Batten Down the Hatches on Your Checkout Process

Tami Urban, Marketing Strategist

Author Bio

Tami brings years of hands-on experience driving revenue for her clients as an email marketing strategist. This experience includes working with hundreds of B2B and B2C clients in a range of industries. She guides her clients to see success in their email and social marketing efforts as well as working with her clients on split testing, creative optimization, segmentation, engagement and overall best practices. For fun, you can find Tami cooking, enjoying a good bottle of wine, or checking out a show at the local theater.

According to SaleCycle, just over 75% of all shopping sessions resulted in an abandoned shopping cart during the first quarter of 2017. With such a staggering number, consider what recovering even 10% of that lost revenue could mean for your brand. Cart recovery programs are proven: Just under a third of opened emails are clicked at least once, and 28.2% of those clicks led to a conversion. These programs seem like a no-brainer.

With results like that, you’d think everyone would be sending them, right? That’s what I set out to prove, but after abandoning 43 top retailer websites, only seven followed through with an abandoned cart message. And of those, only four brands sent a second message. What a surprise!

While sending timely, relevant cart recovery messages is important, that’s only half the battle. It’s also crucial to go to the source and try to deter shoppers from abandoning their shopping carts in the first place, particularly during checkout. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why shoppers don’t follow through and how you can help alleviate those pain points.

Price: Sticker Shock and Unexpected Costs

Have you ever started to check out and suddenly a previously hidden fee appears on the screen? Be up front about your charges. You might lose a sale or two, but you’ll gain more trust by being honest and straightforward.

Shipping costs are one of the biggest surprises. Do you offer free shipping at a certain price point? If so, tell shoppers from the start. Not only will this decrease the chances of abandonment, it will also encourage shoppers to spend more to earn the perk, which increases your average order value.

If you offer discounts, use a discount code box on your checkout page to help motivate customers to complete the purchase and potentially browse for and buy other products they hadn’t originally intended to. Everyone likes to see exactly how much they’re saving and feel like they’re getting the most bang for their buck.

Site Issues: Complicated Navigation and Session Timeouts

Unfortunately, many retailers underestimate the number of pages required to complete a transaction. Make the process as seamless as possible, and consider including a status indicator that shows shoppers how far they’ve come and what steps they have left. You can even go one step further and include a timer that shows your customers how much longer it will be before the checkout process is complete. It can be a powerful motivator and help seal the deal on a sale.

Don’t slow down the process by asking for unnecessary or redundant information. Why bother expecting shoppers to enter city and state information when both can be easily obtained once they enter a zip or postal code.

And we all know everyone will have the occasional technical glitch or slowdown, but when server hardware, high-speed connections and ecommerce platforms are at all-time low costs, there’s little excuse for a consistently slow site. How long would you wait for a page to load before going somewhere else?

Security: Payment Information and Required Registration

One major point of contention for many online shoppers is the security of their personal information. With a near-constant stream of news on the latest data breaches, consumers are more careful than ever when it comes to what information they provide online. Yet only five of the online retailers I visited highlighted their site and order security during checkout. Consider adding security information or certificates early in the process to put your shoppers’ minds at ease.

Want to lose a number of shoppers right away? Require them to log in or register before making a purchase. Out of the companies I researched, 14% required registration before I could even begin the checkout process. With heightened awareness of identity theft and increasing concerns about information privacy, more and more shoppers are reluctant to offer personal details, particularly for small or routine purchases. Guest checkout options let customers complete transactions quickly and easily without the fear that they have exposed their information. You must weigh your desire to gather customer data against the cost of lost sales. If they shop with your company often, odds are they will sign up for an account anyway, especially if you offer incentives such as a loyalty or rewards program.

If you’re guilty of these offenses, take the time to review and optimize your checkout process to remove any roadblocks for your customers. Then, follow up with a strong cart recovery series to catch those inevitable abandoners. Trust me: Your bottom line will thank you!