Shock and surprise at the online checkout can cost you sales. According to a recent Leger poll, two-thirds of Canadians (66%) have been shocked by the cost of shipping once they have reached the checkout page and 65% have abandoned their online shopping cart because of high shipping costs.
If you run a smaller e-commerce business in Canada and are finding that the high cost of shipping is making it increasingly difficult to convert site visitors into customers, this can have a major impact on your bottom line – especially if your business doesn’t ship a high enough volume to negotiate discounts for delivery. To solve this issue, many small businesses are turning to new shipping alternatives. They are also exploring ways to counter shopping cart abandonment and boost online sales.
Reducing abandoned carts is all about reducing friction with the key factors being trust, transparency, and time (i.e., there is no time to waste). This is particularly pertinent as the holiday season approaches. In fact, cart abandonment rates peak in December when Black Friday and other holiday sales entice impulsive shoppers, according to BigCommerce, an e-commerce platform for retailers. Here’s what you can do to prevent customers from abandoning their online carts.
Establish trust by offering only good surprises at checkout including free, fast shipping:
No one wants to fall in love with an item while they’re online shopping only to find out they’re paying $20 in shipping that will take three weeks for delivery. And to add insult to injury, the customer then gets an unexpected bill for duties when they receive their order. Make the costs transparent to customers at the outset. Even better, make it easy for them to find out if they are eligible for discounts and promotions, and offer free or cheap shipping that will get their purchase delivered to them when they want it. Plus, if you do have other unavoidable fees like sales tax or handling fees, mention it on the product page so customers aren’t surprised.
Explore low cost shipping options:
Take the time to fully research shipping options that are now available in Canada. You may be surprised to discover providers that not only prioritize the needs of small businesses but also understand the important role low cost delivery plays in eliminating shopping cart abandonment and increasing sales.
Make checkout fast and simple:
Get people through the checkout quickly by making the process simple and easy to navigate. Consider options such as one-click checkout like Apple Pay, Shop Pay or PayPal, address autocomplete or offering customer accounts to save customers from tediously typing in all their information each time, offering a guest checkout option, and adding clear calls to action so customers know how to add items to their cart and navigate through the checkout process. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify have tried, tested, and proven checkout flows that make it simple for small businesses to offer customers smooth checkout experiences that convert into sales.
Be transparent about post-purchase policies and processes:
This is an integral way to reduce the friction of buying online. Offering customers the assurance that their decision isn’t final and they can freely return their purchase can go a long way in establishing a loyal customer base. Things like providing returns at no cost and using packaging that’s easy for customers to reuse for returns can give them every reason to buy and then come back and buy more.
Give timely help when customers need it:
When in a bricks-and-mortar store, customers can always get help from an associate if they have questions about a product. The same principle applies online – if people have questions and can’t easily find the answers, they’ll leave. Consider offering an online chat option so customers can get the answers they need to buy your products in real-time.
Customers need to feel confident exchanging their money and information with you. Modern website experiences communicate a sense of trustworthiness, especially when they include trusted symbols like compliance badges, good reviews, awards, user generated content, and other social proof.
In addition to the recommendations noted above, you may also want to consider creating compelling offers — like cashback programs and special discounts — so that there is an obvious benefit to being a loyal customer.
The bottom line is you worked hard for a new customer to discover your business so don’t let the slightest obstacle thwart a shopper’s desire to buy from you. Make their journey simple and fun, instead of tedious and aggravating, by removing the friction from “window shopping” to checkout by implementing these e-commerce optimization tips. They may provide you with a pleasant surprise in the form of boosted sales this holiday season.
For more tips and information on how to reduce cart abandonment and lower your cost of shipping, go to sendle.ca.