Slay the Cart Abandonment Dragon This Peak Season

September 14, 2016

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By Amanda Yacos; Intern 

During the holiday season, many if not most retailers experience their peak season, often generating over half of the year’s revenue in a single quarter.  One problem consistently dogging eCommerce players during this time is shopping cart abandonment. A shocking $18 billion is lost annually to shopping cart abandonment. 75% of shopping carts created are abandoned each year, in part due to users using the cart as a “wish list” – they have the intention to return but don’t follow through. Through a combination of well-informed user-centered design, friendly shipping options, and a proper testing process, companies can reduce cart abandonment and subsequently improve peak season revenues.

Three tips to reduce Cart Abandonment immediately

1)Great UX helps users complete tasks faster

User experience is key to the success of any business’ digital strategy, and usability on a website or app is essential.  A well planned user experience ensures users can complete desired tasks with minimal setbacks, while poor user experience can discredit the most useful mobile capabilities, frustrate users, and ultimately send them to competitors. A mobile site should be distraction-free, should clarify ambiguous wording, and should frame specific input for the user to enter in search bars. By streamlining content, you reduce lagging and delays when the user is trying to submit their info. A streamlined checkout process should include guest check-out options and autofill of previously entered information. Should the customer leave the cart, save it for next time and remind them by email or SMS updates.

2)Shipping should be a huge focus area

Shipping costs are a huge factor in cart abandonment. Today, consumers have come to expect free shipping; 73% say it’s critical, while 44% of users would abandon a cart due to high shipping costs. Last year, Amazon prime gained 3 million new members due to their free two-day and same-day delivery options. Both Gap and experienced delays in shipping for the holiday season, and the resulting setbacks caused a loss in sales and credibility. The provision of shipping calculators and explicit display of shipping costs early in the check-out journey allow for more control, greater transparency and peace of mind.

3)Test often to reduce errors

Effective and frequent testing of sites and apps can uncover friction in the purchase journey and reduce errors that contribute to cart abandonment.  Even the most intuitively designed sites can have high abandonment rates if performance problems persist. Page load times are critical.  Currently, 40 percent of customers won’t wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. However, in 2015 the average page load time for the top 100 retailers was 10 seconds.  About 20 percent of all shopping cart abandonment comes as a result from website performance problems. Through proper QA, UAT and having a process in place to make sure nothing slips through the cracks, companies can avoid errors that lead to cart abandonment.

The growing complexity of the purchase path has put a spotlight on the different motivations of users who abandon the shopping cart. Brands should recognize and provide the tools shoppers need, whether they are just browsing, or are close to purchase to streamline the journey. Usability and good UX are important for both types of customers, and testing will ensure that barriers to successful checkout are eliminated.  A combination of all three strategies will ensure that cart abandonment is not in the headlines this Peak season. 

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