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.
With a Digital Marketing and E-Commerce background, Rebecca currently works with vouchercloud as a Content and Marketing Executive.
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- Fear of Abandonment – Minimising Shopping Cart Drop Off Rates - February 6, 2014