Abandoned Shopping Cart

Shopping cart abandonment: Can we reduce it?

Can we reduce it by making experiences better?

The other day I was at my local big-box retailer with my son and he pointed out a man who had left his very full cart by the exit and left the store. As children are prone to do, my son asked me why the man would do that.

This got me thinking about why online shoppers abandon their virtual carts when it comes to ecommerce websites. Ecommerce organizations struggle with this problem every day – consumers fill their online shopping carts with revenue-making goods, only to leave them hanging at the checkout. It’s an issue that keeps ecommerce executives up at night, wondering how they can reduce these instances.

Think that shopping cart abandonment isn’t that big of a problem? Think again. The retail industry analysts at Listrak found that in the past six months, a striking 78 percent of customers abandoned their carts. And, according to a report from BI Intelligence, approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts each year.

There are myriad reasons why a shopper might abandon their cart. They may have changed their mind and decided to make the purchase elsewhere, perhaps they are saving it for another day, or they might even have forgotten their wallet. However, there is another, more significant reason that customers don’t go through with the purchase: friction.

Shopping should be a seamless process, and when customers are asked to jump through hoops in order to make that purchase, many of them won’t. This imposition is often a result of security measures that have been put in place. Requiring customers to recall and type in passwords, PIN numbers and answers to personal questions certainly can help with security, but it also poses the risk of alienating your trusted, good users. At the same time, careless security will also cost you your good customers. (For more on this, read our blog on the impact of data breaches on customer loyalty.) False positives have a negative impact on any retailers brand because about 1/3 of these declined customers will leave and never return.

Protecting the customer experience is, therefore essential. We’ve gotten used to thinking that we must jump through a lot of hoops to purchase things online, but good user experiences and cybersecurity don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Tools exist that can capture more data about customer behavior prior to authentication, and are completely invisible to customers. These solutions can allow organizations to provide an optimal customer experience while also protecting consumers and businesses from fraud and some of them even offer the retailer the ability to provide upgraded premium shopping experiences for high-value customers. Being able to see in real-time the history and behavior pattern of the customer provides a powerful tool for companies to truly understand the customer all the way from account creation, login, through checkout and offer better experiences all the way along.

Of course, we’ve discussed the many reasons why shoppers abandon their online carts. In some cases, the reasons have little to nothing to do with the ecommerce organization itself. Some factors are obviously out of the organization’s control. However, protecting the customer experience and verifying the good user are aspects that the organization can – and must – control. So what’s stopping you? We can’t combat all shopping cart abandonment, but we certainly help pave the way for better customer experiences.

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