Holiday shopping season is nearly here, and the reality is that most online shopping carts become abandoned. Even though more people will be shopping in the coming months leading up to the holidays, at the end of the day, if a buyer doesn’t purchase what they have in their cart, all efforts to get the customer to the checkout mean nothing. The good news is that there are many ways to optimize checkout for a positive checkout experience for a customer, reduce cart abandonment, and close the deal on a sale. I recently spoke with Dor Mizrachi, product manager for Wix’s e-Commerce platform, to discuss ways organizations can improve their checkout success for fewer abandoned carts and more sales.

Gary Drenik: Tell me about yourself and your role at Wix.

Dor Mizrachi: I’ve been at Wix for 2 years, working on the eCommerce team. The Wix eCommerce platform provides businesses with all the professional tools and services they need to sell anything from products to services online and in-store. Wix users can build their eCommerce business and sell on multiple sales channels, including their own web and mobile storefronts, social media channels, leading eCommerce marketplaces, and physical retail locations.

Drenik: What are the most common reasons people abandon their carts?

Mizrachi: In today’s digital retail environment, about two-thirds of all carts get abandoned. There are multiple reasons why consumers abandon their carts.

  • User Friction: Whether it’s being forced to create an account instead of having the option to check out as a guest, the checkout form not being optimized or localized, a lack of convenient or clear shipping options; difficulty in finding a coupon code; insufficient return policy; not enough payment options. For example, according to a new Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, a flexible return policy is very important to almost half (49.4%) of US Adult buyers and free shipping is very important to approximately 62% of them. Too much friction or lack of information on these aspects in the purchase process often leads to cart abandonment.

  • Performance (site errors/crashes/time-outs): Slow sites can lead to cart abandonment. For example, a site that loads in 1 second has a conversion rate 3x higher than a site that loads in 5 seconds. When a consumer clicks on an item they are interested in, and it takes a while to load, there is a high chance they will give up and move to a different site.
  • Shopping Behaviors: Today consumers use their carts for different purposes. Not all online shoppers are using their cart intending to make a purchase. Many online shoppers today use the cart as a wishlist, collecting items they want but most likely won’t purchase. Others use the cart as a way to collect items they think they want, and then use the cart as a “storage” for them to compare with other items they are thinking to purchase, or to compare pricing with from another site. The current state of the US economy is also affecting household spending, with almost a quarter (24%) of shoppers doing more comparative shopping online according to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey. These consumers usually don’t plan on making it to checkout and can be grouped as browsing abandonment.

Drenik: Successful online stores are no strangers to retargeting their site visitors – what tactics do these stores use that sets them apart from others on the web?

Mizrachi: First of all, it’s crucial to turn unknown visitors (consumers the business can’t identify because the visitor hasn’t logged in to an account, filled out a form, or clicked on any marketing materials), into known visitors, or store members. This can be done, for example, by explaining to visitors the value of signing up to become a store member, whether it be to get discounts, get pre-sell alerts for new items, or other reasons. In some cases, even if the consumer doesn’t make a purchase, the business may have an opportunity to send abandoned cart emails. These emails can be automatically delivered to your contacts when they’ve left items in their carts.

If you already have someone’s email address, you can go the route of sending abandoned cart emails. These emails can be automatically delivered to your contacts when they’ve left items in their carts. It’s not uncommon for these types of emails to contain discount codes as well. About half the people who open them end up completing their purchase. Open rates are high too at 41%, with click rates landing at about 9.5%, and ROIs as high as 1,300%. Digital retailers are also now incorporating abandoned cart text messages, which has become convenient with 81% of consumers now opting into at least one brand’s text message marketing program.

Drenik: You mentioned checkout optimization earlier. Can you elaborate on why it’s an important element in reducing cart abandonment?

Mizrachi: Checkout optimization is a critical part of the purchase funnel. Once buyers decide that they want to purchase from your site, it’s crucial to make their experience as seamless as possible. The checkout form should be straightforward, and simple. Policies, order summary, and the total price breakdown should be easy for the customer to understand. When applicable, having automatic settings to help complete the form and make the form quicker to fill out will help ensure customers don’t get frustrated and give up halfway through checkout. It’s also key to show the buyer a clear and friendly error message if something goes wrong or is missing.

In addition, it is important to be aware of the customers’ payment preferences. The checkout form should offer a variety of payment options, such as credit cards, Apple Pay, Buy-Now-Pay-Later, or Account-to-Account payments. The retailer is likely to see the customer abandon the purchase if they can’t find their preferred method of payment.

Localizing the checkout form with the local language, currency, and formats of the currency will help ensure the process is clear. It’s important to be transparent about taxes, and shipping & handling costs, and dates. These additional fees are often added to the end of the purchase and can surprise buyers if they aren’t aware of them before checkout. The clearer you are on taxes and shipping fees, and when the product will be delivered, the greater opportunity for checkout success.

One of the advantages of using a platform rather than creating an eCommerce site from scratch is that the business owner can benefit from the data the platform has gathered about their industry and potential customers and help optimize a merchant’s checkout. An example would be if a business owner uses a checkout page from Wix, then Wix can utilize data to optimize the purchase flow experience and help users improve their conversion rate, or it can help the business owner localize the checkout form, optimize the sites pages for mCommerce, provide analytic tools to help optimize the purchase flow, and much more.

Drenik: How does establishing one’s eCommerce strategy for mobile commerce (m-commerce) help business owners grab more clicks, taps, and swipes – reducing cart abandonment and boosting revenue?

Mizrachi: More digital buyers will use smartphones over desktops to shop, yet mCommerce has the highest cart abandonment rate, with over 80% of all transactions ending without a sale. The same rules apply to increase conversion and retention rates on mobile devices as it does for desktops, just heightened. The UX and forms should be clean, precise, and clear. Anything visible should be essential and serve a purpose. When it comes to reviewing and checking out, everything should be clear and visible, and the checkout should collect the minimum amount of details to complete the sale. It’s vital that the site is compatible across all mobile devices (i.e., IOS, Android).

Other than making the mobile shopping experience seamless for buyers, retailers can create mCommerce applications, and incentivize users with special discounts and promotional codes to download and shop via the retailer’s app. Beyond saving on customer acquisition costs and increasing customer repeat rates, this also provides a way for retailers to collect data on the shopper and send push notifications to the device, encouraging them to complete the sale if they exited the application before paying.

Drenik: Dor, I really appreciate you sharing your unique insights about checkout optimization. It’s really interesting to learn more about why online shopping carts are frequently abandoned and your recommendations can really help retailers reclaim those sales, especially as we approach this year’s holiday shopping season. It was a pleasure speaking with you.

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