Oh, the oft-forsaken online shopping cart. Even if you’re the owner of an online shop looking to help your cart close more sales, you’ve probably abandoned your own share of carts. Don’t worry, this is far from a “do unto others” guilt trip; just a comforting thought that cart abandonment is unavoidable by even the most famous online sellers.
And why not? Abandoning an online cart doesn’t carry the awkwardness of ditching a physical cart. Cookies and session recorders may be watching, but they don’t have to pick up after you like a real-world sales associate. And let’s not forget the other kind of abandoned cart—the one that DID complete purchases but left the cart in the parking lot without the brakes on!
If you’re recently embarking on the quest to reduce cart abandons, know that a whopping 75% abandon rate is typical. That said, continuing to optimize your eCommerce checkout flow to rescue those borderline sales can represent a considerable uptick in revenue by the end of the year.
The Cart Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Let’s be clear: every cart is a work in progress and will never be a finished masterpiece. Every good eCommerce site evaluates, updates and tests its checkout interface continuously.
And yes, the first step in the quest for cart abandonment solutions is to take an unbiased look at your cart. See if yours commits any of the deadly sins that most often make customers flee. In their article “Top 10 Reasons (and solutions) for Shopping Cart Abandonment,” Barilliance has merged popular studies by Statista and the Baymard Institute to determine not only the most common cart flaws but which ones actually matter the most in the heat of a pending sale. Some of these include dubious security (real or perceived), onerous account creation requirements, slow load times, and more.
Look no further than our article, “Shopping Cart Abandonment: Don’t Sweep This Issue under the Rug!” where Octavia has revealed the biggest secrets to instilling customer confidence in your carts. Avoidable no-no’s in your eCommerce checkout flow are like unforced errors in a tennis match: they cost you points and have nothing to do with your competition.
Although correcting problems with your cart is a must and will prevent a healthy number of lost sales, shopping cart abandonment solutions live all along the sales funnel. What’s a sales funnel? Read on and find out!
Turn that Iceberg Upside Down
We’ve all seen the images of the cross-section of an iceberg: the tip is above the water with much more mass below. Hmm, often in those same illustrations that submerged mass looks like an inverted cone… or a funnel! So if the cart is the tip of the iceberg, the sales funnel is the foundation.
Salesforce defines sales funnel as “the ideal path companies hope buyers take to become customers.” In an optimal sales funnel, sales and marketing efforts create a relationship with well-matched leads. The relationship progresses from awareness/attention to interest to desire and, finally, action (conversion). Some of that cart abandonment is due to customers ending up in the cart before they have a chance to travel down the appropriate funnel. For example, some abandon because they are simply comparison shopping and testing coupon codes. Others weren’t prepared outside the cart for the final costs after tax and shipping, so they run for the hills when they feel blindsided by the final total. These are customers who have landed in the cart without fully warming up to your company and your product.
When you want to reduce your cart abandonment rate, optimizing your cart without working on the whole sales funnel is like expecting to shave off a belly fat just by doing crunches and planks. As any trainer will tell you, there’s no such thing as a spot treating your body. Except for a few lucky outliers, those with six-pack abs also eat right, do cardio and stretching as well as strength work throughout the body. While core exercises are a keystone to fitness—just as cart improvement is integral to conversion rates—success requires a holistic approach.
Ready to get started?
Let’s now look at a number of areas where you can hone your sales funnel. Think of these as cart abandonment solutions in disguise.
Sales Funnel Icebreaker #1: (Useful) Email, Blogs, and Other Content Resources
The heading intentionally dodges the term content marketing, defined by the Content Marketing Institute as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
After you’ve decided to ramp up your content marketing, banish the term as best you can. Your audience needs to understand that you’re there to help, and they can spot sales talk miles away. Cultivate a desire to be that generous sharer of information and know-how that your audience is seeking, whether that be how-to videos, trend reporting, entertainment.
The way you share expertise can take on many forms: an email series, blogs, videos, social media. A great way to start is to publish Q&A based on real answers to questions and issues you’ve already discussed with other customers. eTrailer does a nice job of publishing past customer interactions with staff, which gives new visitors a feel for the kind of service and knowledge they can expect from the company.
Sales Funnel Icebreaker #2: Landing Pages
Landing pages are a best friend to your traditional advertising efforts. It’s the place where you can expand on your message in a focused page. Here are some advantageous features to consider:
- Remove navigation
It’s not completely about “trapping” a customer. It’s a cleaner, less distracting environment. Furthermore, because it’s difficult to get back to that page in the future without a bookmark (if it doesn’t expire entirely), you’ve created a sense of urgency.
- Make yourself available
Consider adding a chat feature for questions, or making contact info prominent?
- Transparent pricing
Show any coupon codes, with a button calculator to calculate discounts, tax, and shipping before the product goes into the cart.
Sales Funnel Spruce-Up #3: Analytics
Are you actually going after the most promising leads or just throwing ads out into the open? Ideally, you’re honing your efforts with the help of a CRM tool. Even if not, there is so much free insight available via Google Analytics or wrapped into other services, such as your email marketing provider, that let you tailor messaging style and frequency according to demographics and engagement (visits, clicks, etc.)
Sales Funnel Icebreaker #4: Reviews
Customer reviews are and will always be a deciding factor in a purchase. We’re going to assume your product is life-changing and that customers are self-motivated to review it. But if you’re just getting started, you may need to build a base of online reviews. A great way to do that is simply to ask for reviews. Email out a reminder, put a slip in the package, add an incentive to sweeten the deal if need be.
And how about negative reviews? These can work to your advantage in a number of cases. More and more platforms are allowing merchants to respond to negative feedback. Seeing the public response where you make things right can often do more to reassure a customer than too many 5-star reviews that might look staged.
Waiting for the Harvest
Between the quick-win of shopping cart optimization and building long-term relationships in the sales funnel, you’ll never run out of things to do. It might be overwhelming to consider how much time and patience it takes to find and cultivate high-quality leads. In the long run, you’ll increase your online credibility and, with that, your conversion rate.