7 Cart Catastrophes to Avoid

The shopping cart represents a pivotal moment in online shopping. The customer has found your site, narrowed down items of interest, and actually carted a product. But strange things can happen in the cart. On average, 60-70% of online shopping visits end with the customer leaving items in the shopping cart. Many of these shoppers (40%) will return to their carts later, either in a store or a different device, according to a study by Bronto. Others will truly abandon and never plan to return to the cart.

We wanted to know what retailers are doing about the high rate of abandonment. So we examined the shopping carts and post-abandonment strategies of more than 100 major US retailers. The resulting report highlights the ways retailers are evolving their shopping cart strategies to improve the chances of a conversion – and what many of you could be doing better.

Based on this research, here are seven shopping cart  “don’ts” for retailers to remember:

Don’t make the checkout process complex. Customers have to navigate an average of 5.5 pages from shopping cart to order confirmation – as many as nine pages in some cases. Most retailers provide a step indicator to show shoppers where they are in the checkout process, but 13% don’t.

Don’t force shoppers to create an account. One in 10 retailers still requires shoppers to register or create an account before allowing them to check out. Give shoppers a guest checkout option in addition to promoting the advantages of creating an account.

Don’t bury customer support options. Many retailers include prominent links to customer service – FAQ, live chat or text, for example – within the first page of the checkout process. But some don’t offer that help until the fourth or fifth page of checkout, if at all.

Don’t delay promo code validation. Nothing frustrates a shopper faster than getting deep into the checkout process before finding the discount isn’t applying. Conversely, discovering early that the promo code will work could encourage a larger order.

Don’t make customers check out on faith alone. Surprisingly, 30% of retailers do not offer shoppers a way to review a summary of their order before submitting the order. In many cases, the submit order button is on the same page where payment information is entered.

Don’t limit features in the shopping cart. Nearly one in four retailers (23%) did not give shoppers a way to change the quantity of the carted product. Only 7% gave shoppers a way to change product attributes, such as color or size. And 60% didn’t provide a note about product availability within the shopping cart, such as “In stock and ready to ship.”

Don’t abandon shoppers once they abandon their carts. More than half of retailers (59%) don’t send cart reminders, even though 73% of online shoppers use the shopping cart to store items to view or buy later, and cart reminders are one of the most powerful ways to rescue potentially lost sales.

For your online visitors, the transition from shopping to buying can lead to uncertainty, indecision and sticker shock – it can even make them reluctant to invest the time to complete the order. To keep today’s shopper engaged and buying, retailers must go beyond a singular focus on shopping cart abandonment and rethink the way shopping carts are structured, how the checkout process flows and what can be done to reach shoppers who leave their shopping carts behind.

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