Back when the high street was booming, your typical Saturday afternoon was pre-planned, and perusing through aisles of clothes with no intention to buy was all part and parcel of your weekly routine. Avoiding the dreaded “is there anything I can help you with?” became a skill that many of us obtained, but sometimes an encounter that was completely unavoidable.
Today however, thanks to mass digitilisation, many of us don’t leave the house to shop for our Christmas presents, an outfit for the works party, or even a new baby pushchair. The issue with this for businesses is that they cannot leverage a shop assistant to help customers make up their mind. Believe it or not, 50 per cent of all e-commerce baskets are abandoned during the shopping cycle, and it should hardly be surprising when all you have to do is hover your thumb over the ‘close tab’ button.
That said, businesses across the globe are implementing various strategies and tactics to reduce abandonment rates. Here, with Kerridge Commercial Systems, who offer stock control software, we are going to take a look at the process of online buying, and hopefully these tips will help optimise your online buying process for your customers as you bid to increase retention.
No sign up
Many websites require customers to create an account before carrying out a purchase. Not only does this, in many instances, make a potential customer dump their basket and choose to shop elsewhere, it often encourages the person not to return. Fortunately, if this is the case for your business, there is an easy fix — to create an alternative method of purchasing. Alongside your choice to sign in, or to create a profile, develop an option which allows customers to buy as a guest.
Everyone wants their customer to sign up and build a relationship with them, but it’s best not to push them too far too quickly. Provide them with a ‘no frills, no hassle’ inaugural purchase, and the likelihood of them returning will increase tenfold. Once they reappear on your site to make a second purchase, then they will realise the worth of registering.
Knowing that your website is secure in regard to payment is crucial if a customer is asked to share their debit or credit card details. A report by Thales Data Security in 2018 found that approximately 75 per cent of all online retailers have suffered at least one failure in relation to their cybersecurity. Granting customers peace of mind, that their purchase will be not only smooth, but safe, is incredibly important, and will play a significant role in guaranteeing they return again. Credit experts Experian discovered that 27 per cent of e-commerce customer left their cart due to a lack of visible security.
“Can you hold that over?”
Certainly, one difference when comparing the online store to the physical shop, is the lack of communication. We have all been guilty at some stage of going shopping with no money in the bank. Take the day before pay day for example, where you enter the shop, find something you like, but don’t have the money to buy it — that’s no issue, because you can simply ask the person behind the desk to ‘hold it over until tomorrow’. Many online buyers will click off a basket, perhaps because their wages haven’t yet reached their bank, but have the full intention of returning again. We suggest storing their basket details for 48 hours and be more slightly more lenient with their purchasing journey.
If the customer has decided to sign up, as opposed to running a profile as a guest, then you can take advantage of email reminders to encourage a response from your potential customer.
Many potential customers will simply give up on the purchasing process simply because it is too complex — understanding this is crucial when it comes to the type of product you are selling, and the market you are selling it to. Don’t over complicate things — this is definitely a situation when less is more. If you are going to include an area for discount codes, which can be a massively attractive feature, then make it clear how to use it. If a customer reaches the last stage of the purchasing process and hasn’t been able to apply this all-important code, chances are, they are going abandon their basket.