Of course you know that the only way you can make a profit from your online business is by making sales. The formula includes attracting visitors to your website, piquing their interest, and then guiding them toward making a purchase.
You may have gotten the first two parts of this equation down to a science, but without the last part, all your work is for naught. Even worse is when you see a number of visitors get all the way to your Online Shopping Cart, then abandon it. What could have happened?
The main reason a visitor may never actually purchase the items placed in the shopping cart is because they simply couldn’t find the information they were seeking elsewhere on the site. Let’s look at some possible scenarios.
Here’s an example. Suppose someone is considering buying a box of widgets. They find your site and quickly see that you sell widgets. But perhaps they are doing a bit of comparison shopping. They are not only interested in the purchase price of the widgets; they want to know how much the shipping costs will be.
If this information is not readily available, it forces the visitor to place items in the shopping cart before the shipping charge is calculated. Maybe a competing site offers the same widgets with cheaper shipping. At this point, the almost-customer will abandon the cart and make their purchase elsewhere.
Along these same lines, adding charges to the transaction right before the customer clicks on the “accept” button is not a good idea. Do you have to charge local or state sales tax? Do you add a processing fee? Any time there are charges additional to the cost of the merchandise, make them known before the final purchase screen. Most people do not like being surprised by hidden charges and will abandon the transaction if faced with additional amounts.
Much the same as not including the cost of shipping, not showing the availability of an item before putting it into an Online Shopping Cart is another recipe for disaster. If your visitor finds the perfect product at the perfect price and is ready to buy it, don’t lose the sale because the item is not in stock. Clearly show the inventory available on the description screen.
Shopping Cart Payment Methods
One last reason a shopping cart may be abandoned is that the customer’s preferred form of payment is not available. Maybe you only accept PayPal and they want to use a credit card. Perhaps they are not comfortable giving financial information over the internet and prefer to send a cheque, but your site does not offer that option. Try to include as many forms of payment as you can in order to make the largest number of sales.
The moral of the story? Ensure that the total cost of buying your products is transparent, including any discounts, transaction fees, shipping charges, etc. Provide comprehensive information and answer all the questions your potential customer might have – and don’t make them start a purchase to find out.
Another tip is to add a script to the checkout page for people that abandon your Online Shopping Cart. Try coercing them to buy with a discount or at the very least, see if you can capture their contact information and permission to contact in the future.
You may even consider adding an online survey so that you can learn more about why they’re leaving. Not every shopping cart that’s started will check out, but following the above advice above can help you reduce that number and make your visitors enjoy their online shopping experience.