Help Customers Seal the Deal When Shopping Online
Many businesses contend with hesitant shoppers who don't commit to buy. But few companies wrestle with indecisive shoppers more than e-commerce businesses, especially during the holidays when shoppers are browsing to find the perfect gift.
Virtual shopping cart abandonment has pained online retailers since the beginning of online shopping.
With more consumers comparing prices and migrating across multiple purchasing channels, elevated cart abandonment rates are likely here to stay. So try these seven steps for motivating consumers to complete their purchases:
- Make shipping rates known early in the process and consider discounts. Six out of 10 online shoppers indicate that shipping costs of up to 10 percent of the transaction value is reasonable. Whether you offer discount shipping or you don't, be sure the cost is clearly visible early and often to avoid surprises. In the Forrester survey, 22 percent of cart abandoners stated that shipping and handling costs appeared too late in the checkout process.
- Clear the path to purchase. While site registration supplies valuable customer data, it's also a painful source of lost sales (as much as $20 million, according to Forrester). Online shopping consultants recommend retailers allow non-registered customers to check out as guests. Afterwards you can offer incentives such as coupons and promotions to entice those customers to register.
- Reassure shoppers that their security is a top priority. Twenty-one percent of respondents in a 2009 survey by PayPal and comScore cited security concerns as a reason for abandoning a virtual shopping cart. Reassure customers by posting security icons throughout your e-commerce website, especially next to any fields asking for personal data.
- Offer delivery options. Sometimes, offering multiple delivery options can make the difference between a sale and an empty cart. Whether a customer needs to change their delivery time or re-direct their shipment, convenience of delivery will affect your customers’ decision to purchase — or look for the same product elsewhere.
- Provide alternative payment options. Many shoppers prefer to use PayPal, Google Checkout or similar systems so they can complete online transactions without entering their data for each purchase. Seventy-five percent of online purchasers have an alternative payment account, Forrester reports.
- Make returns easy. One study showed 95% of shoppers came back and bought again if they had a good return experience.1 To help customers prepare return shipments, you can create pre-printed return labels to include with the original shipment, or email return labels as needed. Recommend convenient return shipping at FedEx Office, or give customers the option to place the return right in their own mailbox with FedEx SmartPost® Returns.
- Ask abandoners why they didn't buy. Send reminder emails to notify customers that their carts are waiting. It gives you a chance to remind them to buy, as well as invite them to explain why they didn't complete their purchase.
- Encourage customer reviews by offering discounts. You can encourage online shoppers to share their thoughts — which might encourage others to buy — by following up purchases with personal emails or adding a link to your e-newsletters. After all, satisfied customers are your most powerful marketing tool.