Virtually all businesses that sell anything are developing or already using e-commerce websites or landing pages to sell their products online. Though the convenience of placing orders without leaving the comfort of your bedroom is remarkable, one practice of it has given many enterprises feet of clay.
The downside of e-commerce for merchants is shopping cart abandonment – when prospects drop out of the checkout process before making their purchase. The scenario is like when a customer walks into a department store, is about to make a purchase, and then gets a call to return to the office immediately. E-commerce business owners are constantly looking for solutions to shopping cart abandonment. The trend implies that shoppers are not pleased with some features of the online or mobile shopping experience. If you're looking for ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment in your e-commerce store, these eight strategies will help you out.
1. Develop a mobile app.
Reports have it that users interact with about 10 apps on their mobile devices on a daily basis. With the rise of e-commerce, users prefer shopping conveniently on mobile apps to the rigorous process of websites. To this end, your e-commerce mobile app should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. The app should be speedy, contents separated into their various categories and the general interface designed in a way that speaks to the user. This blog post will help you understand how to create an app for your e-commerce store.
Editor's note: Looking for help developing a mobile app for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.
2. Keep carts visible.
Shopping carts should not be far from the user, whether they're shopping on a mobile app or the e-commerce website. Shoppers need to stay in the know of the items they have added to their list and the cost. E-commerce sites such as Amazon do a great job of this: The cart icon is positioned at the top with the number of items in it.
Visible carts and order costs keeps shoppers on track till orders are completed and helps them decide when they've added enough items (or cost) and should check out. This strategy reduces shopping cart abandonment because shoppers won't have to go back to check their cart, keeping the checkout in their sights.
3. Indicate shopping progress.
A first-timer to online shopping may be at a loss, especially when orders are to be validated. To this end, you should integrate a progress indicator to guide shoppers till the end of their checkout. A shopper can easily see how close they are to checkout so they don't give up.
The checkout process can be simplified by breaking it down into steps. For instance, shipping options and the shopper's details can be categorized into Shipping/Billing Method. The idea behind the progress report is to give shoppers a good view of their completed steps and last-mile actions to complete their purchase.
4. Allow guest checkout.
E-commerce stores often run digital campaigns to increase sales. Most data is extracted from user behaviors, so registration is often mandatory before checkouts can be made. This has been one of the problems that lead to shopping cart abandonment.
To solve this, registration should not be mandatory. Guest checkout should be enabled, allowing a shopper to go about their business without stopping to make an account. If you must require it, do so after checkout. The idea here is that shoppers should be allowed to shop and complete their orders without having an account on the site, or else they might just give up when you ask them to fill out a form and create a password before they can buy anything.
5. Offer a money-back guarantee.
Most shoppers are afraid of getting products different from what they ordered. There's also the concern that items might be defective or of low quality. The best method to retain trust is offering a money-back guarantee within a certain timeframe. Shoppers are always pleased with openings to return items they're not happy with and getting their funds back or using store credit to place another order. Thus, the money-back guarantee is a great strategy to prod users to complete their purchase.
6. Use a secure payment gateway.
Many users are reluctant to offer their personal details when filling out forms, not to mention their credit card numbers. This last-mile challenge had made many users back off from completing their orders.
The solution is using trusted payment channels that do not have access to users' details. Strive to partner with reputable payment gateways that can process cross-border transactions, because online retail should not be restricted to one region. Also integrate verification icons such as Verisign. Payment gateways should vary by user preference and include payment options that appeal to your target audience.
7. Enable cart saving.
Shoppers may not want to spend much time surfing e-commerce sites. Distractions are imminent, and a shopper will abandon their cart to watch the latest movie trailer. When they return to the site, the frustration of starting over again often keeps users from making the purchase.
You can solve this problem by allowing them to save their cart. Some shoppers are out for the best deals and flipping between multiple sites to find the lowest prices. Saving their carts and searches in their history allows them to come back and complete their orders after making comparisons.
8. Create fear of missing out.
Shoppers often abandon their orders indefinitely without worry because there is no competition for the items. You can create scarcity to reduce shopping cart abandonment. Placing the remaining quantity of an item beside it increases chances of a sale, because a shopper might be scared that the item will be gone if they don't buy it now.
Users drop off their purchases for an avalanche of reasons. Improving the user experience by implementing these features is vital to boost sales. The checkout process is the soul of every e-commerce business, so yours needs to provide the great user experience that will prod them to click the order button.
Creating a quality product is only half of the puzzle entrepreneurs need to solve in order to be successful. The other half involves finding the best ways to reach your customers and market.
To do this, you need to better understand who your target audience is and what that audience is interested in. This means that no matter how amazing your product or service may be, research is crucial for success. With the right marketing research, you can discover any gaps your company may have in its SEO, as well as whether you're reaching out to the right set of potential buyers.
So which tools or systems should you consider when doing your marketing research online? To find out, we asked members of YEC to share their preference, as well as discuss why those systems work so well. Here's what they said:
Ahrefs is a great tool to find out what keywords your competition is ranking for and which ones are bringing them the most traffic. You can also dive into which are their most popular articles as well as the sites that are giving them the most backlinks. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
CrazyEgg is one of the best tools for finding out how your customers are actually using your website. They create heat maps so you can see where people are clicking and even have the option to record your visitors. We found that a lot of people were coming from mobile, for example, so we started thinking of ways to better convert that traffic to email subscribers by adding calls to action. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
Westat is a pretty solid choice in the world of market research. It specializes in employment, behavioral and statistical research along with social policy as well. It's a good option for business, as well as agencies associated with the government and foundations. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
Xtensio is a free tool that helps you create buyer personas for your customers. It's basically a template that lets you fill in all the information about your customers in a very easy way. I recommend using Facebook's Audience Insights to fill in the information for your user personas. - Jared Atchison, WPForms
LinkedIn has been getting some significant run lately (you've probably seen the ads for LinkedIn Lead Gen) and for good reason. LinkedIn serves as an accurate database of information that is provided by your ideal client. Just don't go around blasting people with random invitations to connect. Instead, use it to harvest data that is meaningful and gain an edge on your competition. - Zachary Burkes, Predictable Profits
I recently found out about this SEO program and have begun implementing it into my business to great success. MarketMuse combines several SEO tools into an intuitive framework. I can research a topic for written content, find out what keywords to incorporate for higher SERPs and compare my copy with competitors all in one browser window. It's not novel, but it's effective and can save time. - Bryce Welker, Crush The PM Exam
With Facebook being transparent to users, it allows companies to conduct good marketing research. There are two ways to do it. First, use Facebook's Audience Insights to understand your prospects and customers — what they like and what their behaviors are. Next, find your competitor and go to their Facebook page. Go to the "Info And Ads" tab and see the active ads, and then analyze them for your business. - Fred Lam, iPro Management Group Corp.
With SEMrush we have the ability to track large numbers of keywords on a daily basis on top of the best combination of keywords for our content marketing. The site audit that is available also gives us insight into how we can improve our website with actionable information. - Mark Krassner, Expectful
Usually at the startups I work with, everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to move forward with their opinions. What they do not have is research from their customers to justify their opinions, so they keep coming up with new opinions without validation. Typeform allows you to easily create a survey and leave no room for guessing. When you ask the customer, you can validate your activity. - Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing
11. Google Keyword Search
To conduct market research, I often simply Google primary keywords to identify my main competitors. With a little digging, I can see how they are responding or creating trends, what key phrases and content they are promoting, and even how customers respond to them. Best of all, this is a free way to gain valuable and comprehensive marketing insight. - Shu Saito, Fact Retriever
12. Outsource to a Neutral Party
We employ a routine system of research on our competition. It's important to outsource this process to companies who don't stand to gain and have one flat fee for their discoverables. From this information, we can assess whether we are up-to-date on the software. Then we apply metrics to what we are offering. Our teams then run independent systems checks so we are at, or beyond, our competitors. - Matthew Capala, Alphametic
Our research on key performance indicators supports a need for marketers to focus their strategies on driving enterprise growth, which often includes embracing data and machine learning. At Northwestern Mutual, chief marketing officer Aditi Javeri Gokhale is leading the transformation of her marketing organization from a support function to a strategic growth driver. In this short video, she describes how the company used KPIs to train machine learning algorithms to build an online experience that pairs customers with financial advisors with a success rate of over 95%.
According to one industry report, U.S. companies spent over $90 billion dollars on training and development activities in 2017, a year-over-year increase of 32.5 %. While many experts emphasize the importance and benefits of employee development — a more competitive workforce, increased employee retention, and higher employee engagement — critics point to a painful lack of results from these investments. Ultimately, there is truth in both perspectives. Training is useful at times but often fails, especially when it is used to address problems that it can’t actually solve.
Many well-intended leaders view training as a panacea to obvious learning opportunities or behavioral problems. For example, several months ago, a global financial services company asked me to design a workshop to help their employees be less bureaucratic and more entrepreneurial. Their goal was to train people to stop waiting around for their bosses’ approval, and instead, feel empowered to make decisions on their own. They hoped, as an outcome, decisions would be made faster. Though the company seemed eager to invest, a training program was not the right way to introduce the new behavior they wanted their employees to learn.
Training can be a powerful medium when there is proof that the root cause of the learning need is an undeveloped skill or a knowledge deficit. For those situations, a well-designed program with customized content, relevant case material, skill building practice, and a final measurement of skill acquisition, works great. But, in the case of this organization, a lack of skills had very little to do with their problem. After asking leaders in the organization why they felt the need for training, we discovered the root causes of their problem had more to do with:
Ineffective decision-making processes that failed to clarify which leaders and groups owned which decisions
Narrowly distributed authority, concentrated at the top of the organization
No measurable expectations that employees make decisions
No technologies to quickly move information to those who needed it to make decisions
Given these systemic issues, it’s unlikely a training program would have had a productive, or sustainable outcome. Worse, it could have backfired, making management look out of touch.
Learning is a consequence of thinking, not teaching. It happens when people reflect on and choose a new behavior. But if the work environment doesn’t support that behavior, a well-trained employee won’t make a difference. Here are three conditions needed to ensure a training solution sticks.
1. Internal systems support the newly desired behavior. Spotting unwanted behavior is certainly a clue that something needs to change. But the origins of that unwanted behavior may not be a lack of skill. Individual behaviors in an organization are influenced by many factors, like: how clearly managers establish, communicate, and stick to priorities, what the culture values and reinforces, how performance is measured and rewarded, or how many levels of hierarchy there are. These all play a role in shaping employee behaviors. In the case above, people weren’t behaving in a disempowered way because they didn’t know better. The company’s decision-making processes forbid them from behaving any other way. Multiple levels of approval were required for even tactical decisions. Access to basic information was limited to high-ranking managers. The culture reinforced asking permission for everything. Unless those issues were addressed, a workshop would prove useless.
2. There is commitment to change. Any thorough organizational assessment will not only define the skills employees need to develop, it will also reveal the conditions required to reinforce and sustain those skills once a training solution is implemented. Just because an organization recognizes the factors driving unwanted behavior, doesn’t mean they’re open to changing them. When I raised the obvious concerns with the organization above, I got the classic response, “Yes, yes, of course we know those issues aren’t helping, but we think if we can get the workshop going, we’ll build momentum and then get to those later.” This is usually code for, “It’s never going to happen.” If an organization isn’t willing to address the causes of a problem, a training will not yield its intended benefit.
3. The training solution directly serves strategic priorities. When an organization deploys a new strategy — like launching a new market or product — training can play a critical role in equipping people with the skills and knowledge they need to help that strategy succeed. But when a training initiative has no discernible purpose or end goal, the risk of failure is raised. For example, one of my clients rolled out a company-wide mindfulness workshop. When I asked a few employees what they thought, they said, “It was interesting. At least it got me two hours away from my cubicle.” When I asked the sponsoring executive to explain her thought process behind the training, she said, “Our employee engagement data indicated our people are feeling stressed and overworked, so I thought it would be a nice perk to help them focus and reduce tension.” But when I asked her what was causing the stress, her answer was less definitive: “I don’t really know, but most of the negative data came from Millennials and they complain about being overworked. Plus, they like this kind of stuff.” She believed her training solution had strategic relevance because it linked to a vital employee metric. But evaluations indicated that, though employees found the training “interesting,” it didn’t actually reduce their stress. There are a myriad of reasons why the workload could have been causing employees stress. Therefore, this manager’s energy would have been better directed at trying to determine those reasons in her specific department, and addressing them accordingly — despite her good intentions.
If you are going to invest millions of dollars into company training, be confident it is addressing a strategic learning need. Further, be sure your organization can and will sustain new skills and knowledge by addressing the broader factors that may threaten their success. If you aren’t confident in these conditions, don’t spend the money.
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Women are increasingly supporting our families financially. It can feel empowering to be the sole or primary earner, but many of us feel pressure to be both an ideal worker and an ideal mother. We hear from a woman who supports a stay-at-home husband and three sons.
Then, Alyson Byrne fills us in about the research on women as financial providers — for example, the more we financially contribute, the better our psychological well-being. (Yay.) She has tips on managing the professional side and the personal side of being the chief breadwinner. And Maureen Hoch, Women at Work’s supervising editor, shares her experience of being her family’s primary earner.
Alyson Byrne is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial University of Newfoundland.