What else can I test … to reduce shopping cart abandonment rate?
At our web clinics and optimization training workshops, two of the most frequent questions are: “What else can I test?” and “Do you have a good example?” To answer these queries with practical test ideas and examples, we’re pleased to present our new “What else can I test?” column.
More than 60% of US online retailers are seeing shopping cart abandonment rates of over 20% this year, according to a recent eMarketer article. Among the most cited and common reasons for that abandonment: just doing comparison shopping, lack of money, looking for a coupon, and no alternative payment methods available.
In a recent survey with one of our research partners, we found that the number one reason for abandonment was shipping prices, followed by “I did not intend to purchase at this moment.”
Here are a handful of ideas, drawn from our research, that can help combat those issues and decrease your cart abandonment rates:
1) Offer alternative payment methods. Credit cards are still the most popular method of payment with about 55% of online retail purchase volume in 2008 (eMarketer), followed by debit cards with 27%. The forecast for next five years shows credit cards as the #1 payment type. However, alternative payment types like debit cards, Bill Me Later, PayPal, and Google Checkout are growing fast in popularity.
Test offering any of these alternative methods and don’t forget to promote them in your shopping cart as well as on your homepage and product pages. It’s important to let visitors know all the payment options available as soon as they land on your website. See examples:
Note: Some online retailers are seeing a significant improvement in average order value by providing a Bill Me Later option.
2) State your shipping prices or rules upfront. Simply state your shipping prices or rules in a visible area in your website and cart page. The best locations are next to the shopping cart, page header or footer or within content in the product pages. See examples:
3) Offer exclusive products online. These can help with shoppers who are just browsing and researching. You may need to do some research to find attractive products that you won’t lose money on if you only offered them online. See example:
4) Put your nav bar to work for your cart. It’s a common mistake to think that the navigation bar needs to stay the same in your cart page. I understand usability might be the reason, but you don’t want to offer more links to your visitors to abandon the cart. Instead your nav bar can become your center of “anxiety relief.” Use it to state your shipping prices, customer support options (phone number, email, chat), method of payments available, and security seals. The nav bar can help reduce your visitors’ anxiety by making them feel more secure and comfortable with your checkout process. (If you don’t have a navigation bar use the bottom section of your cart page). See example:
5) Promote your promo codes. The feeling of missing a promotion because you don’t have a promo code can be frustrating. It actually can lead to abandoning the cart to go and search for promo codes online. Instead of wasting your visitors’ time, offer them a way to get promo codes directly from you. GetElastic provides a great example of how to do this. Another option, if visitors come from a channel that you can control (email, PPC, banner, affiliate), is to have the promo code prefilled for them. You can use the visitors’ session or URL to carry over the promo code value and use it right in the shopping cart page.
6) Plug in a progress bar. This is a very simple and easy update to your cart and checkout pages. Especially for those online retailers that have a short (two to four steps) checkout process, having a progress bar can help reduce visitors’ anxiety and encourage them to continue. For longer checkouts (more than four steps), I’d recommend testing first reducing the number of steps and then testing a progress bar. See example:
7) Brand your checkout process. Along with the progress bar, naming your checkout process can reduce visitors’ anxiety. By naming I refer to using adjectives to describe the nature of your checkout process. For example, “easy checkout”, “1-2-3 checkout”, “express checkout”, etc. Test different names powerful enough that can create a sense of relief in your visitors’ mind. See example:
For more tactics and suggestions on how to optimize an eretail website, join us for our Sept. 30 web clinic: Ecommerce Optimization: A holiday playbook for procrastinators.