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Why do Customers Abandon the Checkout Process?

Around three per cent of visits to eCommerce sites end with a completed purchase. The other 97% will leave or not follow through with their purchase. That’s a lot of abandoned carts. With the number this high, you’d think that people don’t like shopping online.

Despite this, eCommerce as an industry has grown significantly over the last couple of years.

But eCommerce businesses all face the same problem. Customers go to their website and pick out some items, only to abandon the purchase at the last moment.

Statistics and reasons behind cart abandonment come out every year, so we understand why it happens. Strangely, however, very few eCommerce businesses do anything significant about it.

There are plenty of ways to combat abandonment. Understanding why customers leave the checkout process and applying some of the practices below will lead to an increase in completed purchases.

Why people abandon the checkout process

Checkout Process Length

When the customer comes to complete their purchase, the process they go through should be succinct. Customers become easily frustrated by a needlessly complicated or poorly designed checkout process.

If the customer is taken through a maze to make their payment, they won’t complete it. 

One of the main reasons people shop online is because of how easy and time saving it can be. A time consuming or complex checkout process will lead to an abandoned cart.

Long or expensive delivery

The modern consumer expects a quick turnaround when it comes to receiving their goods. Amazon changed the game with their Prime subscription, guaranteeing next day delivery on thousands of products. They have brought the average online purchase delivery time down to 2-3 Days.

If your company doesn’t meet this new industry standard, this is a change you will need to make. 

If you can, offer free shipping for goods as this is something that customers increasingly expect. At the very least offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. 

Most ecommerce businesses tend to provide two options for shipping: Free for standard delivery, or an added cost to pay for express delivery.

If the cost of delivery and shipping times are high, it becomes far less likely that customers will complete their purchase. 

Lack of preferred payment methods

Customers often have strong preferences as to how they like to pay for things online. This is in part because they are limited to the methods afforded to them by their bank or credit provider. 

Not offering their preferred way of payment is likely to make customers think twice about completing their purchase.

To combat this, it’s important that you identify the most common methods of payment and provide them. Visa, Mastercard and PayPal are the most common, so should be included in your check out payment options.

Credit providers like Klarna are also growing in popularity so offering this as a payment option can also help to boost sales.

Hidden costs

Cost is the primary driver for online shoppers. Amazon’s mantra of ‘the right product at the right price’ is one of the key reasons behind their success. . In most cases, if a customer can find a product to fill a certain need on one site at a cheaper price than any other, they will go for that. 

This fixation on price is one of the main reasons customers abandon their carts. When it comes to the checkout process, you should definitely be keeping this in mind.

If the cost begins to climb unexpectedly as your customers progress through the process, they will almost certainly abandon the cart. Added costs during checkout can appear a bit sneaky and will damage the trust between you and your customers..

Creating an account

The experience that you give your first time customers to your online store should be the best one they have. This includes their first time through the checkout process. It should be as smooth as possible.

Almost 25% of buyers drop out from the process if they are required to create an account. Filling out fields of information for one purchase is annoying for the customer in two ways.

a) It’s time consuming.

b) If it’s their first time buying from you, there’s no trust there yet so the assumption is you’ll spam them with sales emails..

Giving your customers a reason to sign up – such as discounts, exclusives or free shipping makes the exchange fairer. Customers don’t see the value of handing over their data to your business.

Elements of an ideal checkout process

Allow guest check out

This is an incredibly simple but effective way of combating drop outs during the checkout process. 

Allowing guest checkout means that your customers can have a seamless shopping experience. It also doesn’t stop you from collecting some form of data for future communications. 

Customers will be happy to just enter their email address to ensure a quicker checkout. So it creates a win-win situation.

Keep it simple

It’s important that when someone goes to make the purchase that you allow them to concentrate on just that. Design wise, you should keep it relatively simple.

Often, companies take the checkout process as an opportunity to promote other products or special offers they are running. This is understandable because if it is done well you can get an up-sell or cross-sell to boost the basket total.

But, this comes with its risks too. If you distract the customer too much, you may not get a sale at all. You can frustrate them to the point where they abandon the checkout process. Or, you might make them click away from the checkout process unnecessarily and they may never come back to complete the purchase.

Your best bet to avoid an abandoned cart is to keep it simple and make it easy for them to complete the purchase without any distractions.

Make costs transparent

Show the customer exactly what they will be paying. There is nothing more annoying than hidden costs peppered throughout the checkout process. People will abandon it, and you.

It’s the surprise element of the cost that will drive people away. If you’re honest with them from the start about the price, then people won’t get that shock factor that pushes them away.

Form error notifications

Filling out forms can be a bit of a chore most of the time. Especially if they have multiple fields.

Where customers get frustrated is when your website doesn’t inform them of a missed or incomplete field.  After several attempts to proceed with their purchase, they will assume it’s something wrong with your site and go elsewhere.

Don’t forget, a poor experience at any stage of the buying process will make it unlikely that the customer will return. The internet simply offers too much choice.

Invest in your website’s checkout process so these small niggles don’t occur. Any money you spend will be made back when your conversions increase.

It’s also a good idea to make sure the rest of the form has been saved. Having to fully fill out the form all over again because of one mistake will frustrate the customer.

Show customers their progress

People have a psychological drive to complete tasks that are put in front of them. Showing the customer how far along the checkout process they are can help push them through it.

It serves as a way of visualising how far along the task they are and is a great way of keeping them in the process. 

This is a simple, but highly effective way of reducing the number of abandoned carts.

Auto-save abandoned carts

If you’ve applied all of these suggestions but the customer still abandons their cart, do not lose hope. There are still ways to win back the sale.

Auto-saving where they left their basket makes it so much easier for them to go back and complete the purchase. Making them go through the whole process again won’t do you any favours.

Pairing this with a good follow up campaign can be really beneficial in winning back some potentially lost revenue.

Combining your customer’s data with their onsite behaviour means that your abandoned cart campaign can be personalised and take them back to where they left off. This means a seamless customer experience and one less abandoned cart left out in the ether.

To learn more about Xtremepush and how we can help you win back customers who have abandoned carts, get in touch with the team to request a demo.

About Xtremepush

Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.

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