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Article: Are You Being Abandoned?

Being abandoned on the internet is very possible and you will never know why unless you consider what your visitors were looking for on the internet and how they interacted with your eCommerce website.

There are numerous reasons for abandonment and it afflicts expensive as well as inexpensive websites. In fact, many websites have invested heavily in the latest design effects, yet have poorly written content and little or no focused merchandising approach to the overall website and the eCommerce or shopping cart design.

Of major importance in any website is integrating the facility to see who visits what pages and how they travel and view your website. It is essential to understand what pages are working and which pages are being abandoned. It is even more important to understand why visitors are buying and not buying your products and services. There are many tools available for this purpose and the small monthly investment is well worth the cost.

A number of market researchers say the rate at which Web consumers abandon their online shopping carts before making purchases online runs between 25 percent (Andersen Consulting) on the low end and 78 percent (Bizrate.com) on the high end. Why do so many shoppers go through the time and trouble to load up their shopping carts, only to leave without the merchandise? And what, if anything, can e-tailers do about this problem that according to Shop.org and BCG is potentially costing e-tailers $20 billion per year in unrealized sales?

In a recent major survey we conducted, online shoppers gave fifteen major reasons they abandoned shopping carts. These ranged from; ‘No gift certificates’ (11%) to ‘Cost of Shipping too high and not shown until checkout’ (69%) as the top reason.

As a web retailer you are possibly losing customers due to issues that can be resolved by taking your understanding of retailing and merchandising principles and incorporating them within your website when working with your design team.

When designing your pages, keep your potential visitors interests, needs, goals, and purpose for visiting uppermost in your mind.   

Statistics consistently show that when customers do not understand how to apply for things, make purchases online, and cannot find what they’re looking for.  Where do they go?  Back to what they know, and that may be brick and mortar stores or their local professional services.

An Internet website should closely monitor its shopping-cart-abandonment rate for; abandonment rates on their site through time to see if they’re trending up or down; and they should look at what point or page abandonment happens on their site.

As a customer goes through the checkout process, there is an increased intent to buy and you should see a falloff in abandonment; any increase is a functionality issue. If the abandonment rate suddenly rises from 15 percent on one page to 25 percent on the next, it should be a red flag.

Make changes to your existing website. Keep your users oriented by providing navigation that tells them where they are, where they were and where they’re about to go.  Find ways to let users get quickly back to where they were when they had to leave.  This includes using cookies for intuitive applications.

A word of caution; make sure there are NO advertisements or banners on your buying pages.  (Why invite someone to leave your site when they’re buying something from you?)

You should also compare abandonment rates with your industry category’s average. Abandonment rates vary dramatically by industry, with a much higher rate for a high-ticket category like consumer electronics than for low-ticket items like CDs, gifts, books and toys.

If your five marketing ‘P’s’ were completed correctly and visitors are streaming to your website and then abandoning you at a moments notice, you must study and correct the issues with your underlying website functionality and merchandising structure or online success will continue to elude you.  - John Shenton - June, 2002
 

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N.B.** The articles were first published in the Times (Montreal, Canada) and written by John Shenton as special contributor to the Times Technology Section. Articles and Reports written by us may be printed or displayed on your website providing they are kept intact and a link/attribution to this website or Internet Merchandising Systems plus authorship is displayed.

 

 

 

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