Fear of Abandonment – Minimising Shopping Cart Drop Off Rates

Within 90 seconds a consumer has weighed up the hundreds of elements and nuances on a single page of an ecommerce site to reach their verdict. To commit or to abandon, that is the decision.

Coordinating the myriad factors and various tidbits that go into influencing this decision to be a favourable one is a mammoth orchestration that conjures up visions of Mickey Mouse in Fantasia.

While ecommerce marketers certainly have their work cut out for them, an in depth analysis of the motivations underlying and influencing factors contributing to consumer behaviour in the checkout process highlights areas to focus on in order to minimise the rate of shopping cart abandonment.

At its simplest, impacting upon both motivations and behaviour are the bones (server speed, structural design and processes) and the skin, hair and makeup (design, imagery) of the site. All components work together to play into the subtleties of consumer psychology in order to increase the likelihood of conversions.

Here follows three considerations in optimising your ecommerce checkout and minimising those pesky abandoned carts.

1. Feel the Tangibility

The ultimate challenge of digital marketers is to transcend the confines of the screen and convince the potential customer that the object of their desire is more than a collection of pixels on their monitor; to convince them that you are good for your word.

Making the object as tangible as possible by satisfying the main sensory judgement mechanisms available to the consumer (sight and hearing) will go some way to assuage reservations and increase the likelihood of conversion.

How is this achieved? Through various vehicles including multiple image angles, video demonstrations and customer testimonials; with real people testifying to the product’s attributes and practical limitations and applications.

Customer testimonials are especially important in a local setting, with 85% of consumers reading local business reviews before making a purchase, considering them nearly as valid an opinion as if a friend had recommended the business themselves. Just as word of mouth is important in physical communities and a bricks and mortar setting, so too has this personal evaluation system been translated into the ecommerce realm.

Making the object as tangible as possible can also reduce the amount of returns, with 25% of all items returned because the item wasn’t what was expected. Providing as much information as possible about a product not only influences the initial buying decision (providing multiple image angles increases likelihood of sale by 58%), it also reduces lost revenue through refunds.

As a final note, tangibility increases trust, and if a customer trusts you, they are more likely to commit to a conversion. With this in mind, you’d do well to ensure you predominantly display secure payment gateway logos, as more than 80% of consumers report it makes them feel more secure in their transaction.

2. The Complex Art of Simplicity

You’re entitled to roll your eyes at the following acronym, as it is no doubt the millionth time you’ve come across it as a Marketer. The oft-touted KISS method (Keep It Seriously Simple) is not only important in an aesthetic ‘hair and makeup’ sense, but also in a speed of delivery ‘bone structure’ site design sense.

With over half of consumers readily abandoning a site after waiting only 3 seconds, it pays to have a site design that is simple and will render quickly and correctly across multiple platforms. Especially when you consider the notion that 80% of these people are unlikely to return again.

Simplicity in the checkout process can really be seen as being synonymous with streamlining. The available information should be easily digestible, almost osmotic in nature and require little active energy from the customer. We eat with our eyes and we shop with them too – 92.6% of people rate visuals as the top influencing factor in deciding whether to commit to a purchase.

You need to gently, lightly, take the customer’s hand and lead them through the process. Speaking of which, the process of completing the transaction should be kept to a maximum of 5 steps, which is the maximum patience threshold of most consumers.

3. Clearly, Transparency is Important

While design factors certainly contribute to the average shopping cart abandonment rate of 67.4%, so too do logistical elements, including hidden charges, lengthy checkout processes and compulsory registration.

People shop online for convenience. Making the process upfront and transparent not only increases the all-important trust that I talked about earlier; it also keeps the consumers’ short fuse dampened nicely.

How? Make sure the customer knows where they are up to in the checkout process and how many steps until completion. Guide the customer with obvious and simple calls to action, and allow them to go back and double check or amend their details. On that note, avoid asking for the same information twice, which is a mistake 50% of sites make. Use auto fill options to avoid this.

Show all charges the customer can expect, including delivery. 41% of cart abandonments are a result of unexpected charges later on in the checkout process. Hidden charges ambushed upon the customer late in the game can lose you the trust you’ve been working to build all along.

One final parting thought: if you’re looking for a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card to forgive you a few blunders on your way to the ultimate streamlined checkout experience, I have one word for you: Discounts.

Incentivising with discounts as menial as a small percentage can get the customer over the line, by gently coercing them to have a little extra patience in your processes. In fact, 57% of people surveyed said that if they didn’t receive a discount they wouldn’t have committed to the purchase.

Creating and refining the ideal optimised ecommerce checkout is an ongoing process. Consistently reviewing and seeking feedback from consumers themselves is a guaranteed way to achieve the insights you need to lower your shopping cart abandonment rates and ultimately increase conversions.

See the infographic below for more information.

Consumer Psychology and ECommerce Checkouts Infographic (1)



Australia’s Generous Gen Y’s

Earlier this year we shared with you some interesting stats on Australia’s Baby Boomers in our article What You May Not Know About Baby Boomers. However, now it’s time to give a shout out and a BIG pat on the back to the generous Aussie Gen Y’s (generational group born between 1980-1994) who are making it their mission to give back.

Optus RockCorps (a partnership that rewards volunteer work with tickets to exclusive, live concerts with some of the world’s biggest musical acts) has just announced a three year nationwide annual study to examine youth community initiatives in Australia.

The first stage looked into how generous are Gen Ys when it comes to charity and volunteer work. Optus RockCorps have shared with us an infographic below so you can see for yourself how generous young Aussies really are. Gen Ys donate more than 192 million hours to Australian charities every year which equates to $3.1 billion annually, making them the country’s most charitable generational group.

Those stats may surprise you given Gen Y’s often cop flack for being the generation that is quite self obsessed. Clair Madden (Next Gen’ expert and social researcher) reports that “Once derided as the ‘me’ generation, this research shows that Gen Y is actually very community minded and active volunteers.” Clair also states that Gen Y’s are “Far from being insular and self-focused, Australians in their 20s and early 30s are charitable with their time, have a strong social conscience and see volunteering as a way to create a better society.” and you can see the stats for yourself below in the infographic.

Please click on the infographic below for a larger version.


David Epstein, Vice President, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Optus said, “We believe in the power of youth to make a difference. The Optus Generation We, Not Me report enables us to uncover the positive impact youth volunteering has on our communities, allowing us to support the volunteers of our future.”

Marketing.com.au will continue to follow this research over the next few years and share with our readers the results as they come to hand.

If you can’t remember the last time you gave back to your community, there is no time like the present to start getting involved – it’s not just for Gen Y’s! The Optus RockCorps Collective, celebrates all volunteering activity and Optus gives all volunteers who donate 4 hours of their time to charity a $70 Ticketmaster music voucher. Find out more and sign up here: www.optusrockcorps.com.au/collective/opportunities.

What You May Not Know About Baby Boomers

What You May Not Know About Baby Boomers

We thought we’d share with you this interesting infographic on Baby Boomers in Australia based on some research done by Mi9.

Whether Baby Boomers are a focus in your marketing strategy or not, they are a growing demographic in Australia and should not be overlooked. A Baby Boomer is typically defined as someone who was born post World War II between 1946 and 1964. So that makes them between 50 to 67 years of age this year.

You may not be surprised that this research shows that around 40% are cashed up with money to burn but perhaps Baby Boomers are a little more savvy than you realised?

Please click on the infographic below to view a larger version.

Mobile Marketing Trends in 2012

The penetration of smartphone ownership in Australia is one of the highest in the developed world and the numbers are continuing to rise. According to Frost and Sullivan, around 41 per cent of Aussies currently own a smartphone and this number is expected to hit 65 per cent in the next five years*.

For most Australians, the mobile phone is rarely out of sight, providing marketers with (more…)

Is Inbound Marketing In Your Marketing Mix?

Once upon a time, in a land before the digital age, consumers relied on traditional one way methods of marketing (outbound marketing) such as TV, Radio, Billboards for information about products and services. Then in the 90’s this little world of marketing as we new it would be turned on it’s head when the Internet was commercialised and inbound marketing was born.

The Internet gave us all CONTROL! There was now a new way to seek out products and services and to do our own research before we buy something. This coupled with the rise of social media meant consumers started to pay less attention to sometimes annoying traditional outbound marketing and used their new powers to become more marketing savvy and seek out products and brands that appeal to them and then also share them with friends and family.

Today, as marketers, we need to (more…)

What Everybody Ought To Know About Infographics

What Everybody Ought To Know About Infographics

We all love a good infographic and their popularity is on the rise both worldwide and in Australia.

This week in order to honour the humble infographic, we decided to give it a crack ourselves. Not only were we pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, it was also a lot of fun!

We hope you enjoy ‘Infographic Mania’ which looks at the popularity of infographics and how you can make one.

Feel free to share it around to inspire others to unleash the graphic designer within!

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Marketing.com.au Infographic Mania

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Building Your Authority

With all of us suffering from information overload and everyone getting louder and louder, how do we find the best people to listen to and learn from? The answer is simple, we seek out people with authority.

An authority is someone who is publicly known for being knowledgable or having expertise in their industry. Whether you’re a one man band with a blog or a part of a business, you are an expert in your industry. You may not think you are an expert relative to others in your industry, however, variety is the spice of life and we all need to start somewhere! Any contribution that you see valuable, is likely to be valuable to others. Is there something interesting you’ve done research on that you can share? Or something interesting that you’ve come across?

We all know that word of mouth is a powerful thing, we are heavily influenced by the opinions of others. Be confident and share your views with your readers or customers. The more you put yourself out there and demonstrate your strengths the more likely you will be to gain respect and acknowledgement. This in turn will help attract people to your website or business to hear more of what you have to say.

There are a variety of ways you can build your authority. Having a blog is one way you achieve this. With the rise in the number of blog sites popping up on the web, more and more people are sharing their views about what they feel passionate about. At the end of 2011, NM Incite (a Nielsen/McKinsey company) tracked over 181 million blogs around the world which had grown from 36 million in 2006. This demonstrates just how many people are out there sharing their views and the number of readers listening to them is endless. If you don’t have your own blog, why not offer to write a guest post for someone else’s blog in your industry. It’s also a great way to get a link back to your business.

You also need to embrace the world of social media and use it to your advantage, you can even share other peoples content and opinions and be involved in discussions. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creator, you can always become a curator.

Another common way to build your authority is to seek out opportunities to present at conferences, user group meetings or training sessions. You will have a captive audience ready to listen to you and it goes a long way in building your profile as someone that has a good understanding of the subject matter.

We came across this cool infographic in our travels from Vertical Measures that we thought we’d share with you, it’s a nice handy reference with some great tips to help you establish and build your authority.

Infographic: The Authority Building Machine
Internet Marketing Infographic by Vertical Measures