Overcoming the Challenge of Shopping Cart Abandonment

Understanding why users abandon shopping carts is one of the biggest challenges facing online retailers. It is no secret e-commerce is a complex business, and the answer to shopping cart abandonment differs widely between sites, products, countries, and many other parameters. One fact remains untouched throughout these variations: the customers know why, so how does one go about asking them about their decision? Who are these users, and how can they be reached? These are only some of the questions website owners face when tackling the issue of shopping cart abandonment.

Consultants and industry analyst firms generally cite several common reasons for shopping cart abandonment: insufficient pricing and shipping information, login restrictions, security concerns, and an intent to investigate a product or service rather than to make a purchase. The missing link between e-commerce sites and stemming cart abandonment is customer data. What if retailers could instantly ask a customer the elusive "why" question immediately following that shopper's abandonment of the cart?

Customized feedback forms offer one way to understand why shoppers leave. Online retailers can use a feedback tool to identify shoppers following this behavioral path and ask them why as soon as they abandon the cart. One may argue that since the user abandoned the cart, he or she will not provide feedback, but many shoppers do, and they seem eager to share their experiences. With the feedback collected at this critical point, website owners cannot only reduce future abandonments by working on what needs to be improved, but they can also get back to the user who provided feedback, and send the customer back to the site after either providing the information which was lacking, after fixing the problem, or with a coupon (if he or she, for example, complained about prices).

Oftentimes, retailers can focus their energies on the look and feel of the cart and the product or service information, but what if the page is only part of the problem? Your customers may feel that the entire shopping cart process is too long, slow, or unclear. Retailers need a holistic view of shopping cart feedback - a view that goes beyond the individual page, so look to elicit feedback and customer opinions on an entire process. Moreover, Timing and placement are crucial when asking for more information from shoppers. You do not want to ask your customers to submit feedback on a process they are not currently in, and possibly have not even visited yet.

What you do with this feedback is up to you. Listening to your customers is an incredible privilege, so reward them by acting on their suggestions and feedback, and let them know that you are listening and responding to them.

Eran Savir brings more than 10 years of experience in product management and software development to Kampyle. Before co-founding the company, Savir worked as senior product manager for SAP, and among other projects, managed a product mutually developed by SAP and Microsoft.
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