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5 Tips to Stop People Abandoning their Online Shopping Carts

Customers need to be able to trust your online business. Much of this trust is established by various aspects of your site, long before they make their purchase.
That's why it's important for this trust to continue right through to the shopping cart. If they're confronted with something they don't like the look of when they reach the actual transaction, all the effort that went into the rest of your site will be wasted.

There are a number of factors that contribute to shopping cart abandonment. Here are 5 ways of ensuring your cart doesn't frighten customers away.

1. Research

All of the information you present potential customers with is to convince them to spend money with your business. Most visitors to your site know this, and use the information you give them as research to compare it with the info they find on your competitors sites.
The way to stop this causing cart abandonment is to keep all the information that might influence their decision out of the shopping cart process. All product, pricing and shipping information should be easily accessible before they get to your shopping cart. Also, make sure that all your information is an accurate representation of how much it's actually going to cost. Your customers will abandon your business at the slightest hint of pricing duplicity.

2. Streamline

It's very important that your shopping cart is as simple and easy to use as possible. If there are too many pages involved, or your customer has to enter more information than they're comfortable with, they might decide it's too hard and head to your competition instead. Only ask for the information you need.

3. Registration

It's reasonable to ask customers to register on your site, but it's important that they only need to do so once. Ideally, this will happen after they've used your site to research the product, just before they begin the shopping cart process. If your site requires them to enter personal information more than once (ie at different stages of the process, or each time they make a transaction), they may put the whole exercise into the 'too hard basket'.

4. Trust

This is a big deal online, and there's no fast way of creating it. Many things contribute to building a customer's trust. The design of your site needs to make your business look welcoming and professional. There needs to be a visible indication of the level of security in place during the transaction process. Even the methods of payment can influence whether a customer trusts your business enough to transact with it online (all major credit cards and PayPal are essential).

5. Reliability

Your site has to be utterly reliable. It needs to be 'up' more than 99% of the time, and all pages need to load quickly and cleanly in all browsers. You might have the sleekest design, and the best prices on the web, but if your site crashes, or is slow to load (especially during transactions), you'll lose impatient customers, and alienate the paranoid ones.

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