For many e-commerce retailers, shopping cart abandonment is one metric that keeps them awake at night. A July 2014 Retention Science survey of US online retailers found that 53.8% of retailers actively tracked shopping cart abandonment metrics. Cart abandonment though is an issue prevalent across industries, affecting B2B markets just as much as it impacts B2C companies. According to a recent Forbes article, studies indicate that cart abandonment rates can be as high as 80 percent, while the Baymard Institute found that most e-commerce retailers see approximately 68 percent of shopping carts abandoned.
Cracking down on the problem
There are many suggestions and thoughts on how to combat cart abandonment. Experts recommend using progress indicators during the checkout process or not requiring membership or login credentials. While those techniques might improve cart abandonment rates, how do you know that is what is causing cart abandonment? Only by directly engaging with your visitors can you undercover the root causes and steer the specific improvements that will combat cart abandonment for your website.
You have to ask
The best way to understand your visitors’ pain points is to ask them. This will address the biggest questions in regard to shopping cart abandonment, allowing online retailers to delve into the costs associated to barriers encountered by visitors with the intent to purchase, the factors that influence a purchase decision and the last steps reached in the purchase funnel by visitors with intent to purchase. The research should focus on measuring visitors’ intent, task completion rates, and the drivers of satisfaction and referral. Also by engaging your visitors and collecting feedback you can align your internal departments on what are the biggest causes of cart abandonment and create a clear vision of how you are going to support customer priorities across departments. It’s only by directly engaging with your visitors can you undercover the root causes that are driving cart abandonment.
Understand Visitor intent
Understanding visitor intent is also critical in gauging the health of an e-commerce website. More than ever, visitors are using online shopping carts for research and comparison purposes rather than only checkout purposes (Forrester). Some visitors are there specifically to purchase, others to browse, research or compare. Knowing intent gives meaning to the interpretation of purchase outcomes. This will help you understand the extent of shopping cart abandonment, by separating visitors who are just browsing from visitors who left the cart but had the intent to make a purchase.
By engaging your visitors and better understanding their intent and pain points you can solve the perplexing issue of cart abandonment without it being overwhelming.