Ecommerce site owners know the drill all too well. You get customers to click through to a landing page, place items in a shopping cart, and then they disappear. Shopping card abandonment is frustrating and discouraging; the “almost” sale is sometimes worse than the “didn’t sell at all.”
Why is it consumers abandon shopping carts? There are a many reasons, but four of the most popular include:
1. Unexpectedly high shipping costs.
2. No intention to buy (e.g. the consumer was using the card to simply add up costs of a purchase they’re considering down the road, or comparison shopping).
3. A lack of confidence in the financial transaction.
4. Difficulty or distraction during the purchase completion process.
Of those reasons, you can completely prevent the first and you have no control over the second. Number three and four are a bit more nebulous, and require you to do some online store optimization if you want to overcome them.
Advanced security measures lead to customer retention
Today’s customers are savvy. They understand that a secure website starts out with “https” rather than just “http”. Accordingly, here are some advanced security measures you can put in place that will help prevent shopping cart abandonment and increase buyer confidence:
• SSL. Again, customers know to look for this and it will affect shopping cart abandonment.
• Verification services. Both address verification (AVS) and CVV (also known as CCV or CVV2) verification led an added degree of security to the transaction process. CVV in particular guarantees that the person putting in the information has (or has had) access to the physical card being used.
• PCI compliance. Whether you have a merchant account of your own and need to have PCI-compliant shopping cart software or whether you use a PCI-compliant gateway, this is the minimum level of security that the credit card companies require.
All of these help customers feel more confident in your site and reduce shopping cart abandonment. Consider creating a privacy and security page or pop-up message to keep visitors in their carts while they decide whether or not it’s safe to do business with you.
Visuals matter to shopping cart abandonment
Aesthetics are another one of those areas that can help or harm your customer experience. Here are a few aesthetic best practices that will help you to avoid shopping cart abandonment:
• Use clear button labels. Phrases like “Add to Cart” are ones that your visitors see every day. They know what those phrases mean and how they work. There’s no need to be clever and reinvent the wheel by labeling your button “Put it in a Sack” or something else. Use what they know.
• Keep your pages consistent. This can be hard if you’re using a different shopping cart package than what you’re using for content management. For a seamless experience, your customers need all of those thematic elements to match whether they’re ordering or not.
• Use large, obvious action mechanisms. If you want a user to click a button, make sure they can see it. If you want them to click a link, do the same. Get rid of button-like images on your pages, and don’t use any underlining except those links where you actually want the user to go.
The success of your business depends on reducing shopping cart abandonment. Devote some time to security and aesthetics and you’ll see your conversion rates climb.