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4 top reasons behind shopping cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is a huge issue for any company engaged in ecommerce with a whopping 70% of online shopping carts ditched in 2019. With most customers planning to complete their holiday shopping on mobile apps and online this year, getting the shopping cart experience right will be crucial to success this holiday season and beyond.

Things like unexpected service charges or shipping fees can put off online shoppers, but there could be other struggles lurking in your checkout process that are impacting your bottom line. Here are four digital experience issues that are causing your customers to abandon their purchases—and what to do to fix them.

1. The customer isn’t intending to buy.

When shopping online, customers may put things in their cart without ever intending to buy them. The online shopping cart is often used by customers as a wishlist or holding area to keep potential purchases until they’ve completed their research and finalized their decision. Understanding the intention behind what appears like cart abandonment can help you improve the digital experience on your mobile apps and website. 

How to fix it:

Digging into your digital customer journeys is key to discovering the context behind your customers’ behavior. A journey map can help you understand if customers are abandoning their cart but coming back later. Digging into session replays can help you see if users are showing research behaviors and what this entails. 

Once you have a better understanding of what your customers are trying to accomplish with the shopping cart area of your mobile app or website, you can build a digital experience to help them with the decision-making process. For example, giving customers an option to save favorite items or create wishlists can improve their digital experience. 

You can also take proactive measures to prod the customer to complete their purchase. Integrate your digital journey map with your marketing systems to create segments for marketing campaigns to boost conversion rates. An email containing a promo code or an app notification or retargeting ads to remind them about the items in their cart can help influence customers to take that next best action.  

2. The checkout process is too complicated.

Customers who are ready to complete their purchase can often get frustrated during the checkout process—like when they’re forced to create an account or when they encounter too many steps or confusing forms. Screen and page layout is an important aspect as well. The checkout area can render differently depending on device or whether an assistive technology is being used, often obscuring buttons or fields. 

How to fix it:

Digital customer journey maps let you see where customers are dropping out of the purchasing process. From the map, you can analyze customer behaviors to get a better understanding of where they’re struggling and why. Modern mapping tools can show you whether issues are occurring for all customers or if there are higher abandonment rates for users on certain devices or mobile app versions.

Once you’ve analyzed these digital journeys, you can experiment with changes to the checkout journey through A/B testing. While customers who create accounts are more likely to make repeat purchases, try giving some customers a guest checkout option and move the account creation CTA to after the purchase is complete and see if it makes a difference in cart conversion. You can also experiment with when and where form fields appear for the best checkout experience.   

3. There are technical issues or crashes.

In a recent survey, we found that 83% of consumers believe that a responsive online customer experience is important to their brand loyalty with 39% identifying it as crucial. Almost half of respondents believe that app crashes have a negative effect on their relationship with a brand with 24% likely to move to a competitor and 25% thinking less of the product following a crash. So it goes without saying that technical glitches can have a huge impact on cart abandonment. 

How to fix it:

Digital experience analytics tools are crucial for finding technical issues and anomalies in the checkout process. Go for a solution that captures both the client-side and the server-side so you can see customer behavior alongside AJAX calls and API requests. This lets you see if customer struggles are caused by technical errors while eliminating the need to reproduce errors and reducing median time to identify (MTTI) and median time to resolve (MTTR) metrics. Your solution should notify you of any drop offs in the conversion rate so you can address the root-cause before it impacts your sales revenues. 

4. Customers have payment security concerns.

In research we conducted with Ernst & Young, we found one in two (47%) US consumers surveyed were deterred from making a purchase online because “the website was not secure.” A similar number (45%) said they didn’t purchase because they “didn’t trust the website with their financial details.”

Often this comes down to digital experience and poor UX. If your site and app are difficult to navigate or not functioning the way your customers expect, they’re less likely to trust you with their financial information. 

How to fix it:

Analyzing session replays in which a purchase wasn’t completed will help you understand if your customers are running into roadblocks and where. Are they trying to click something that is not a link or button? Are they struggling to locate where to enter a promo code? These insights will help you think critically about page layouts and UX design. 

In addition, if you’re using any website plug-ins or mobile app SDKs make sure you fully vet these tools to ensure they follow data privacy best practices. Protect your customers and brand reputation by working with vendors that can prove their dedication to security and privacy with certifications like SOC 2, ISO 27001 and ISO 27701, which aligns with GDPR. Plus, in order to stay payment card industry (PCI) compliant, any web analytics, session replay or digital experience analytics tools you use must have the ability to mask and omit sensitive data like credit card or financial details.

Ultimately, the best way to build trust with your customers on digital channels is to be fully transparent about the data you’re capturing and how it’s used. Consider creating a place on your site or app where customers can access a robust, yet user-friendly explanation about how their personal data is used and stored, and the protections available to them.

You can create a frictionless digital experience on your mobile app and website, but if your checkout experience doesn’t meet customer expectations, shopping cart abandonment will get the better of you. With the right tools in place, you can tackle these struggles in your shopping cart and improve conversion and boost sales revenues. 

Additional resources:

White Paper: Digital Customer Journey Mapping in Today’s World

eGuide: Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Mobile App

Blog: 3 digital CX tips to remain competitive in e-commerce 

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