The majority of SEO & Online Marketing effort these days is focused on getting traffic to a site, failing to complete the picture and leverage user behaviours to help keep that traffic (people) on a site. Unfortunately, many Online Marketing Consultants & Website Managers don’t understand the relationship between search and cart abandonment. While many often lament the high percentage of abandoned carts on their websites, most fail to understand why.
The most common reason is very simple, but oddly enough, largely unknown: Carts aren’t just for shopping.
Shopping carts are just used by site visitors to hold their items until checkout. A large percentage of visitors use them to hold items they are interested in while they figure out exactly what they want to buy. The problem with most sites isn’t cart abandonment; it’s the fact that shoppers have no other way of keeping track of items they are interested in, so they use the only thing they know they can – the shopping cart. Then when they are ready to perform a review, they discard and abandon the items they don’t want. This doesn’t always mean they are abandoning a purchase all together but instead they are abandoning their list of unwanted items post the review.
Additionally, shoppers are likely to have a number of items in their cart that they are interested in/would like to buy but aren’t ready to buy just yet for one reason or another. As a result of being forced to remove these from the cart, where they are gone forever those shoppers forget those items and are unlikely to spend the time going hunting through the site again at a later date looking for them. This is a terrible outcome for the site owner, as this leads to lost sales.
Most eCommerce sites are not shopping sites, they are buying sites. Meaning they are setup for people to come, look, buy, leave. Most fail to support and nurture common shopping behaviours. This results in lower conversions and higher abandons.
What are common shopper behaviours?
It’s rare for someone to visit a site and make a purchase in that same visit. More likely is that the user will begin by educating themselves. Getting a better understanding for features and options available. Instead of expecting potential customers to spend time trawling products categories and product descriptions, give them advanced search options to help them find what they’re looking for.
A typical behaviour of an online shopper is to have multiple carts across multiple sites. They do this as part of their search, learning about different products and the differences between each. They use the carts to track what they like.
Offering great search tools, and then suggesting additional products based on their choices is a great way of boosting user experience, which increases your chances of a conversion, or multiple sales.
As online shoppers have a better idea of what features they really need they begin the cull – removing items from their carts, or abandoning carts on some sites all together. This cull continues until they’re at a point where they know exactly what they want, and where they will buy it from.
Once the decision is made to purchase, it’s typical that the shopper will totally abandon carts on other sites they’ve bee looking at.
Most websites entirely ignore those first two critical online shopping behaviours. They fail to understand there is more that a website can do to help online shoppers during these phases of eCommerce.
Create a wish list feature/area which should include the ability for the shopper to add notes to the products in this list, even allowing them to link to other products on the site or product reviews. It is these notes & links that offer you valuable insight into what each shopper finds interesting, and allows you to suggest other products that meet those interests. This also allows users to return at a later date, to perform the cull, and then the purchase.
Supporting common shopping behaviours, not just buying behaviours, converts more visitors into shoppers, and it’s easier to convert a shopper into a buyer than it is a visitor into a buyer.
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