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10 Ways to Reduce Abandoned Shopping Carts on Your E-Commerce Website

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/11/2015 Young Entrepreneur Council

2015-11-05-1446752130-8968205-KiyanBarelli.png © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-11-05-1446752130-8968205-KiyanBarelli.png Kiyan Barelli is the co-founder of Swiss Commerce, a full-service mobile and web development and marketing agency based in New York. Since the agency launched in 1998, he has worked closely with clients and partners, transforming their businesses through progressive technology and marketing advances. Kiyan and his team have worked with startups and prominent companies including CBRE and American Airlines, to name a few.
Abandoned e-commerce shopping carts indicate lost customers and lost revenue. As a business owner, you're never quite sure what interrupted the customers or what caused them to change their minds, and that can be quite frustrating to say the least. However, there are some ways to increase the odds of customers completing their purchases.
Here are 10 key ways to reduce abandoned shopping carts in your online business that I've found effective during my time as partner and co-founder at my creative agency, Swiss Commerce:
1. Make it As Easy As Possible
When it comes to e-commerce shopping, the easier the process, the more likely there will be a sale. Don't make your customers jump through hoops or have to navigate a complex interface. Online retailers like Amazon are successful in large part due to their fast, intuitive and simple checkout process. Learn from your industry leaders and create an online checkout process that's as smooth and efficient as possible. Make it easy for customers to remove items, edit quantities and save their cart for later. If possible, streamline the checkout process to just three steps.
2. Do Not Require Registration
Some companies require account registration before a purchase can be completed. While this does allow the person to be marketed to later, some studies have shown that over half of all shoppers will abandon a cart if the business tries to force them to register for the site. Remember that a one-time sale is better than the loss of a sale. The risk of losing a large percentage of your customers is not worth creating a marketing list that may or may not be effective down the road.
3. Accept As Many Payment Forms as Possible
If a customer's preferred method of payment is not available to them, they are highly likely to abandon the cart. To increase the odds of each customer completing the checkout process, include as many payment options as possible, including alternatives like Amazon Pay, Google Checkout and PayPal.
4. Save Shopping Cart Contents  
Many customers abandon their cart with the full intention of returning later and completing the process. If they return to an empty cart and must begin the process all over again, searching among hundreds or thousands of products, they may become frustrated and decide to abandon the purchase. Because of this, you should configure your cart to save its contents so that returning customers are more likely to complete their purchase.
5. Automated Emails
If the user doesn't return to your site within a set amount of time (perhaps 24 hours), an automated email can follow up. Create a built-in automated email message that sends a targeted message reminding them about their cart along with a link to it. If more time elapses, consider sending additional automated emails that offer sales, discounts or other motivations to purchase the contents of their cart.
6. Create Trust with Security Icons and Logos
Publicize your affiliations with trustworthy payment companies, security measures and guarantees prominently on every page of the shopping cart and checkout process. Assurances of a safe and secure shopping process is a cornerstone of trust and increases the odds that they will buy from you.
7. Show Product Availability
Letting customers know their desired items are in stock, when the estimated arrival date of the product will be if they order today, or that the item will be shipped within 24 hours will all compel them to move forward with the shopping and buying process. Few things frustrate buyers more than out-of-stock items, so letting them know this information up front can help to ensure a satisfying and transparent shopping experience.
8. Show Shipping Costs As Early As Possible
Some e-commerce stores keep final shipping costs somewhat of a mystery until the very end of the process. In many cases, they require customers to enter their full shipping address in order to finally see shipping costs and other options. Offering a fixed shipping rate, providing an estimate early on or allowing the customer to enter their zip code for immediate shipping information are just some ways to alleviate this variable. Ideally, the cart should show the estimate the moment the customer adds the item to their cart.
9. Offer Free Shipping
Instead of managing a variety of shipping variables as discussed in tip No. 8, simplify things by offering free shipping for all items. Customers love this option, and a number of your competitors are probably offering it already.
10. Test Daily
An alarming number of e-commerce sales are lost due to technical issues encountered by customers on websites. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that shopping carts and e-commerce processes should be tested, tested and tested again to ensure viability. While some customers are willing to contact customer service, others will get frustrated, give up and shop somewhere else. Why take the risk? Test your site thoroughly to ensure that no user gets frustrated and leaves the site for a smoother, easier experience.
Abandoned shopping carts equal lost customers and lost profits. Use these 10 tips to help increase the odds that shoppers will complete the checkout process on your site.

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