Posted July 6, 2007 10:27 am by with 11 comments

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Ok, did that headline draw you in? Good!

Marketing Sherpa (via e-consultancy) has some advice for all e-commerce web sites – 48% of potential customers are bailing on their purchase at the checkout stage!

While some of these customers can’t be salvaged, many are likely abandoning their purchase due to reasons you have control over. I’ve worked with lots of companies that have asked for SEO and marketing advice, yet the first step is always to look at the usability of the site and the checkout process. I’ve told many clients, doubling your search engine traffic is often a lot harder than doubling your conversion rate!

A real life example comes from All4Memory that has an automated email that goes out to anyone that fills out their shipping info, but then doesn’t complete the transaction. Whether the buyer got cold feet or, as in my case, the shopping cart just didn’t finalize the transaction, it’s a smart move for mopping-up potential lost customers.

What’s your advice for improving shopping cart abandonment rates?

  • What you quoted andy I think is more technically called Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails. Have to make sure you get the users email before they enter the cart to make this work well.

    Another idea. If a user is on the cart for X amnt. of time have a pop up with live help come up to help draw them in, in the case they are unwary or might have questions.

    If you have feel good stuff on your site, such as the BBB logo, SSL certificates, 100% gaurantees, etc. make sure those are above the fold and can clearly be seen on the cart etc. etc.

    Great thread btw!

  • “…doubling your search engine traffic is often a lot harder than doubling your conversion rate.” Amen. That should be fixed before anything. My advice would depend on the industry somewhat – but the blanket fixes would be, first, get your newbie, web-illiterate uncle to try and do a test $0 purchase.

    If he can’t figure it out, assume most of your clients can’t. Find out where he is confused and use that to fix the process.

    Second, have no distractions from the checkout and only a few, linear upsells. Too many choices makes a confused buyer. Then third, have as many options for payment as possible, there are people who can’t use PayPal, those who hate it, some prefer Google Checkout, others wouldn’t give their info to Google to save their lives.

    Also, follow up after purchase even if you have an automated system (even better, have someone else do it. ) I have another I’m sure that I’ll remember as soon as I hit submit…

  • We have worked on reducing our shopping cart abandonment rate for years, and I can promise it is not easy. Be realistic about how much improvement you can really expect to see. I believe the industry average is around 60%.

    According to a recent study from MarketLive, forcing customers to register for an account increases abandonment by 187%.

  • Brian the popup idea is an interesting one. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. I assume the popup would appear only while going through checkout and not just when they have items in their cart.

    I would think you wouldn’t want to present the help popup while people are still browsing and shopping.

  • yea basically if a customer has been in the cart for a while, hence the time limit, perhaps on the billing page, a popup will assist them in finishing.

    Def. dont want to spam people with a popup while there still navigating around the site.

  • eCopt

    I get asked this question all the time. Here’s the article I put together outlining all my tips and tricks for lowering shopping cart abandonment rates.

  • it’s a great wish for me to double my sites ads paying.

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  • I am also looking for alternative methods.

  • A lot of time I bail at the checkout/payment page because that’s the first page that shows me the total. I think it’s especially common when they comsumer/buyer is not from the US, as a lot of stores charge ridiculous amount for shipping internationally. If more stores showed the shipping amount before the final checkout page, you’d see this number skewed a little differently. I’d say if I abandon a checkout process at the last page, 90% of the time it’s because it’s the first look I have at the shipping price/total price.

  • Yes that headline worked.

    Good job!