7 Steps to Optimize Your Online Store This Holiday Season

With the Holiday Season in full swing and Cyber Monday just around the corner, it is critical that your online store is absolutely tuned up to handle the traffic and increased competition from other stores. If you own an online eCommerce business, you already know that shopping cart abandonment is one of the main challenges affecting your online sales and overall revenues. As much progress as we’ve made over the years with technology and adjusting to online customer habits, when it comes to shopping online, things have not changed that much. In fact, in some cases they’re actually worse than they used to be. Online shoppers are now much more picky and demanding about their online shopping experience.

There are tons of statistics online related to shopping cart abandonment but suffice it to say, any abandonment rate higher than 60-70% is already very high.

Among the leading reasons why online shoppers leave their shopping carts is because shipping costs are too high. Last year, UPS and comScore completed a joined study showing that as many as 81% of online shoppers in the U.S. indicated free shipping played a major role in their experience. (Amazon Prime Members already know that!). Sixty percent said they’ve abandoned their cart after finding out that shipping costs made the price higher than expected. Half said they abandoned carts because their order value wasn’t large enough to qualify for free shipping.

Other reasons included:

  • Shoppers not being ready to purchase, but wanting to save the cart for later
  • Wanting to get an idea of the cost for comparison,
  • Getting distracted and forgetting to complete a purchase,
  • Preferred payment options not being offered.

A separate study from Business Insider shows that shopping cart abandonment will result in as much as $4 trillion work of merchandise being abandoned in online shopping carts this year. However, as much as 63% of that amount will also be recovered by those online retailers that anticipate and create tools to capture back lost shoppers.

“An abandoned shopping cart does not automatically translate to a ‘lost sale,’ because three-fourths of shoppers who have abandoned shopping carts say they plan to return to the retailer’s website or store to make a purchase, according to data from SeeWhy,” says Cooper Smith, a senior analyst for BI Intelligence. “Online-only retailers are at a disadvantage to “omnichannel” retailers in this respect because they have fewer channels through which to recover lost sales.”

“Retailers can reduce the rate of abandonment and increase conversions by streamlining the checkout process and also by retargeting shoppers with emails after they’ve left a website,” he adds. “Initial emails, sent three hours after a consumer abandons a cart, average a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate, according to Listrak.”

Of course, if you wish to maintain a highly successful online store, you have to actively put effort into executing effective strategies that would increase your shopping cart conversion rate. There is always a chance that Web users that arrive at your online store, and have already begun their shopping process, will abruptly cancel the transaction and leave your website for one reason or another. So your goal must be to encourage online shoppers to see the transactions through to completion, for your mutual benefit.

For example, online customers are now less patient when it comes to a slow checkout process or a check out process that requires too many steps to complete. Consider these numbers:

  • During checkout, 57% of customers wait 3 seconds before abandoning a site.
  • 80% of them never return.

For that reason, a lot of small businesses have realized that joining Amazon’s FBA program (Fulfilled by Amazon) makes it fast, easy, and safe for their customers to complete their purchases. With just a few clicks or taps from any device, (or even one click if shoppers enable “Buy Now with One Click”) they can quickly purchase your products using information already stored in their Amazon accounts. Fewer steps for your customers means a higher conversion rate for you.

If you’re not ready yet to have your products for sale on Amazon’s store, below are seven simple ways to improve shopping cart conversion on your own e-commerce store.

  1. Put high-quality product images on your site. Shoppers on your site are unable to touch the products’ material, inspect every detail for defects or damage, try them on for size, or instantly determine their dimensions. As such, you need to post photos that will help them visualize the item as best as they can. Provide photos from different angles and in different colors, and include the ability to zoom.
  1. Provide great product copy. Pictures alone aren’t going to convince Web users to purchase your products. Provide text that will help customers see how the product is right for them. Offer a brief copy that describes what the product is, what it does, whom it’s for, and why it’s the best option out there. You can also provide a longer copy version that can help answer any other questions about it that customers may have.
  1. Assure your customers that they’ll have a secure transaction process. Customers will always have some concern about the integrity of a website when it comes to handling credit card information and the customer’s other personal details. Have a well-known payment service integrated into your site, like Master Card or Pay Pal, and include credibility boosting logos and tags in your shopping cart (ones that guarantee that your website is equipped with antivirus software and secure transaction systems, for example).
  1. Post clear shipping information. A lot of Web users become hesitant to shop online because they are wary of the shipping costs and processes. Be sure to clearly indicate what shipping fees and times can be expected so that they can properly decide if buying something online is more favorable than getting it from a physical store.
  1. Enhance your site’s loading speed. One of the things that Web users love about shopping online is that they can spend time leisurely browsing through pages of products, at their convenience. But no customer will have the patience to wait for slow loading pages when they can skip off to other faster e-commerce sites. It’s critical to improve page speed — it should not take more than three seconds to display a page — to help improve your customers’ user experience.
  1. Manage shopping cart abandonment. It’s important to reduce cart abandonment rate. This is when an e-commerce site loses a customer who is going through the checkout process — the customer chooses to leave the transaction unfinished, which means lost sales for the business. High prices, shipping costs, unaddressed customer inquiries, lengthy registration processes (that request too much information) and slow websites are some of the top reasons why Web users abandon their shopping carts. You can address this by following up with customers through email to retarget shoppers and gather information that can help you reassess and improve your website.
  1. Think about responsive design. Never forget that many of your site’s visitors will be using mobile devices, so they have to be able to effectively browse your site as well as if they were using a desktop computer to shop at your site. The mobile market is significant, and all business owners would benefit much from catering to their needs

In sum, the more effortless and frictionless you can make your shopping cart check-out process, the lower your shopping cart abandonment rate will be, and that in itself is a moving target too. You don’t have to match Amazon.com’s budget to create a simple and efficient shopping cart that makes buying your products a breeze for your customers.

If you have any questions or need help setting up your online shopping cart, be sure to contact our Team at MGR Consulting Group and we’ll help you get started with the right solution.

Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)

Sources:

Nielsen

eMarketer

IBM Digital Analytics