A Lesson Learned from 2009: Shopping Cart Abandonment

As we begin the New Year, it’s necessary to reflect on the previous year to recognize our successes and shortcomings. While the recent holiday sales boosted e-commerce by 3.6% over last year, there is still room for improvement as we enter 2010.

Yes, overall sales did increase, but so did shopping cart abandonment. Shopping cart abandonment averages at about 45% (as high as 60% in some cases), but during the last quarter abandonment jumped to 70% – peaking at 83% in early October. Granted, October’s spike is largely due to customers holding out for holiday sales, but there are still lessons to be learned. Abandonment is an interesting metric because it implies several things:

The customer…

  • …was interested in your products.
  • …was interested in purchasing from you.
  • …was not quite ready to make the purchase.

The last, of course, is the most important implication. Why was the customer not ready to make the purchase? PayPal and comScore, in their Eighth Annual Merchant Survey, identified the main reason why customers abandoned their carts.

  • High shipping charges: 46%
  • Wanted to comparison shop: 37%
  • Lack of money: 36%
  • Wanted to look for a coupon: 27%
  • Wanted to shop offline: 26%
  • Couldn’t find preferred pay option: 24%
  • Item unavailable at checkout: 23%
  • Couldn’t find customer support: 22%
  • Security concerns: 21%

It is interesting to note that price sensitivity accounts for 5 of the top 6 reasons for shopping cart abandonment.

Practical eCommerce gave seven suggestions based on the findings of PayPal and comScore’s survey and McAfee’s whitepaper entitled “Digital Window Shopping: The Long Journey to Buy”.

The suggestions are fairly simple. Improve user experience, increase trust, add value, and reduce distractions. While reducing price isn’t always a feasible solution for online merchants, it is comparatively simple to accomplish Practical eCommerce’s suggestions. In addition to these findings, TrialPay also assists online merchants in reducing abandonment by adding value and reducing distractions.

Shoppers want the biggest bang for their buck. It shouldn’t be a surprise if shoppers abandon their cart to find a better price at an online competitor’s site – even if it is only a fraction of a percent cheaper. To counter this occurrence, online merchants need to add value to their checkout process. While there are many ways to add value to your checkout process, TrialPay is the industry leader with our Get It Free and Purchase Incentives products.

Our Get It Free product has helped millions of price-sensitive customers get products for free by completing an offer for something they would have bought anyway. To learn more about Get It Free click here.

Purchase Incentives give an edge over the competition by adding value (in the form of free gift certificates or movie tickets) to customer carts for simply completing a purchase at your store. Purchase Incentives are much more effective than online coupons. While online coupons can be effective, they definitely are a distraction to online customers especially if they don’t have a coupon code. Coupon or promo boxes highlight the fact that online customers could be getting a better deal. Asking online customers, “Do you have a coupon for that?” increases the cart abandonment up to 27%. Purchase incentives are prompts generated within the shopping cart – keeping customers attention until the checkout is complete. To learn more about Purchase Incentives click here.

In many ways 2009 was a success in the world of e-commerce, but we can’t stop there. Last year was merely a benchmark to improve on. What are you doing to make 2010 a better year for e-commerce?