Shopping Cart Abandonment: Scourge of Online Retail Sales


By Steve Weber, nChannel

Shopping cart abandonment is a problem that costs retailers nearly $20 billion each year, according to a study by SurePayroll. If you’re putting effort into attracting customers and enticing them with products they’d like to buy, only to have them stop short of the finish line, you’re leaving money and opportunities for repeat business on the table.

Customers cite a variety of reasons for walking away before completing a transaction – including a tedious purchase process, disorganized or incomplete product data, lack of suitable delivery options or simply a poorly managed multichannel experience. Here are a few ways to overcome these common issues.

Provide Convenience
Think about roadblocks that may discourage a shopper from finalizing a purchase. User Interface Engineering found that a surprising 75% of shoppers said they would bail on a purchase if they were forced to complete a registration beforehand. To avoid this problem, it can be as simple as offering an option to check out as a guest. For those who would like to register, provide a “save information” function, so they can return later to complete their purchase. Nearly one in four cases of shopping cart abandonment happen when customers want to save products for a future transaction, but the retailer hasn’t enabled that function.

When it comes to the actual shopping cart, provide clear thumbnail images to remind the buyer of their selections, making it easy for them to swap, delete, edit or add. Offer clear and simple navigation so customers can continue shopping or proceed to checkout. The last thing you want is for your customers to feel trapped in their cart or to have to start from square one because their items were lost.

Build Trust
When shoppers think about trust, they immediately think of the security of their credit card information. Show your customers that you are a trusted site and that their payment information will be safe, without going overboard on security checks. Concerns about payment security and conversely, excessive proof of security were found to be nearly equal causes of unfulfilled sales. Find the happy medium.

Another way to build trust is to make them a promise and then keep it – specifically around delivery. A lack of delivery options plays a critical role in whether a consumer completes a transaction. To avoid this common pitfall, synchronizing inventory and streamlining the supply chain and fulfillment processes gives consumers more options for the speed of delivery.

Moreover, free shipping options have almost become a necessity for ecommerce stores – a Deloitte study showed that 66% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when free shipping is an option.

Offering free delivery and making delivery promises, however, is not enough. Presenting it clearly builds trust with your buyer and encourages them to complete the checkout process. Actually delivering when promised cements that trust and helps to build a loyal customer.

Give Them What They Want
When a buyer puts an item into their cart then clicks that button to “continue shopping,” it’s critical that they can find that next product they’re looking for. This starts with a solid product information management system that creates a centralized product database to feed all of your sales channels, ensures all the needed attributes are included, and organizes data about each item to publish online – making it easier for consumers to search, find and understand more about the product before they purchase. And make sure the system manages images as well – research shows retailers can see as much as a 10 percent bump in conversion by adding pictures of the products on their site.

Maintaining real-time and accurate inventory levels also helps ensure that shoppers add that second or third item to their cart instead of abandoning it due to an out of stock item. Synchronizing inventory with back-end systems is a start, but offering “endless aisle” ensures that customers find the product that they’re looking for. By presenting items from drop ship suppliers, you can not only reduce abandonment but also increase average ticket amount, improve cash flow and operations and enhance your customer’s shopping experience.

These steps can help you remove the headaches for your customers – and reduce/eliminate the dreaded practice of abandoning the shopping cart. Think about the experience you would provide to shoppers in-store and mirror that online to make the purchase process seamless and the opportunities for repeat business endless.

Steve Weber is the president & CEO nChannel, a provider of multichannel management software that simplifies selling for retailers of all sizes. He is the former VP of eMarketplace outsourcing services for Sterling Commerce, a division of IBM. More recently, he was named Microsoft Partner of the Year for Dynamics Retail and awarded Microsoft Retail Independent Software Vendor of the year.


Leave a Reply

M.Bell says:
Mar-05-2015 05:24 pm

It's interesting that this article was written by a multichannel retail expert, but misses some very key metrics regarding cart abandonment. While it's true that shipping cost is the number reason for cart abandonment, it can be easily assuaged by offering alternative fulfilment options. According to a recent Forrester survey 50% of consumers surveyed expect a store to have in-store pickup. This might be why buy online, pick up in-store is the number one priority for retailers (Forrester, 2014). Though retailers may be streamlining their ecommerce experience and offering free shipping to improve conversion rates, retailers are still missing out. A very simple method of cutting shipping costs and driving in-store traffic to offer buy online & pick up in-store.



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