Concerns

Seventeen percent of consumers are concerned about site security when making an online purchase. In 2017 alone, online shopping fraud grew 30%, and that number has continued to rise with the influx of cyber threats and hackers. Online shoppers trust websites that display security badges from Norton, Verisign, and McAfee because they provide an additional sense of safety.

Moreover, online retailers need their security badges to be associated with SSL certificates. SSL creates a secure connection between the credit card and website to prevent cybercriminals from intercepting any data. While the certifications may cost you more, it’s well worth the ability to protect your customers and online business.

6. Unresponsive Design for Mobile Users

Do you go anywhere without your cell phone these days? Mobile usage has transformed the online retail industry and is predicted to reach a $284 billion ROI by 2020. With about half of online shopping done on smartphones, your ecommerce shop’s website and checkout process need to be mobile optimized. Not only will it benefit your online shoppers, but your digital marketing efforts will improve as well since Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in mobile search results.

To prevent potential customers from abandoning their carts, test your entire checkout process on multiple devices to ensure you have a responsive design. If your design passes the test on an iPhone, Android, Windows, and Google phone, you will be able to provide a seamless user experience for everyone.

7. Aggressive Upselling

You may experience abandoned carts if you use excessive advertising while your customer is trying to complete a purchase. While upselling is beneficial during the browsing and comparison shopping phases, it’s important to simplify the checkout process so your customer doesn’t get annoyed or distracted by pop-ups or additional products.

If you’re looking to incentivize your customers, consider creating a sense of urgency or offer promotions on the product pages and when customers view their cart.

8. Technical Issues

While modern consumers shop online for several reasons, convenience and ease of use are important factors to consider. Imagine getting through the checkout process, only to receive an “error” message from the website crashing. Not only does this disturb the customer experience, but you also miss out on a chance to earn your customer’s trust.  

Thirteen percent of consumers abandoned their cart due to a website error or technology-related issue. As an online business, you’re always going to be susceptible to glitches. To be proactive, monitor your analytics and review your checkout process regularly to avoid any errors. It’s also important to optimize your code so your customers don’t experience long load times.

9. Lack of Customer Support

At traditional brick and mortar stores, consumers are greeted with a level of in-person service and support that can sometimes be difficult to imitate online. If a shopper is new to your store, they may feel paranoid about your product’s function or quality. As part of a positive customer experience, consider the following support additions to your site:

  • Offer live chat on your website and social media platforms for customers to speak with your staff directly
  • Curate plenty of videos and how-to guides that support your products
  • Provide a “contact us” form that includes an email and phone number
  • Create a frequently asked questions landing page to answer common concerns

By implementing these features, you’ll be able to instill trust and credibility in your customers while they’re making a purchase decision.

10. Missing Return Policy

Your shoppers need to trust your brand and purchase. If your customer has to leave the shopping cart to find more information on your return policy, it’s unlikely they’ll be back. Include your return policy in the final steps of the checkout process and on a separate landing page so your customers are confident about finalizing their purchase. You should also include a link with more details about your return policy within the confirmation email.

Improve Your Digital Experience to Increase Conversion Rates

While there are various reasons customers abandon their carts and even more potential ways you can solve them, it’s important to dive into the customer experience first to improve your conversion rate.

To get started with optimizing ecommerce experiences that drive conversions:

  • Pinpoint current challenges within the user experience
  • Understand how customers are interacting with your website and checkout process
  • Optimize your shopping cart and web pages to speed up the process
  • Adopt a customer-first mindset that puts their needs above yours
  • Analyze, measure, and repeat

To incorporate these best practices into a simple and effective process, download The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Digital Experiences for Enterprise.

Topics: Conversion Optimization, Ecommerce, Online Retail
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