If you have managed to successfully get a customer to make the journey from a curious prospect to filling in your shopping cart, the last thing you want is for them to abandon their purchase. But over 80% of potential customers that make it to your shopping cart will abandon the cart before finishing the transaction. In today’s post, I look at five techniques you can use to reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase sales.

1. Use a progress indicator

Nobody likes to spend a lot of time at the checkout, whether it’s in the real world or online. A progress bar offers a quick visual indicator of where a customer is in the checkout process, and how much work they have ahead of them to complete the sale.

When putting a progress indicator together, remember that the key is to make the process look as simple as possible. Try to keep the number of steps in the indicator to a minimum. Nobody wants to see that they’re at step two of an eight-step process.

2. Keep it simple

I’ve said the same thing again and again about forms, but I’ll say it again here. The more fields you add to a form, the fewer people will complete it. That’s as true for a checkout process as it is for anything else. Avoid asking for any information that you do not need to complete the sale. If you can get away with only asking for the customer’s name, address, email and credit card information, resist the urge to ask for anything else. At this stage, it’s more important to make the sale than it is to gather unnecessary data.

3. Allow guest purchases

Like my last point, nobody wants to fill in a form that they don’t have to. If a customer has to register an account with you before making a purchase, that means filling in another form. That means taking more time and giving over more data to you before they can make their purchase. Offering ‘guest purchases’ without the need to make an account with you will make it quicker and easier for customers to make their transaction.

4. Remove surprises

One of the biggest reasons that customers will click away from a sale is encountering an unexpected cost. Sales taxes, shipping and other fees can all add onto the cost of an item, and nobody likes to see their purchase suddenly jump up in price at the last minute. Try to make all costs associated with a product clear before the item is added to the cart. Consider offering free shipping, or if that isn’t possible, offer a shipping calculator on the product listing so that customers can check costs themselves before proceeding with the purchase.

5. Speed up your site

The other big time sink for customers, aside from long forms, is the speed and responsiveness of your site. If customers have to sit looking at a blank screen or a spinning progress icon for more than a moment, they will be tempted to click away. It is well worth looking at methods of optimising your website, reducing the size of images, ensuring that data is correctly cached, and making sure that your site’s backend is working efficiently.

Some shopping cart abandonment is inevitable, but the tips above will help your business to avoid as much as possible. If you want to start building a sales process that will work for you, John Rowbottom Design and Marketing can help. Get in touch to find out what we can do for your business.

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