CAT | Shopping Cart



Prevent Shopping Cart Abandonment

In addition to Laurie’s post on Choosing a Shopping Cart I figured it would be helpful to put together some tips on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment.  In my opinion, nothing is worse than driving traffic to your site, selling your product or service, and then having your already convinced customer leave in the middle of the ordering process due to your shopping cart.

Related to this, in order to reduce and more importantly in order to prevent shopping cart abandonment, I have some new ideas I can share with you for your sales funnel to close your process and not to lose your customers in the last step of the funnel.

If you’re involved at all in the online marketing world and you missed the SES show in New York (March 2008), you better have a good excuse. Informative breakout sessions on how to squeeze that extra click from better ad copy, boost conversions with little known “visitor persuasion tips”, and how best to craft a web 2.0 marketing strategy were just a tiny sampling of the topics discussed.

Even if you may have not been to SES show in New York, read on about some pointers you can add for your shopping cart:

1.  Asking too much!

Try and keep the required fields to a minimum, nothing is more frustrating than taking 10-20 minutes to fill out an order form.  If a lot of information is needed, try collecting your visitors contact information and following up after the purchase is complete for more information.

2.  How much more?

If you absolutely need to collect a large amount of information from a prospect, make sure to break things up.  If possible, separate required fields into 2-3 pages.  If your ordering process is split between 3 pages it will be less intimidating and will most likely convert better.  Also if you use this strategy it is recommended that you clearly state which step the buyer is on.  If you request 3 pages of information, simply include “Step 1 of 3”, “Step 2 of 3”, “Step 3 of 3” for each page, this will let your customer know exactly where they stand in the ordering process.

3.  What does that mean?

Many times I have been filling out an order form and arrived at a field where I needed to add information and I didn’t know what they were asking.  If there is any question as to what something means, make sure to clearly explain what is being requested.  Remember, just because you understand, doesn’t mean your customers do.

4.  Errors

Check, double check, and then check again.  The more fields required, the bigger chance for a mistake.  If there are errors in your checkout process you just lost a sale.  Check in all browsers, all browser versions, different computers, and try to check at least once a week.

5.  Validation

Many times an order form will be filled out, a field or two will be missed, and the page will refresh saying “You Missed a Field!”  Not only is this annoying but sometimes a shopping cart will erase everything you previously entered and you are stuck at step 1.  Make sure your shopping cart does not erase already entered fields, and have your form ask nicely when a field is missed.

6.  Security

With the high amount of fraud and identity theft that is arising these days, having a secure shopping cart goes far.  Many are very skeptical about giving out their name, let alone their credit card information.  Make sure you have a secure shopping cart and the security seal is visible and reassuring to the buyers.

7.  Speed

When using a multi-page checkout process make sure your shopping cart is fast.  Humans are impatient by nature.  If clicking the “Next” button results in a 30 sec delay, say good-bye.

8.  Tracking

Last but certainly not least is tracking.  Once you break your checkout process into 2-3 pages, analytics will help you pinpoint other flaws.  If you dig through your analytics and see 50% of people are leaving on page 2, there is obviously a problem.  Since there are fewer fields on each page it will be easier to figure out where or why people are abandoning your shopping cart.

These are just a few thing to be aware of, or help when choosing a shopping cart.  There are many other factors that come into play.  A shopping cart is huge part of your business if you do business online.  Once you choose your shopping cart it is often difficult to switch to another, so be sure to take your time, research, and find out as much as you can before make a final decision.

Like I said, this is only a short list, if you can think of any other shopping cart best practices, leave a comment below.

Ironic to read the USA Today front page screaming that 3 out of 4 Americans think we’re in a recession. Although we heard some scattered reports of tightening online marketing budgets, the predominant atmosphere was upbeat, optimistic, and opportunistic with a buzz that equaled and at times exceeded previous SES conferences.

And after spending 2 days on the exhibit floor, there’s no question that the average attendee is more knowledgeable, creative and marketing savvy than past years. And thanks go to Webmaster radio for an entertaining Search Bash to conclude the show.

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