60% – 80% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts (source).
That means a whole lot of people thought about buying something but didn’t have a strong enough feeling that the product was right for them or that they really needed it. Abandonment may also be the result of pricing or website issues but there’s a way to fix those too.
This article will cover a variety of ways you can increase the number of people who add an item to their online shopping carts and actually follow through on purchasing. From turning browsers into buyers to getting rid of any surprises that make them have a second thought, here are 15 tips:
I’ll typically abandon a shopping cart if I added something to it, continued to browse and in the end, didn’t have a strong enough desire for that initial item. Here are a few subtle changes you can make to encourage more purchasing.
This seems like an obvious one but more businesses tell shoppers WHAT their product is instead of WHY they need it. How is your product going to improve the shoppers’ lives? Once they understand that, they’re more likely to be hooked and convinced that they need your product.
Here’s an example I’ve used in another article:
Before: “This hat is handmade using soft wool in a light grey. The hat comes in small, medium and large.”
After: “This hat is perfect for a Starbucks run before you’ve had time to do your hair. It’s made out of a lightweight acrylic yarn in a lace stitch so it’s perfect for those warmer days when you want to cover your bed-head without getting hot. Pair it with aviators, a fishtail braid, t-shirt, distressed jeans and Birkenstock sandals.”
Shoppers can see that it’s a light grey hat and the sizes it comes in. Share something they may not know or be able to visualize.
You don’t have to be solving major issues or changing lives. You just need to get shoppers to imagine themselves using your product and seeing why they “need” this product.
Sharing how you make your products can add value, trust and set your business apart. You could simply show a detail photo in your online listings (i.e. double stitching around edges) and mention the detail in the description, or you could add a video or blog post sharing the process.
Although all your competitors may do things the same way, your customers likely don’t know that it’s the norm. The fact that you point it out can make them feel like you’re doing something different and that they should choose you.
If you’re shopping for a new silver ring and you come across two vendors you like, who would you be more likely to choose?
The one that states the ring comes in a silver finish? OR The one that states they create a flawless finish during 3 phases of polishing before a final phase of buffing?
Both probably follow the same process when it comes to finishing the ring and if a shopper had only come across the first product, they may not think about how the ring is finished. But when the second vendor mentions just how much attention was put towards the finishing details, it helps the shopper believe they’re getting a quality product and trust they’re buying from a company that pays attention to all the details.
We can’t help it, we’re creatures that like to follow the crowd. If thousands of people have enjoyed your homemade pasta sauce and come back for more, shoppers will think it’s a sauce worth trying.
Although you may not be able to get testimonials from each customer, you can still point out a ballpark number of people who have trusted your brand. “Join the hundreds of people who have (fill in the blank) (i.e. kept warm with our scarves, relaxed with our bubble bath, been satisfied with their purchase). Be sure you’re not making any false claims or misleading the shopper but do brag a little if your numbers are impressive.
Where do you make each product? Handmade cupcakes may be perceived as more expensive when they’re made in a pristine, registered commercial kitchen than if that aspect goes unspecified.
An artist’s products may seem more authentic if they’re made in their trendy studio that sits in a popular part of town and is full of exposed brick and reclaimed wood.
Adding photos of your workspace or office to your website may not be specifically what a consumer is looking for but they will take notice of how professional your operation appears. It may also help you gain a little more trust when shoppers see this isn’t a fly by the seat of your pants operation.
If I’m shopping on a site that’s unknown, I am a little skeptical about purchasing. I’ve read many horror stories about items not arriving on time or at all. And there’s always the fear that what shows up doesn’t look nearly as good as it did online. Here’s a few ways to build some trust with your shoppers:
Are hundreds of people raving about your products or are there more people with questions, complaints or problems posting on your wall? Share testimonials to give potential customers proof that your products are worth their price.
There aren’t many people who are going to send in a testimonial on their own; you need to ask for them. You can either automate the process and have a follow up email sent a set amount of days after a purchase is made, asking how they like their purchase so far, or you can do it manually, at certain times of the year.
Use this time to gather useful feedback so you can work on improving your products as well. It’s really helpful to ask specific questions. “How have you used our product?” “What did you like the most about it?” As opposed to: “Can you please provide feedback?” And make it quick and easy for your customers. They likely won’t have time to answer a long survey so the shorter and more concise the better the chances are you’ll get replies.
Are you more likely to believe a product is worth its cost if the company promises results or your money back, has a lifetime warranty or guarantees your satisfaction? Make it clear in your policies that you care about what happens after your customers purchase.
Not every product can guarantee satisfaction or afford to give money back but you can offer free repairs within a certain timeframe, trial periods or just a promise that you’ll make the best efforts to ensure each customer is happy with their purchase.
The nice thing about art and creativity is you don’t need a degree or certificate to prove you’re good at something; the proof is in the pudding. But that also means a lot more people are starting up knitting, jewelry or soap making businesses each year. Pointing out why you’re qualified to sell your products gives shoppers a little more confidence in you and may ease their worries about their new scarf unraveling or your soap giving them a rash.
If you’ve studied somewhere, been trained by, certified, worked for someone, been awarded for or featured in something, be sure to mention it. “Featured in Elle Magazine” gives you some major street cred!
If you don’t hold any awards or certificates but have spent hundreds of hours researching the materials/ingredients that go into your products, that’s also worth a mention. Or maybe some well-known companies have sponsored you. Seeing that those companies have backed you will give shoppers a little more confidence that what you’re offering is worth the price.
This is another area that can help set your business apart from your competitors. When your values are in line with your customers’ values, they’ll feel more of a connection to you and have more confidence in purchasing.
Mentioning that you hold customer satisfaction extremely high lets people know what you value most and that the care they’ll receive after their purchase is worth the price they’re paying.
Or if animal rights are important to you, you can mention anything you do to support them. That may be donating a portion of sales, which is directly related to your business, or volunteering at animal shelters on the weekends, which may not have any ties to your business.
Although it may not change the product I’m purchasing, I am going to feel a deeper connection and sense of trust if I see a company cares about animals as much as I do.
According to this article, issues with pricing is a common cause of people abandoning their shopping carts. Here are a few areas to watch out for:
Be upfront with your shoppers as to the final cost of the product. Allow them to view approximately how much shipping may be and let them know if there will be taxes added to the price or if it’s already included.
I’ve personally left hundreds of dollars worth of product in shopping carts because the shipping fees were almost as much as the product. There’s not a lot you can do when it comes to the fees postal services charge but if they’re really high, you may want to consider building the bulk of it into the price of the product. That way shoppers aren’t shocked when they hit that checkout button.
Offering a few different options to work with different budgets can encourage more people to buy. It not only allows them to try out your brand through a lower priced option but it can also help them see more value in your main products.
A higher priced product can make your lower ones seem like a bargain while a lower priced product can show customers how much more value they get for a small increase in price.
Download my free sample chapter here as I talk about why and how to add tiered pricing to your products.
I’m personally a procrastinator. When I shop online, I usually need the item yesterday so although I have to pay more, I look for the speedy shipping option. If it’s not there and I need that item by the weekend, I’ll move on to another website.
Try to have a couple options for your shoppers when it comes to shipping. It also has the effect on value that varied product pricing does; when you see that the 3 day shipping option is $35, paying $10 for non-expedited shipping doesn’t seem so bad.
If you go into your Google Analytics and take a look at Audience -> Geo -> Location, you’ll see where your site visitors are from. If there are several people shopping your site from outside your country, consider adding the option for them to view prices in their currency. Then they know exactly how much the item is going to cost them, there are no surprises at checkout and they don’t have to find a calculator to figure out the exchange rate.
We have short attention spans these days, which means your site needs to be fast and easy to use. Users won’t necessarily take the time to bring issues to your attention so it’s good to check in regularly to ensure everything is working smoothly. Have friends and family click through as well so they can let you know if anything seems confusing or hard to use.
Keep your website design simple and name pages and buttons what they are. It can be cute to get creative with your text but A/B testing has shown that simple text changes can have a huge impact on sales. For example, “ADD TO MY CLOSET” might seem like a fun alternative for a “BUY NOW” button but it may end up confusing people. Make it very clear what each button does and what users will find on each page.
If users have to wait longer than a few seconds for a page to load, the chances of them leaving the site before completing their transaction increases. It’s worth it to spend money on development to ensure your website is fast and stable. You obviously don’t want it crashing in the middle of a shopping spree either.
You definitely don’t want to make your shoppers jump through hoops to purchase. If your website has a complicated checkout procedure or makes users sign up or sign in before they can buy, they’re likely going to say ‘forget it!’ Websites are really simple to set up these days and there are too many people using complicated social media procedures to make sales. I.e. comment on the product you like with your name and email. If it’s still available, I will email you and arrange for payment. If more than one person has commented, the first commenter will have 48 hours to respond to my email and after that, the next commenter will have a chance to purchase.
Make sure you have a really easy and simple system for people to quickly checkout.
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