If 82% Of Online Shoppers Bail Before Checkout, Here Are 9 Ways Retailers Can Get Them To The Buy Box

If online shopping is good for your health, why would an astonishing 82% of online shopping carts be abandoned? According to Monetate, 8.01% of visitors added items to their cart inQ4 2012, but only 1.42% actually checked out -- suggesting that global cart abandonment rate is around 82%). (via Clicktale). Other researchers set abandonment rates at 60% and up.  First, I will show what the customer might be thinking if they abandon the cart before checkout, and then, most importantly, what to do to keep the buying process open and make the sale happen. 

1. Sticker Shock.

The price didn't bother the customer too much until the tax got added in, and then the shipping charges were added -- and then that total looked bigger than they expected. (Remember my posts, What Customers Want In Their eCommerce Shopping & Shipping Experience,  and 6 Little Secrets About Online Shopping That Retailers Don’t Want Their Competitors To Know --  shoppers WANT to know the totals and details early in the process or they'd abandon sooner).

Solution 1: An increasing number of online merchants are combating sticker shock by calculating and showing the customers' sales tax BEFORE they've even decided to check out.

Solution 2: Free shipping buffers the sticker shock question. More importantly, business gained by offering free shipping could replace revenue lost from people who bail before buying because of extra costs.

2. Guilt? Remorse? Cognitive Dissonance?

When you're about to buy something, do you sometimes get that funny feeling that you shouldn't buy/don't deserve this? You're not alone. It was exciting and fun, but you got carried away by the process, and now it hits you. Buyer’s remorse might stem from a state of psychological discomfort that can't be rationalized, but actually outweighs the enjoyment of using the product.

3. Let's Pretend…

It's fun to imagine yourself as Madonna or Beyonce, or Ashton Kutcher or George Clooney (and use the coffee he likes or the perfume advertised by Julia Roberts). But it's all fantasy, and when the customer reaches the checkout and wakes up, like Cinderella, they leave the fantasy world and that glass slipper they were just kvelling over, behind.

4. Shopping Feels Good, But...

The feel-good effects consumers feel while shopping don't always have to do with the actual acquisition of material goods. Shopping can be a harmless fantasy that “releases mood-lifting endorphins, boosts your immune system, keeps your brain nimble, and even fulfills basic social needs” says Women’s Health. Wow! The simple act of browsing has flooded your senses, stimulated your imagination, and fulfilled the very basic need to forage your favorite online merchant. And it didn't cost you a thing.

(When I was a college student, I would spend a lot of time at the library -- looking for, and checking out, books. It was a kind of shopping. And after the pleasure of hours of searching, and then taking home, they could be returned with no charges attached).

5. The Dratted Invisible Coupon Code.

Don't you hate coming to the check out and seeing that maddening empty box: "Enter Coupon Code Here." Darn, I wish I had Googled for coupons before coming to the order site. (And sometimes the customer gets so sidetracked hunting down a coupon, they forget to come back to finish up the purchase).

Solution: Studies show that the customer is significantly more likely to make a purchase when merchants display working coupon codes for the customer's convenience.

6. The customer bails before giving you their contact information.

Solution: You want to try to reach them with a more appealing approach. Use A Multi-Step Checkout process to get your potential customer's contact info. Keep your forms short, and get this info BEFORE you ask for the shipping address and credit card information or give the price, i.e. before they even think about bailing.

7. Customer bails for an inexplicable reason.

Sometimes the customer gets all the way through the process only to find out you don't ship internationally -- or they don't have a US phone number -- so the order cannot be completed.

Solution: Analyze the data. Look at your procedures and see when and where the cart was abandoned and rectify the problem.

8. Customer scared of your return policies.

What if the shoes don't fit? What if the dress doesn't look as good as I expected? Or is the wrong color? What sort of hassles will a return or exchange involve?

Solution: A liberal return policy is all you need to get the customer over the hurdle of doubt or hesitation.  

9. Customer wants to know about competitive prices.

It's understandable that customers feel the need to check out other websites to compare prices.

Solution: Offer a price-match guarantee and the customer is more likely to relax and check out NOW.

Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line

Remove the worries and doubts and guilt and roadblocks and you'll have a customer more likely to buy NOW, which is exactly what you want them to do. There are coupon code websites and services (like Poachit) that help customers find the coupon right away, or put you on a list for upcoming price alerts. 

Most important to you, the retailer, is the use of sophisticated pricing intelligence, to be confident that your pricing is appropriate, correct (to your standards), competitive, and supported by your company's marketing strategy.   

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Gilon Miller, CMO

About Author

Gilon is a seasoned marketing, sales and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet business. He is the Founder and CEO of GuruShots. Previously, Gilon was the CMO of Upstream Commerce, VP of Marketing at iMDsoft and Director of Global Marketing at SAP. He earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
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