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The Problem Of Cart Abandonment

The ability to shop online has brought about both radical changes in the way people think and buy their goods, as well some behavior that would otherwise never be seen in the real world. For example, just imagine groups of people going into a grocery store. Most of them do what you’d expect, pulling out their shopping carts or baskets, wandering from shelf to shelf, picking up goods, and then lining up at the checkout counters to pay for their goods.

But then a strange thing happens. Some people who get in line simply walk away and leave the store. Their goods are still in the shopping cart or basket, but now they are just sitting there, deserted, their potential owners having left the store before paying, but, thankfully, not stealing the goods.

In the online world of shopping this happens all the time. It is referred to as “Cart Abandonment.”

The Problem Of Cart Abandonment

A Common Occurrence

Even with ecommerce email marketing software directing shoppers to a store, it sometimes happens that those same shoppers will eagerly select items, add them to the virtual shopping cart, and then get cold feet and not complete the transaction, instead simply logging out and never completing the purchase.

Cart abandonment happens frequently. Far more frequently than it ever has in the real world, where most people make a decision not to buy something before ever going to the point of sale at a retail outlet. In fact, one study conducted by the Baymard Institute, a web research company in the United Kingdom, estimated that 67.45% of online shopping carts are actually abandoned before a sale can be completed.

In other words, many, many more people online suddenly change their minds at the last minute as compared to the real world. That’s a baffling figure. So what is happening here? Why are people changing their minds? And what can you do to prevent this?

The Causes Of Cart Abandonment

There are many reasons that cart abandonment occurs, with some being far more easy to fix than others. One reason carts are abandoned—that usually has nothing to do with the retailer—is when a shopper’s payment is declined. In most cases, this is the shopper’s problem, and doesn’t usually reflect on the retailer, or the online shopping experience the retailer provided.

But one major problem that can affect many retailers who aren’t used to thinking in bigger terms is one of currency. Thanks to the online nature of shopping, now your ecommerce email marketing software can reach out to potential consumers all over the planet. And that means they are used to paying in Yen, Ringgit, Euros or some other currency from another country. Many online shoppers are stopped at the shopping cart stage and leave if they are presented with a final figure that is not in the currency they are familiar with. If they don’t feel like doing the work themselves to work out the currency conversion, they simply abandon the cart and go looking for some other online service that will provide prices in amounts and currencies they can relate to.

Other big problems that cause many to abandon their carts are problems with the website or the purchasing process. A slow website that takes too long to process information, or crashes before the purchase is completed may often be more than enough for a shopper to simply decide not to restart the whole process just to complete the transaction. If they are having trouble shopping because your website is, in their eyes, “buggy,” they simply look elsewhere for some other website that will offer a smoother, bug free shopping experience. If your website is giving people problems, you need to address this immediately, as no effective ecommerce email marketing software can easily convert a shopper who has decided you make shopping too difficult to bother with.

And finally, one of the single biggest causes for people to abandon a cart is unexpected costs. You may have surcharges, or additional shipping costs, or taxes that need to be added. You probably make mention of this in small print somewhere, but for the impatient shopper that doesn’t read the small print, the simple truth is this; when the price they were expecting to pay comes out to be more than what they thought, many people will change their mind and abandon their cart. You should try to do whatever you can to be as upfront as possible about these charges and make sure people go into the purchase knowing about them. No one enjoys an unpleasant surprise, especially when that surprise is, essentially, “You owe us more money than you thought.”

How To Prevent Cart Abandonment

There are a few ways that you can try to recover a purchase after someone has abandoned the cart, especially if reasons like a problematic website or different currencies weren’t the issue. One method, known as ad retargeting, keeps the presence of your products and website in the user’s mind through the use of online ads.

The other method is using ecommerce email marketing software. By noting and commenting on the shopper’s personal interests, and engaging with them, extending a willingness to work through whatever problem they had, you can reignite and retain shopper loyalty.

Shoppers respond positively when a retailer makes an effort to reach out to them, and shows that they are aware of the shopper’s personal preferences. If your personalized email campaigns can acknowledge these factors, and entice shoppers with similar items, or even better rates or prices on similar items or the same product they’d abandoned, this can go a long way towards retaining customers and encouraging them to return to your website for their shopping needs.

The most important things to keep in mind are eliminating any possibilities that provide obstacles to a shopper making an easy purchase. Keeping the purchasing process simple, and don’t have unexpected surprise—especially with price—at the checkout stage. Follow this up with personalized email that is relevant to the shopper’s interests, and you can establish a long and fruitful relationship with your customers.