9 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment
Ian Lurie May 18 2009
The fastest, easiest way to improve sales on your site? Reduce your shopping cart bailout rate.
A ‘bailout’ (aka an abandonment) occurs when someone starts the checkout process, then leaves without completing their purchase. It’s like someone got in line at the grocery store and then left their pears, diet soda and last-minute junk food purchases rolling around on the conveyor.
Here are 8 things you can change, right now, to reduce cart abandonment:
- Dump the registration. I don’t know why I still have to say this. Don’t make people register to buy stuff from you. It’s like you’re waving your middle finger at your customers. If you must have registration, make it an option at the end of the checkout process. Not at the beginning. And don’t even try to tell me registration gets you serious customers. That’s crap. Registration drives away 90% of your customers, so only the most maniacally devoted stay with you.
- Check your speed. If it takes 30 seconds for the next page of checkout to load, I’m gone. Buh-bye. Make sure your cart’s fast.
- Don’t distract. It’s ok to include your normal site navigation in the checkout process (if you really must). It’s not OK to include unrelated offers, links on the right side of the page or flashing banners advertising other sites (seriously, I’ve seen it). Let your customer focus.
- Help out. If the customer has the same billing and shipping information, let them totally skip the shipping address form.
- Be transparent. Show estimated shipping charges, discounts and itemized costs in the cart before checkout. Then show them again on the ‘confirm order’ page.
- Instill trust. A clean, neat cart that carries the same basic branding as the main site builds trust. A cart that looks like Network Solutions’ worst nightmare, asks me to ‘chek out’ and bears no resemblance to the site does not. Build trust. Don’t burn it.
- Track the funnel. Use a tool like Google Analytics to track your entire checkout funnel. That will let you pinpoint problems and improve the process.
- Stick it to the man. Just because Sears or Diadora or some other site does something stupid (like require registration) doesn’t mean you should. Be your own person. Think different. Take the road less traveled. Add cliche of your choice here.
These are the basics. I can pull together more advanced posts on things like goal funnel tracking, if folks want. Comment below.
This rant, by the way, is brought to you by a company called SeeWhy and their new product, Abandonment Tracker, which I’m reasonably certain is the creation of the Devil, ala Reaper. You can read the whole story at the NY Times. Before you resort to evil tactics like Abandonment Tracker, alienate your customer base and end up in the 9th Circle, consider the simple stuff (this post).
By the way, you can now subscribe to Conversation Marketing on the Kindle.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More