One view of online shopping cart abandonment is that it is a symptom of weaknesses in the online customer experience. These may include dissatisfaction with shipping costs and annoyance over technical quirks. But as indicated in a recent study, for many consumers, leaving items in a shopping cart doesn't necessarily signal the end of the online shopping trip. And that means abandonment also represents an opportunity to convert incomplete transactions into additional visits and future sales.
Bronto Software and Magento partnered with Ipsos to survey online shoppers about their interactions with shopping carts, cart abandonment and post-abandonment reminder emails. The August 2013 study divided 1,003 qualifying consumers into three groups based on how often they shop online — "Frequent", "Occasional" and "Infrequent" shoppers.
The behavior of today's sophisticated online shoppers is both complicated and nuanced. Many see the shopping cart not so much as the final step in the purchase process, but as a decision point where they can assess, modify and save their selected items. A consumer can have many reasons for waiting to complete an order — a break for comparison shopping, to watch product videos or read reviews, or the need for peer confirmation (aka, checking with the significant other).
The study results explored three areas dealing with the tendency of consumers to save shopping cart items for further consideration:
Save items to buy later
The study showed that more than half (56 percent) of consumers who purchase online at least once a month are using the cart to store items to buy later. Targeting these frequent shoppers and anticipating their desire to store items can help save sales — even though cart abandonment rates would stay the same.
Build a wish list of items to shop later
An option to save shopping cart items to a wish list may offer shoppers a graceful way to re-enter the purchase cycle after the "sticker shock" of seeing the cart total. The shopping-cart-to-wish-list conversion is more likely to occur with Frequent Shoppers. Eighty-two percent of Frequent Shoppers will always or occasionally build wish lists.
Store items to view on a different device
Shopping on a PC and completing the order later on a mobile device — or vice versa — has quickly become a common part of consumer behavior. According to a study by Google and Ipsos, 45 percent of consumers will use cumbersome methods like bookmarking products or emailing a product page link to themselves to make this transition. Facilitating this transfer of product information within the shopping cart will help keep the shopper on your site and engaging with your brand.
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