Online retail might well have proved its offline retail doubters wrong in light of its successes in recent years. However, before ecommerce stores get too caught up in all the excitement they must first negotiate their way around the issue of the shopping cart abandonment rate. In order to do so, it's imperative they develop a firm understanding of all the factors playing a part in increasing and decreasing it.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that one of the main causes of a high shopping cart abandonment rate is additional costs. The operative word here is additional, that is, the costs that users see as being over and above the total price of the product. The worst way to approach these costs is to hide them until the very end leaving users with a nasty, expensive surprise.

A better way to approach the issue is to understand how and why users respond to these costs the way that they do. For instance, some users might find it perfectly reasonable that these costs are in place. However, rather than going ahead with the purchase they'd rather wait until they have an order value large enough to qualify for free shipping. And so your shopping cart abandonment rate rises.

From here we can appreciate that not all users who make up your shopping cart abandonment rate are actually abandoning their transactions. In the eyes of the business, it would look like they were on their way towards making a purchase when sometimes they're just comparing products and doing basic research. The use of the cart feature, in such cases, is simply coincidental.

The critical lesson here is that not all users using an ecommerce site have any intention of actually completing a purchase. As such, the nature of the analytics detailing your overall shopping cart abandonment rate should be nuanced enough to account for the fact that certain users might be on a device that doesn't immediately encourage them to enter their payment details.

The forms that users must fill in in order to finish a transaction then must be such that users don't have to enter all their information for every purchase. This flexibility will reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate almost immediately, even if it does hinder list growth.

Rather than creating a highly taxing environment where a great deal of data entry is required from users, there should be a form that allows them to only enter the data that you actually need. The shopping cart abandonment rate is often a key indicator of a site's usability and design.

In the sense that design pertains to creating an experience where the user gets what they want and the retailer gets what they want. For instance by creating a graphical indication of the remaining steps will often give users an indication it is a process that they can complete. Of course your shopping cart abandonment rate will still be high if the page layout isn't well designed anyway.

This would include factors like the quality of product display and the description text. The condition to define quality is whether or not your product page can answer all the questions users might have. If it doesn't then your shopping cart abandonment rate will only increase with time.

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