A sobering statistic for any owner of an ecommerce business appeared recently. Apparently 40% of online customers ditched their baskets before they had completed their purchases during the peak Christmas shopping period.

This finding, from research by courier company Hermes, echoes that of similar surveys conducted over the last couple of years. So what is causing online shoppers to spend time filling up their baskets only to abandon them at the checkout? Top of the list of shoppers’ complaints were delivery charges that were only revealed at the checkout stage and frustration using the website.

Here’s some advice on how to ensure your customers enjoy a straightforward shopping experience and don’t become lost opportunities:

Make your delivery costs and timescales clear at an early stage
You needn’t worry about putting customers off: the Hermes survey found that online shoppers are quite happy paying for delivery, proof that they value the convenience factor over high street shopping or collecting orders in person.

Address technical issues to make sure your web pages load quickly
More than a few seconds and it may be too late – the shopper will have vanished.

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and works on all screen sizes
Shoppers are increasingly turning to their smaller devices for researching and buying presents, and a sizeable proportion complain that retail sites are fiddly to use.

Make the payment process as simple as possible
Don’t make forms too long or ask for extensive personal details, or force the customer to register before buying. Remember that not every web shopper is web savvy. Ensure it is easy to edit the shopping basket too.

Consider offering a price guarantee
Shoppers often get cold feet when they start wondering whether the item might be cheaper on another site.

Send personalised emails to the basket-droppers
You will normally have secured an email address from the customer who abandoned their basket at the payment stage. So fire off an email a little while later: as well as using the customer’s first name you should go further by adding some details about the products they left in their baskets, perhaps with some reviews and testimonials.

Follow the actions above and you should have fewer abandoned baskets – or, if the customer does give up, you may still be able to win them back.

It is important to maintain a streamlined operation across the whole business, including supply chain and logistics: this will go a long way towards delivering the service your key customers demand. To find out more about how we can help you with this, contact RT Page on 01903 736300 or info@rtpage.co.uk.

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