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Avoiding Shopping Cart Abandonment

What makes people come to a website, shop, and then abandon the shopping cart?

It's important to know the answer to this question throughout the year however, with the start of holiday shopping fast approaching along with the fact that more people are shopping online than ever before, it's especially important to know why visitors abandon the purchase once they get to checkout and even more importantly, what you can do to avoid it from happening on your own site.

The statistics showed that in 2009, the stretch between Labor Day and November 15 was notoriously bleak as consumers curtailed their shopping until the earliest Thanksgiving promotions rolled out. Sales fell by 56 percent during that period while shopping cart abandonment climbed to a striking 83 percent, according to data from e-commerce solutions provider SeeWhy, which tracks conversions and abandonment rates.

All indications are that the trend is continuing this year, meaning that merchants must be more proactive as they head into the start of the holidays. The best way to do that is by examining the top reasons for cart abandonment and addressing them now before the season is upon us.

Below are the top five reasons why consumers abandon shopping carts during the online shopping experience, based on responses to a Forrester Research study released in May 2010:

1. Shipping and handling costs (44%)

Solution: Offer free (or reduced) shipping. A whopping 44% abandoned the cart for this reason. You have the power to change that.

2. Not ready to purchase the product (41%)

Solution: 41% of the people, needed more information before making a buying decision. Making sure to include all the information about your product is essential. Don't go for short descriptions. Great descriptions sell the product and making the products benefits the major focus of the description will allow the visitor to know that your product is what they were looking for. Also, for those that don't buy during a first visit, capturing their information and following up might make the sale!

3. Wanted to compare prices on other sites (27%)

Solution: The visitors initial impression was that they thought the price were too high and wanted to compare the data. Consider a low price guarantee and honor it when the customer asks you too. Seeing that guarantee may alleviate the visitors apprehension.

4. Item was priced too high (25%)

Solution: Do some comparison price shopping yourself and consider what your competitors are selling the same or similar products for.

5. Wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration (24%)

Solution: Get a shopping cart that has the ability to save items to their cart for when they come back next time.

Notice that none of the top five reasons have anything to do with site design or checkout functionality, and that several or all of these issues can be dealt with relatively simply. If you are not able to address them all before this holiday season, tackle the ones you can and make sure to consider the rest for 2011.

Other good ideas:

• Offer guest checkout. Many abandon the cart because they don't know if they will shop with you again. This is especially true from special purchases. They really just don't want to set up yet another account. You can offer guest checkout to satisfy those who don't know if they will be shopping with you regularly.

• Persistent Shopping Carts. Remember, holiday shoppers are likely to be careful with their holiday spending again this year. So what you do, and what you offer them may lead to lower shopping cart abandonment and a big contributing factor to how well you will do this holiday season.

To a successful 2010 holiday shopping season!

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About the Author

Leigha Baer, e-Edge Marketing
103 Tram Ct.
Summerville, SC 29483

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