Abandoned Shopping Baskets… Tips and Tricks

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had a couple of our eCommerce customers ask us about abandoned shopping baskets and whether it’s a common occurrence. Well, it most certainly is, so I thought I’d write a blog post about it from some research we’ve done.

From some online sources we’ve found, the percentage of abandoned shopping baskets can be as high as 65%. This is where a customer comes to your site, browses your products, adds something to their shopping basket and then for whatever reason doesn’t complete the order. Depending on the average cost of each transaction on your site, this 65% of lost business could result in a massive potential amount of business that you’re losing out on. And think about, the customer has found your site, your marketing and SEO have worked, now it’s down to you to convert that customer into a sale.

So, here are some ideas as to why your customer might not be completing the checkout process:

Delivery Charges

This is something we come across time and time again, but it doesn’t always have an easy solution! If the average cost of a product on your site is £10, then a customer won’t be too happy about paying a standard courier charge of £7 or £8. Whilst we’re in a situation these days where everyone wants their delivery to be guaranteed next day, there are some options as to what you could do. If it’s not too bulky, how about looking to ship by standard Royal Mail 1st or 2nd class postage? You can print your postage labels online, and unless you’re sending via Recorded Delivery or similar, you don’t even need to queue in the post office. If your local post office isn’t too easy to get to then how about saying on your site that you only post items on a Tuesday or a Thursday? This means you go to the post office twice a week and send then. If a customer then has a choice of £2.95 for Royal Mail 1st Class or £7.95 for a next day courier delivery, it’s their decision. If they only have a choice of £7.95 and the product they’ve chosen is £10 then it might well put them off.

Payment Options

Nowadays, the most common and often the cheapest method of taking payment on your website is via Paypal. Their standard option is free to setup and then you just pay a transaction charge each time someone pays. Most eCommerce software providers build in the necessary code to link to Paypal so it’s very easy to integrate. An awful lot of people use Paypal, but there are always people that don’t so if Paypal is your only payment option, you may well lose some people. If you are trading as a business make sure you have a Paypal business account as you can then allow the customer to just enter their credit card details without them needing to have a Paypal account and without them needing to login. If you are after other payment methods, then the Paypal Payments Pro system is very good and integrates with the site so as far as the user is concerned, they don’t leave your site. Everything is done within your site but the processing is done via Paypal. Other providers include Nochex (much like paypal) and SagePay.

Just Shopping Around

In much the same way as you might pop in and out of a handful of shops when you’re looking for a particular item, people will do the same online. They’ll visit your site and may add the products to the basket just to keep a running total of what they’re spending or just to keep track of the item once they’ve found it.

Don’t Have The Money

Think of it as window shopping. They want your product, they really do, they just don’t have the money. Adding the product to their shopping basket may be as close as they’ll get, but keep in contact with them if you’ve captured their details until such time as they can afford it!

Using Your Catalogue

Unless you produce a printed catalogue of your products, your online shop is essentially your catalogue. People may well just be browsing your products but may prefer to phone you to place the order that. If you take phone orders then always ask how they found you. They may well mention if they’ve found your products online. There are still a lot of people wary of online security who prefer to speak to someone in person.

Something Was Broken

Because your customer base can be very varied, there may be some people who don’t shop online very often who just simply get confused. You may have run through the site yourself before it launched, got family and friends to test it for you, but if the only people testing the site are people confident in shopping online, you may be missing something. Maybe some wording is a bit ambiguous, maybe a link isnt as obvious to some people. They may have got to the checkout or payment page and just simply didnt know what to do next. Having your phone number and an email address on show at all times on your site may help this. Give them a sales or customer service number so if they get stuck then they can call for assistance. You can also try a Live Chat facility. If you get reports that they got an error message or something failed to load then obviously get in touch with your web developers for them to hunt around for the problem.

Security Conscious

If you’re trading online and people are entering their personal data, you should get an SSL certificate on your site. This gives you https at the start of your web address and puts a padlock on your browser to show the user that information they enter in their browser is encrypted on its way to you. This gives them peace of mind and confidence that your site is genuine. They arent expensive and your hosting company or web developer can sort this for you.

What Can You Do?

So you’ve read the possible reasons above, what can you do to ensure your customer has the best possible experience? Here is a short list of some simple ideas you could try:

  • Contact Details. Ensure you have your phone number and email address on view on your site so people can easily contact you
  • Look at your pricing, both for products and delivery. Are you competitive? See what other sites of your type and size are doing and ensure you have as many delivery options available as you can manage.
  • Make your navigation obvious. If the customer is checking out, make sure the process is straightforward. Make it clear which route they must take and give accurate information about where they are in the process and what it is they need to do.
  • Keep an eye on your abandoned baskets. If you use something like Magento, you may well have a report telling you which baskets have been abandoned. If customers have to register you may well have their details so you can email them or call them to see what the problem was and whether there is anything you can do. Other eCommerce packages will capture the users details before they pay so check your sales lists to ensure you keep on top of people who don’t pay. Even if you just convert 20% of those failed orders it’s more business for you with very little effort
  • Adhere to Distance Selling Regulations. If you’re trading online you need abide by certain guidelines. Make sure your company name and address is on the site. Offer clear refund and return policies. Give customers a method of contacting you. The more confidence your customer has in you and your business the more likely they are to buy and then come back and buy again.
  • Maintain Contact. Contact your customers regularly. Whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter or a periodic email, make your customers feel valued and they’ll come back
  • Get some live chat software. We wrote about this recently here. It’s software you install on your PC to interact with your customers live through an online chat box.
  • Search. Put a search facility on your site so customers can easily find the product they’re after
  • Usage Statistics. Monitor your usage statistics through something like Google Analytics to see what products and pages people are looking at. You can also view entry and exit pages and that may give you an insight into why people are abandoning baskets. If everybody leaves on the Delivery Charges part of the checkout then you know there is an issue. You can set Goals in Google Analytics to help you understand how people checkout

Hopefully this has given you some ideas but feel free to contact us to chat about things in more detail.