For a digital marketer, there is perhaps nothing more frustrating than seeing a visitor place a few items in the cart, only to leave the website without making a purchase.
This scenario is what keeps a digital marketer up at night, especially when you start considering the impact that this event can have on your bottom line.
To provide a sense of how impactful a poor experience can be, Salesforce reports that 74 percent of people will likely switch brands if they found the purchasing process too difficult. So not only can your bottom line be impacted today and down the line; it can also potentially boost your competitors’ bottom line.
The scale of this issue can become even clearer when you start associating a dollar amount to these lost sales. We explored this very issue in the iperceptions eCommerce Industry Report, where we found that fewer than 25 percent of those who intended to make a purchase during a given session actually did so.
This meant that if a website has 2 million unique visitors per month, and with an average transaction value of $100, we see that the potential lost monthly revenue that can come from these ‘lost’ purchases can come to over $20M!
Before we jump in and figure out how to tackle this issue, there is something we must keep in mind:
Every e-commerce website is unique
Your customers may encounter many different reasons for abandoning their shopping cart, including (but not limited to):
- Desired payment method not available
- Technical issues or slow loading times
- Security or privacy concerns
- Insufficient or unclear information
- Just wanting to see the final price including taxes and shipping costs
- Still comparing between your site and one of your competitors
But which one(s) are the main purchase barriers for your website?
Every eCommerce website is unique, and what may be a primary barrier to purchase for one website may not be the same for another website.
Of course, you could use your behavioral or web analytics data to make some educated guesses as to what might help reduce shopping cart abandonment. However, while this data can help you indicate where the customer dropped off (the “What”), it doesn’t tell you the most important part of the story: The “Why”.
Overall, it’s the customers themselves who can provide this context. Since they are the ones going through the actual purchasing process, they can provide you with the best insights to reduce friction with your shopping cart.
This is where the Voice of the Customer (VoC) comes in
Simply put, you should let your customers tell you exactly why they abandoned, how you can improve your purchasing process, and ultimately, how to reduce abandonment. Gathering insights from your customers about your shopping cart is paramount to ensure that your website’s purchasing engine remains a well-oiled machine.
There are numerous ways you can prompt your customers for their input, each dependent on where your customer is in the purchasing process, and the goals you hope to accomplish with your research.
Let’s look at two crucial times you can prompt your visitors for their insights so you can leverage their feedback to tackle shopping cart abandonment.
1. During the purchasing process
The online purchasing experience is very much like the offline purchasing experience. If your customers are already in the shopping process, you do not want to interrupt them and take them out of that process.
However, you still want to provide a medium that not only allows your customers to provide feedback or report issues, but that also enables you to collect the specific, targeted insights that you need to optimize their shopping cart experience.
To meet both of these needs, you should use an invitation approach that is visible to the purchaser, but not intrusive to the point of being a nuisance to their experience.
Also, you want to make sure that you ask your customers only a few, short and targeted questions (e.g. visit sentiment, reason for their visit sentiment and contact info if they want you to contact them), so that they can get back to the purchasing process as soon as possible. However, you also want to make sure the insights collected provide your team with a strong foundation on which to investigate potential pain points.
In this scenario, you may want to focus your efforts primarily on purchasers who are at-risk of not buying from you, and identify the barrier(s) that is preventing them from moving down your sales funnel, and determine ways that you can assist them in bypassing these barriers.
In addition, due to the time-sensitive nature of this feedback, you should leverage an instant notification feature to inform your Customer Service team of any responses that indicate customers in distress (e.g. low satisfaction, keywords that are “red flags”).
One of the ways we do this at iperceptions is by identifying visitors who are having either a very good or very poor website experience, and show them a non-intrusive Experience Optimization survey that asks the purchaser to answer a few questions about their experience (like the questions mentioned earlier in this section).
2. After the purchasing process
Prompting your customers to provide feedback after leaving the shopping cart opens the possibility to perform more in-depth research, since they are no longer in the purchasing process at that time.
In addition to conducting a more in-depth pre-post survey for your website (and using skip logic in your questions to target purchasers), here are a couple of targeted approaches you can take to prompt post-purchase feedback from your customers.
You should engage with shoppers immediately after they leave your sales funnel.
Whereas a Pre-Post survey involves inviting all visitors to participate in a survey, an Abandonment Survey specifically targets those who have abandoned your shopping cart. In other words, you would identify those who entered your sales funnel and navigated away without converting, and then prompt them with a survey invitation on the first page to which they navigate after abandoning the cart.
This targeted invitation approach requires an equally-targeted questioning approach. This Abandonment Survey should only focus on confirming the specific reasons for why they abandoned your shopping cart, and shed light on purchase barriers that could be plaguing your website.
Even though a customer may have made a purchase on your website, it doesn’t always mean that their experience was a positive one.
For example, looking at the feedback provided by purchasers for one of our clients, it became clear that some purchasers tried to add multiple items to the shopping cart, but experienced an issue where their entire cart history was wiped. Many of these purchasers then decided to add the items they only really needed, instead of redoing the original order, leading to a significant decrease in potential sales that this client could have gotten from these purchasers.
That’s just one example of why it is crucial to obtain feedback from your customers, regardless of how successful they may appear in your behavioral data.
You should open a line of post-purchase communication with your customers. You can do so by either embedding a survey on your order confirmation page, or by providing a direct link to a survey through the order confirmation email that you send to your customers. Not only will this feedback come directly from actual purchasers, but it also shows your customers that while you are thankful for their purchase. Plus, it shows them you are striving to make their future shopping experience as pleasant as possible.
Bringing it all together
Customers abandoning your shopping cart can directly impact your bottom line in the short-term, and depending on the nature of the issues they experience, it may prevent them from becoming loyal followers of your brand in the long-term. It is always important to keep your finger on the pulse of your shoppers to see what works for them, and what doesn’t.
Regardless of the approach(es) you choose for your e-commerce website, you must always ensure that there is a dialogue in place between you and your customers. You should also not solely rely on your behavioral data when making decisions to update your website or your shopping cart.
This dialogue can be a huge complement to your behavioral data in the form by providing context, and it offers the means and knowledge for you to optimize your shopping cart and abandonment.