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7 Ways to Increase Your Shopping Cart Conversion Rate

Ecommerce Businesses Must Facilitate Checkout

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Shopping Cart Conversion

Improve Your Shopping Cart Conversion Rate

Photo © pagadesign @ istockphoto.com
Amidst the din of online marketing, it can be difficult to attract customers to your website. Consequently, it is nothing short of a tragedy when a prospect goes through most of the purchase cycle, but stops short of completion. Such incomplete transactions are a thorn in the side of ecommerce.

When a customer discontinues the checkout process midway, it's called "shopping cart abandonment." The higher the incidence of shopping cart abandonment, the lower the shopping cart conversion rate. You can improve your conversion rate in seven easy steps:
  • Do Not Force Customers to Register
    You may be tempted to capture as much customer data as possible. However, many prospects would prefer to abandon you, rather than fill up a long registration form.

    Allow customers to buy without registering. If that is not an option, keep the registration form as simple as possible. Only ask for information that you really need. Make the form less intimidating by hiding the parts of the form that are not required at that point of time.

  • Remove Generic Navigation During Checkout
    To engage customers, ecommerce websites like to provide them with many navigation options -- top menu, sidebars, footer links, search box, and more. Once the customer initiates checkout, it is best to eliminate generic navigation, and only retain links that process the transaction. This will lower the risk of distraction.

  • Build Customer Confidence in the Purchase Process
    If you are an iconic brand such as Amazon.com, customers may not think twice about paying on your site. For the rest of us, it can be a challenge to inspire customers to pay online. Here are three simple measures to boost customer confidence:

    • Display a Summary of the Customer's Purchase
      Many customers multi-task online. They could easily forget what they have already added to their shopping cart. At the top right corner, display a summary of the purchase at all times. This will make customers feel that they are in control of the purchase process.

    • Display a Progress Indicator
      A progress indicator can reassure customers that each step in the purchase process is taking them closer to completion.

    • Disclose Supplementary Costs Upfront
      Supplementary costs include: shipping, packing, taxes, and the like. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer who chooses goods worth $35, but is eventually asked to pay $47. Wouldn't you feel cheated and abandon the shopping cart?
  • Have a Well-Planned Coupon Strategy
    Many online shoppers are bargain hunters. Discount coupons provide them instant gratification. These shoppers might abandon their shopping cart while they look for a coupon. If you accept coupons, make it easy for customers to find a coupon.

  • Direct the Customer's Actions
    Here are three simple strategies that can positively influence your customer's actions:

    • Have a "Checkout Now" Button
      While some customers may want to browse around, others may be ready to pay right away. If a customer is ready to pay, it is a cardinal sin in the business of ecommerce to delay the collection of that payment.

    • Have the Most Important Action Button Above the Fold
      The most important action button could be the checkout now button. It could also be a "buy now" button, if the customer has not added goods to the shopping cart. Make sure that the button is prominently located above the fold.

    • Reduce the Number of Clicks to Check Out
      Design a single-screen checkout form. If that is not feasible, reduce the number of clicks required to check out. The more the number of clicks you thrust upon a customer, the higher the likelihood of shopping cart abandonment.
  • Up-Sell After the Sale
    The temptation to sell more to a customer is understandable. However, persistent up-selling heightens the risk of losing a customer. It is best to close the sale at hand and up-sell later.

  • Recover the Abandoned Cart
    Despite your best attempts, some customers will abandon the shopping cart. That is not the end of the world. Immediately upon cart abandonment, you can email the customer and encourage her to complete the purchase. If the customer is not registered, you can store the shopping cart information in cookies on the customer's computer. The next time she visits your site, you can prompt her to complete the sale.
Final Words
You will notice a consistent theme in the steps listed above: encourage rapid checkout. However, any changes you make to your website should be set in stone only after rigorous testing.

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