There is so much reward in being an online merchant, whether it’s the joy that comes from providing value to customers or it’s the financial security that comes from increase in profits. The daily activities of a merchant however can be a tall one which almost certainly consists of reducing the number of visitors who explore products but do not complete the buying process. This is what is popularly referred to as cart abandonment, when visitors add products to a cart but do not end up buying them.

This is a challenge that affects all sellers online. In fact, a Baymard Institute look into all major studies of cart abandonment show that, 68.63% of online shopping carts are abandoned.

They are several reasons why shoppers abandon their cart, the most popular being:

— The shopper is presented with unexpected costs

— The shopper didn’t really have the intention to buy

— The overall price is too expensive

— The shopper decides against buying

— The website navigation is too complicated

For merchants, the ecommerce platform your store is built on will determine whether the reasons for cart abandonment is within your control or not. For instance, for stores built on Shopify or Bigcommerce, website navigation being complicated and resulting in cart abandonment is out of your direct control since these platforms manage the checkout processes. There is little you can do to change this. However, there are other reasons that are within your direct control that can be mitigated.

To mitigate reasons for cart abandonment within your control, there are crucial actions that when taken will ensure carts are carried to checkout. And they are:

Offer Free Shipping

Shoppers have come to expect free shipping whenever they shop online. This has become so pervasive as the habit of expecting a logo on the top left side of a website when browsing online. Interestingly, not even the offer of better discounts in terms of cost savings will convince the average shopper like the way a FREE SHIPPING offer would.

A Marketing Professor, David Bell has this to say “For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10″.

A survey on primary barriers to shopping from an online retailer had 93% of respondents saying free shipping will encourage them to purchase more products online.

Also, an in-depth article on free shipping and returns by Tommy Walker also points to the importance of free shipping in the eyes of the shopper.

Free shipping plays on consumer psychology. Shoppers perceive shipping costs for online purchases as an annoying extra fee and so taking that cost away, makes the product or products being purchased appear more affordable. This seeming feeling of affordability is what makes a shopper more likely to checkout his/her cart.

Free shipping has a positive correlation to reduction in cart abandonment and you should consider offering free shipping. If your store is on Shopify, you’ll like to try this app that allows you to boldly display free shipping in an unobtrusive way on your store.

Display Reviews on Product Pages

You remember one of the popular reasons why shoppers don’t complete the buying process is because they decide against it. A shopper could decide against completing a checkout process mainly for price or credibility reasons. For price reasons, it’s obvious what to do. What do you do then for credibility reasons, you assure the person it’s ok to buy that product and that many people have already bought the product and are satisfied with it.

How do you carry out the assurance, by showing reviews on the product page. Yes, displaying reviews on the product page will add some credibility and bring comfort to the shopper thereby persuading him/her to complete the process of buying the product.

People love to know that others before them had value for their money on an item they purchased and so displaying reviews of satisfied customers who have preceded the shopper will convince the shopper to carry on and finish the buying process.

Product pages reviews are different from the site wide reviews that are common. Product page reviews only show reviews for the particular product you’re on on. One ecommerce app that nicely displays this product page reviews is the Kudobuzz Reviews app.

Retarget the Shoppers

One strategy that is working for some merchants is the concept of retargeting otherwise lost visitors who have visited to your site. Say, you had a visitor to your site but for whatever reason, this visitor didn’t buy a thing. Imagine having the power to display the items the visitor checked out on your site when this person is on another website. This is how retargeting works.

Retargeting is powerful in converting shoppers who didn’t earlier have the intention to buy a product or left because they decided against it. Once a shopper is constantly being reminded of an item he/she once showed interest in, the shopper is more likely to end up buying it.

According to AdRoll, a retargeting platform, “2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting brings back the other 98%.”

Many merchants are using this strategy and seeing results. Get Satisfaction used retargeting to increase their ROI 248% over a three month period. PeopleTree, a fair-trade fashion retailer, was able to get 30% of non-converting visitors to return to their website through retargeting.

There are apps for retargeting purposes. On Shopify, you can try Shoelace retargeting and on Bigcommerce, you can try Yahoo’s retargeting app.

To continue to enjoy the rewards of being a merchant, ensure carts are carried to checkout by taking these actions.

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