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The figures are clear: 68 per cent of all e-commerce visitors abandon their shopping carts. That means that two thirds of all online shoppers are taking the time to browse and select items but then decide not to complete their purchase.
Albert Woo is APAC Managing Director of Intershop Communications, which launched the very first online shop in Germany in 1995. Woo believes that improving a website’s cart abandonment rate should not start with, or be the total responsibility, of its web developer.
“Ownership starts with the e-commerce business owner. They need to have a complete understanding of their online business, as well as the offline business, if the business spans multiple channels. They must create a proper strategy that offers a complete experience that caters to your customers and addresses their needs. The cart is just one piece of the complete service offering,” he says.
He suggest these eight strategies to help achieve this goal:
Design your website, processes, ordering and payment options to suit your customers. “You need to figure out who is coming to your website and you then need to really understand your customers. Provide them with tools, services and experiences to allow them to browse, interact and purchase with confidence.”
“Building a strong brand, along with great customer service, ease of use, and a strong returns policy are the key elements for online business success. Gaining consumer confidence is the greatest win a business can achieve. Taking the 80/20 rule, business owners should focus 80 per cent of their energy on thinking about their service offering, logistics and customer care and service,” says Woo.
“People always think they’re unique and there is a tendency to want to over-complicate their offerings. The truth is online retailing and understanding your customers is difficult enough. Why then add extra complications? Offer ease of use, great search experience and self-service tools. As your brand and customer base grows, adding tools and features becomes easier and it is then easier to judge their success.”
That includes individual items, postage, packaging and delivery. Delivery costs and taxes are frequently cited as the number one reason an online shopper abandons their cart, so consider whether to include those in the total product cost or whether to add them on once a product is in the shopping cart.
Woo also says you should keep pricing and promotions simple. “Stay away from overcomplicating promotions,” he advises. “Instead, offer promotions that your customers can easily understand. Consumers want to know they are getting a bargain and they want to buy with confidence. Confidence is knowing that if it turns out to not be a ‘true bargain’, that there is a supporting return policy that means they can easily make a return, and that they don’t have to second guess a business’s policy.”
Intershop Communications is a provider of enterprise e-commerce solutions. It works with than 500 medium and large companies, including Hewlett-Packard, BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Telekom and Mexx.
“Don’t make your customers jump from one URL to another one to make a payment – this can really scare users. SecurePay can be embedded into sites, so customers don’t know they are ‘jumping out’ and it allows them to continue with their purchase with confidence.”
“Allow your customers to do what they want, when they want. Give them an option to register now or later or to check out as a guest. Allow them to proceed straight to check-out, if that is what they want to do.”
“Collecting too much information is a no-no. When you do collect information, make it as seamless as possible. Initially, you might want to ask for just a few key pieces of information. Allow customers to add extra information to their account at another time.”
“Big brands have better conversion rates, because they know that it is about the whole customer experience and they have been doing it for years and have built up a following. Companies like Amazon offer easy returns, pick-up options and fast delivery – they can add more complexity to their processes than small sites can.”
Intershop Communication’s Albert Woo says these are three of the best examples of websites that have their carts and check-out processes right:
SecurePay’s SecureFrame lets you integrate payments seamlessly into your shopping cart or application via an iFrame. This means your customers feel more secure when making a payment and are less likely to abandon their shopping cart.