This episode is a rant! (See video below.) In the real world or online, I can’t stand it when companies make it tough for me to give them my money! They’re in business to make money, but far too many companies make customers jump through so many hoops to buy something that people give up. This is called “shopping cart abandonment.”
People don’t like hoops and they’re not going to take time to figure out a complicated pricing strategy or checkout. They’ll just take their money somewhere else – to a company that makes it easy to buy.
The process of buying something should be as simple as possible. It should be easy to become a customer.
The unfortunate part for businesses, especially small businesses, is that customers aren’t going to tell them how frustrated they are. The business owners sometimes don’t even realize it. People just go somewhere else. That’s so easy to do online as people quickly click around many sites and price shop. The average time people spend on a website is 5 minutes, which is much less than they spend in a store. 1 Imagine the frustration of your customer when they find the product they need and the checkout process is confusing or time-consuming.
Shopping Cart Abandonment
When online customers fill their carts with products and proceed to the checkout, but don’t make it through to finalizing the payment, they have abandoned the shopping cart. This happens online and offline.
The average rate of abandonment online is 67%! 2 That means 2/3 of the people who filled up their carts, don’t buy anything. Visualize what this would look like at the grocery store if 2/3 of people filled their carts with food and then decided they didn’t want to buy it and walked out of the store. There would be carts everywhere. This is happening every minute online.
Why? Because retailers make it difficult for people to give them money. The checkout process may be confusing or you have to create an account to make a one-time purchase.
Check out this list of reasons why people bounce from the cart process:3
Look at that list and ask yourself how many of those reasons can be prevented? Nearly all of them, with the right strategy and testing. It’s worth doing some testing on your own website to see how many of these hurdles customers have to jump over. For more on how to track it in Google Analytics, read this great article. Tracking it that way allows you to look at it quantitatively.
This website, called UserTesting.com is a great way to get qualitative feedback. You can get live feedback from customers as they use your online products. I’ve used it and appreciate the information that you can’t get from analytics, as customers are able to tell you things like if they think your site is ugly, don’t like the pictures or is just too confusing. It’s tough to get that just from analytics. The testers record videos of them walking through your site and commenting as they go. You can see that they’re thinking as they browse. That’s invaluable information!
Here are a couple more resources for getting and using feedback:
How does this happen offline, in the real world? Have you ever been in a store that only accepts cash? I recently tried to pay a bill to my dentist. They couldn’t take my payment and directed me to call the insurance company. After waiting on hold for 10 minutes, I was able to make the payment.
Pro tip: don’t make people stand in line or wait on hold to give you their money.
Notice how smart, successful companies handle this. Try this fun experiment:
Call a company, like your cable company and note how long it takes you to speak with a person for technical support. Usually, it’s over 10 minutes. I was once on for 3 hours with the phone company! It happened twice, actually.
So after you time how long customer support takes to answer the phone, hang up the phone and call the sales department. In a good company, you’ll get right through. The best companies don’t even make you go through the phone tree (press 1 for sales, 2 for support, etc.).
Track shopping cart abandonment
You don’t want to be a company that makes it difficult for people to pay you. You’ll never know how much revenue you’re losing unless you track shopping cart abandonment. If you take some time to look into it, it will be time well spent. If you’ve already got the traffic, make sure you make the most of it. Just a few simple changes could drastically increase your revenue.
Listen to this rant and think about how you can make your service easier for people to buy.