As we approach the busiest time of year for shopping, retailer's thoughts inevitably turn to opitmizing the shopping experience. More specifically, ensuring conversions from smartphones and mobile devices are as stress-free as possible.
The incentives couldn't be greater. Studies from eMarketer show that mobile-based purchases in the US have increased by over 50% in the last year alone, with retail m-commerce sales expected to generate in excess of $102 billion. Similar increases have been recorded in other parts of the world, with nearly a third of all online orders from the UK, France and Germany in the 2016 Christmas period coming from a mobile phone.
Safe to say, the smartphone has taken center stage in retail e-commerce.
Nevertheless, we all know that purchasing via phone can often be a painful experience. A recent Bizrate survey showed that bugbear include slow load times, having to pinch and zoom to read text and difficulty finding the right places to click.
As any consumer can attest, the routine of having take out your credit card and enter the 12-digit code plus the three-digit CVV code on the back can be enough to make you think twice about buying, particularly if it is a spontaneous purchase. Expect an even bigger drop-off if you demand the customer registers an account first, too.
Clearly there’s room for improvement. As the smartphone becomes the main event for online retailing, the industry needs to figure out how to keep consumers engaged and committed to their purchases.
Here are a few suggestions to keep shoppers from abandoning their carts:
1. Optimize your site for mobile
Going into 2018, you should have done this already. In addition to pinching and zooming, slow load times and hitting accidental links can drive shoppers to distraction - or worse, to a competitor. In general, your site should include larger text and fewer links than the desktop version.
2. Many happy returns
Free returns may be costly to your bottom line (one estimates the cost to be £20bn/$26bn per year for UK retailers alone), yet a KPMG survey showed that free returns also drove extra online purchases and additional store traffic.
Offering easy returns will address the hesitation a consumer might feel before hitting the buy button. Just don't forget to mitigate your return costs with accurate product photos, thorough descriptions and product reviews.
3. Get personal
This is the age of personalization. Use data you have gleaned about consumers to suggest items that they are likely to be interested in. Business Insider suggest showing them what they want with a personalized recommendation could be key to stopping them heading off to somewhere that can.
4. Add urgency
If an item is on sale for a short period of time, real-time countdown timers can work magic. Reminding consumers of shipping deadlines is also effective, especially during the holiday season.
5. Streamline checkouts
The patent for Amazon's one-click purchase process expired in September 2017, meaning the doors are open for you to use an alternative without having to pay Amazon a licensing fee. Alternatively, credit card scanning SDKs that detect the details using a phone camera saves precious seconds filling in boxes at the crucial purchase time.
6. Make registration easy
Offer customers the ability to check-in using their social media credentials, for example. If at all possible, make sure that the consumer doesn’t have to re-enter everything if they got one detail wrong or left a field blank. Keep those forms as brief as possible too.
7. Offer full disclosure
One of the biggest causes for cart abandonment is the discovery of hidden charges like postal fees and taxes. Such charges can make your deal seem like not much of a bargain. Make your final price clear before you ask customers to fill out forms so they don't get a shock that scares them off.
Before the buyer commits to the sale, there’s usually a moment of hesitation. You can ease those fears by giving reassurance with a recovery message that points out your returns policy, any money back guarantees you offer and if you deliver for free.
9. Tempt them back
An abandoned cart doesn't have to mean you've lost the sale. Triggered cart recovery messages with tailored messaging, or carefully constructed retargeting ads, can tempt them back. For example, it can be a good opportunity to remind shoppers of any click and collect or alternative delivery options you offer.
No matter what you do, the shopping cart abandonment rate will never be zero. There will always be circumstances that cause a consumer to abandon a sale. Still, by looking at the data, you can give your brand the its best shot of holding the consumer’s attention. This should be a self-reinforcing process in which your methods get better over time. At the very least, your numbers should be going in the right direction.
A playbook for creating an engaging and personalized experience for your customers
This informative playbook looks at several areas of real-time marketing and personalization, including:
- Why you need to create a dialogue with your customers to acquire data for real-time tactics
- The benefits of getting personalization right
- How consumers feel about real-time personalization
- How you can use real-time marketing strategies, including triggered messaging, countdown timers, product recommendations and cart recovery