Yieldify are a multi-channel abandonment analytics platform and Silver Sponsor of Performance Marketing Insights at the end of this month. Here chief executive Jay Radia explains some of the most common mistakes marketers are making leading to cart abandonment, and what you can do to avoid them. 

While High Street shops used to only serve their local community, and shut at 6pm sharp, our advances in technology and infrastructure have created a 24 hour marketplace that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. And although brands may now have the ability to reach and deliver their products to almost anyone, consumers have been given unlimited choice of suppliers at a touch of a button. The result? Brands have huge opportunity for revenue generation but competition is fierce and consumer loyalty is on the decline.

This declining loyalty is never more apparent than when looking at stats on online basket abandonment. A staggering 77% of shoppers abandoned their basket before making a purchase last year. This makes basket abandonment the single biggest drain on e-retailers with losses running over £6bn as of 2013.

Online retailers need to get proactive about tackling these high rates or risk getting pulled under by an endless sea of competitor offers. Here I will walk you through the seven critical mistakes online marketers are making that can drive up basket abandonment – and explain what can be done to fix them.

1. Accountability

You would not ditch your trolley in the middle of a supermarket but the same does not apply online. Internet anonymity has removed almost all the pressure to purchase. Basically, rudeness does not exist on the internet. Closing a browser to visit a competitor’s site has no social consequences for the modern consumer and brands needs to work harder to give their online users a reason to stay.

If you know your users can easily lose concentration, create relevant, insightful campaigns that draw their eye and keep their mind away from a competitor’s website.

2. Lack of Personalisation

Power has shifted away from the merchant and towards the consumer. The latter have come to expect customised functionality and personalisation and are quick to leave domains (both off and online) where this is not offered. Unfortunately, retailers – during the leap from the High Street to online – have fallen out of touch with their customers.

What can be done to reverse this and to enhance the user journey?

  • Tailor in-page recommendations to each visitor.
  • Treat users differently depending on their loyalty.
  • Pick the right moment to make an offer and highlight your UPS.

3. Hidden costs

Not being upfront about costs is frequently cited as the number one reason for basket abandonment. 56% of abandoning visitors give ‘unexpected costs’ as their reason for leaving. 

Offering free shipping – and shouting about it on your home page – can be a great revenue driver if you have the margins. After all, a massive 93% of online buyers are encouraged to buy more products if free shipping is included.

4. Hidden returns policy

Remember that the average basket abandonment rate is 77%. Now also consider the fact that only 3% of customers return items. Returning a small number of items – possibly for free – is a small price to pay for getting the extra conversions – and possibly a lifetime customer.

The best commercial decision for online retailers is to be upfront with visitors about how they can return their purchased items.

5. Security

At the point of checkout 58.4% of users abandon due to concerns about payment. Website visitors are understandably cautious about sharing their financial information online. 

The solution is simple: you must make every effort to display your transaction security provisions.

6. Time pressured users

Time – there is never enough of it, and when it comes to online shopping, wasting your visitor’s time will lead to an abandoned basket. So how do we appeal to the modern, busy consumer? By finding the perfect balance between helpful and non-obtrusive.

The best retailers will guide a user through their online journey with friendly nudges that complement their online experience. It is vital that you create a smooth journey from browse to buy. This is done by avoiding complex functionality, ensuring their product menu is clear and legible, the checkout is clearly signposted and CTAs are obvious and visible.

7. Neglecting multi-channel

In 2014, mobile web traffic overtook desktop for the first time. 40% of consumers now say they purchase more from retailers that deliver a personalised, cross-channel shopping experience. Save your visitors time and effort by optimising your pages for mobile and tablet devices: use clean lines, strip back on the user interface, enlarge CTAs and amplify social integration.

Proactive brands need to use data driven insights to segment their users and create tailored journeys from multiple devices. This will allow modification of specific campaigns by device and enable more effective communication with consumers.

So what are the key takeaways?

Modern consumers need modern retailers. Retailers that can take them from browsing, all the way through to the check-out. If retail brands want to succeed in the hyper-competitive online marketplace, they need to turn their hand not just to getting visitors to their website, but also to creating a truly unique and optimised experience once they get there.

Understanding the psychology behind basket abandonment – and avoiding the seven pitfalls above – will not only bring online marketers a step closer to customers but also drive significant incremental value.