How to Keep Customers in Their Shopping Carts

September 29, 2016

4:30 pm

Fact: 68.63% of online purchases get abandoned. And no, it isn’t the total price tag. Customers often tend to abandon online shopping carts due to poor navigation, security concerns, on-site glitches and crashes, lengthy checkout process or unsuitable/expensive payment methods.

Applying the right design principles to your checkout page in the first place could solve these kinds of consumer concerns. Here are some of the best practices to help you with that:

Optimize Your Payment Options

According to a recent research published by Connexity, customers prefer the following payment methods the most:

bizrate-jan-payments

However, if we speak only of millennial shoppers (who currently spend $600 billion per year), 25% of them prefer using PayPal for online shopping and 42% of them use it on their smartphones. Again, that’s from the Connexity study.

If your target audience are older consumers, AMEX is the top preferred payment method by 28% of shoppers, while only 15% of millennial shoppers own an Amex card. But don’t discard it just yet, as 10% of high-income earners (over $100,000 annually) also have and use AMEX cards regularly.

Optimize the Checkout Form Layout

The essential best practices in this case include plenty of white space, clear differentiation between the different steps during the order process and a few other handy tweaks like:

Post checkout account creation. Account creation is one of the main conversion barriers for a lot of customers. Allow them to place an order prior to giving out their personal and contact information. In fact, they’ll be more willing to do so afterwards to track their order details and receive relevant notifications.

Great copy. Arguably the best example to illustrate how important those words are is this case study published by Jared Spool. After changing the account creation button text from “Register” to “Continue”, the company experienced a $300 million growth in sales during the year. Lesson? Split test all the key texts and analyze which wording drives better conversions.

Wishlists and “save for later” options. A lot of customers claim that they abandon shopping carts just because they were browsing, but didn’t feel like finalizing the purchase yet. So give those customers and option to actually make a wish list instead of using the shopping cart for that purpose.

Optimize Your Shipping Conditions

The majority of modern consumers expect conditional free shipping, however not all businesses are ready to have those costs fall on them at all times. Yet, 44% of consumers will abandon a purchase if the shipping costs are too high for them. Here’s how you can strike the right balance with shipping:

Cut down on discounts in favor of free shipping coupons. According to David Bell of Wharton Business School, consumers feel more excited by a free shipping discount (valued at $6,99) compared to a $10 off the total purchase discount.

Set up the right free shipping threshold. While a dollar doesn’t make a big deal for you, it may mean a lot for the customer. According to Linda Bustos, customers feel better about two digit thresholds (e.g. $99), compared to three-digits ones (e.g. $100+).

Don’t make the threshold too low. While you may think that lowering the free shipping threshold will boost profits, that may not be the case. According to the same study by Bell cited above, Amazon saw consumers spend less after setting a $25 free shipping threshold. You can toy around with the number: Just make sure your average order value doesn’t go down with the threshold.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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