Closing the deal is both the most important part of any sales transaction and one of its biggest challenges. Brick-and-mortar stores often complete the sale the old-fashioned way, via sales associates. But with 10% of U.S. retail sales taking place online in 2018 (a percentage that’s only expected to grow), it’s clear that businesses need to explore strategies to avoid abandoned online shopping carts and complete e-commerce sales.
What are the most effective strategies a business can use to avoid online cart abandonment? To help, 11 members of Forbes Communications Council share their best methods for completing e-commerce sales.
1. Save Payment Or Shipping Information
Every online shopper internally groans when they’re about to finish checkout but then need to get up and fish their credit card out of their wallet in the other room. If your website security can support it, save payment, billing and shipping information fields to facilitate checkout. – Janice Chou, TrueFacet
2. Make Personalized Recommendations
When it comes to conversion rate optimization it is important to remember the customer is human and not just an anonymous website visitor. Layering on functionality that connects with a potential customer on a deeper level will reduce exit rate and cart abandonment. Give personalized recommendations in the cart—this shows you are paying attention to their shopping habits and are there to help. – Amelia Castellanos, Grass Monkey
3. Be Mindful Of Total Cost When Setting Prices
With the prominence of Amazon and Amazon Prime, I have found shipping costs to be extremely problematic—particularly with lower-priced items. You need to take the total cost of ownership into account when planning pricing policies. – Jessica Hennessey, Wakefly, Inc.
4. Improve Your Site Speed
Any friction in user experience will lead to a decrease in conversions. As a matter of fact, 83% of users expect sites to load in three seconds or less. With that in mind, big brands like Walmart, Amazon, Yahoo and others have experienced a direct correlation between site speed and conversions. Their findings show that a one-second load-time improvement will lead to a 7% increase in conversions. – Kristaps Brencans, On The Map, Inc.
5. Follow Up
A super simple email reminding customers who have left items in their cart can be impactful in closing the sale. Automate reminders when the intent is still there and customers may have just gotten distracted with other errands. Test different subject lines and timing until you find the best-performing emails for your product or service. – Mandy Menaker, Shapr
6. Offer Last-Minute Incentives
The most effective way for non-luxury brands to “seal the deal” in the cart stage is to offer a last-minute incentive when hesitation is identified. Set up a discount or something similar, valid for the next few minutes, that the user can claim after they show hesitation moving forward (e.g., time in the cart, an exit intention). Luxury brands should let the customer decide and never push hard. – Kobi Ben-Meir, Yalber
7. Count The Friction Points
Go through and make a purchase on your site with items in your shopping cart. While you do so, count the number of fields and clicks as well as how many seconds (or minutes —hopefully not minutes!) that it took you. Now, in consideration that each of those factors is a step between intent and actual purchase, remove as many and as much as you can. Repeat. – Alina Morkin, Voices.com
8. Track And Trigger
What works best for our clients is tracking their customers’ behavior and activities closely, with various activities triggering specific campaigns. Cart abandonment would trigger a campaign designed to complete the sale via the customer’s preferred channel and could include email, pop-ups and mobile push notifications. This real-time communication usually seals the deal. – Pini Yakuel, Optimove
9. Gather Human Insights
Abandoned shopping carts can be frustrating for e-commerce companies. The challenge for most is that data can often tell companies where people leave and how often, but it doesn’t explain why. Companies should find ways to see, hear and talk to people as they go through the buying journey online to gather human insights that can help them provide better customer experiences and increase revenue. – Michelle Huff, UserTesting
10. Minimize The Mental Math
If consumers are receiving a discount or have the option to apply a promo code, let them do that up front. This makes it much easier to track spending and sets expectations. Also, always show an estimate for taxes and shipping. Many shoppers are generally on a budget, and it can become frustrating when add-ons at the end of a transaction push a total higher than anticipated. – Caitlyn Brogan, Abernathy MacGregor
11. Be Transparent About Prices
One effective way to reduce late-stage shopping cart abandonment is to be transparent about prices. Sticker shock—especially with shipping—can deter many customers. Another important element of online shopping is a quick and easy checkout process. Make sure yours includes a progress bar that allows customers to see where they are in the process and how many steps remain. – Jeff Grover, Best Company