We’ve all been there. Browsing items in an online store, adding them to our basket… And then? We stop without completing the purchase and go to do something else instead.
Almost 70% of online shopping carts are typically abandoned. And on one Black Friday weekend an average of 2 items were recorded in each abandoned cart.
But why is this? What are the factors that make us—and our customers—stop in our tracks? What prevents the purchase being completed, and the vendor receiving the all-important order to process?
The reasons can broadly be categorised into whether the customer:
is undecided about which product they want to buy
has decided upon the product, but chooses to buy it elsewhere due to product price
has decided upon the product, but there’s a problem with the purchase process
Customers in the first category are just researching the product. Browsing. They’re not sure if they actually want it. So, there will be potential sales here that may be lost purely because the customer decides upon an alternative product, or not to buy at all.
So, to maximise sales from this ‘undecided’ group of customers, we need to make it easy for them to view the products they’re comparing on whichever device they choose to use. The sale, if it comes, may happen a long time after the initial product search. Using an omnichannel approach to optimise cross-channel baskets and wish lists is vital.
Decided on product, but buy elsewhere
When customers believe, rightly or wrongly, that they can get the same or an equivalent product at a better price from an alternative supplier, the marketing team should be sitting up and taking action. What is it about the way in which their offering is presented which is not encouraging the customer to buy? Is it the returns policy that is a sticking point?
The customer has progressed as far through the process as the shopping basket. But are the advantages of the retailer’s product offering clear in comparison with similar options from other retailers? Are strategic decisions about pricing and stock control required, or are there other ways to make the offering more appealing to close the sale?
Decided on product, but there’s a problem
The third category results in immediate sales being lost, irretrievably, when the purchase process fails the customer. These sales are also likely to go to a different retailer. One who provides a more satisfactory purchase experience.
Purchase problems fall into the following six areas:
Process: too long or complicated
Interface: information not visible, or next steps difficult on a mobile device
Inventory: items out of stock, and/or no estimate of when will be in stock
Delivery: cost of delivery options too high, or item will take too long to arrive
Payment: customer’s preferred payment option is not available
Security: buyer doesn’t feel safe giving financial or personal details on the site
Of these, delivery issues are the most critical factor; research by Statista showed that 41% of shoppers abandoned carts because cost of delivery was higher than expected, and 26% stopped the process because the product would take too long to be delivered.
Improving stock delivery by leveraging omnichannel is one way in which it is possible to reduce cart abandonment significantly. This is because it enables additional stock, such as store stock, to be made available to customers, whether for home delivery or click and collect. Real-time visibility of inventory levels will also give customers confidence that they will receive their chosen product on time.
The purchase process itself can also be a major stumbling block. Almost 9 out of 10 online shoppers have said they would abandon their cart if the checkout process is too long or overcomplicated5, with one study reporting that over 20% of online shoppers had abandoned their shopping because of this within the previous three months. And once the cart is abandoned for this reason, over half of shoppers have said they would never use that retailer’s site again. A sobering thought.
There can be no excuses for having a purchase process that alienates the customer.
Implementing modern headless commerce microservices allows businesses the flexibility and agility to adapt when circumstances require, so that the customer always receives exemplary service.
Consign cart abandonment to the waste basket of the past. Make sure your order and inventory management systems are not responsible for sales—and customers—being lost.