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The Worrying Truth About Cart Abandonment

Abandoned trolley

Cart abandonment, where an online shopper adds items to their basket but then fails to complete the checkout process, is one of the most common and frustrating issues facing ecommerce retailers. Carrying out a forensic investigation into why potential buyers leave before completing their transaction can yield valuable insights to streamline the shopping process and increase conversion to sale. Or, if getting forensic sounds too complicated, here are some research findings that may help.

Earlier this year LivePerson Inc released the findings of a study into online attitudes and behaviours and the results provide a sobering reminder of how high consumer expectations have risen in a short period of time. Nearly 6 in 10 people say they would like more options in how they connect with brands and more than 8 in 10 said they needed some form of support during online shopping visits.

Tougher still on hard-stretched businesses, 71% of online shoppers expect to be able to access help within five minutes, with almost one in three now expecting this support to be instant. And the cost of failing to give speedy support is high, with almost half of all online shoppers claiming they would shop elsewhere or abandon their purchase altogether.

The top reason given for cart abandonment is Unexpected Delivery Costs, as cited by 70% of respondents. If you still hide your delivery charges until the shopper moves to the checkout phase now would be a good time to fix this! Other common bugbears that consumers continue to see too often on ecommerce sites are a lack of product information (56%), security concerns about the website (50%), site navigation problems (46%) and overly complicated registration or login processes (38%).

The message for online businesses is emphatic: give your shoppers the speedy support they demand or expect to see shoppers walking out of your virtual store empty-handed.

But which are the most demanded support channels? The good old telephone number tops the list with 61% of people asking for it, but was closely followed by email and live chat tops also receiving votes from around 6 people in 10. Site FAQs remain popular (51%), followed by click-to-call (34%) and live video chat (7%).

The key takeaways for brands? Find out what your customers and target audiences expect from your website. You may be missing some simple tricks like making FAQs and offsite Help Forums easy to access during the shopping process. Explore some of the latest generation of live chat and instant response tools. If you have customer service teams working during peak times it’s often quite easy to redeploy some of their time to monitoring online requests for help. And remember, not everything that matters happens on your site; chatter within social media and other online discussion environments may be just as crucial in oiling the buying process, so be sure to consider these channels too.

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What is (Cyber) Black Friday?

Black-Friday-2012Today, 23 November 2012 is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day in the USA. It’s a great day to do some online shopping for the Christmas holiday season as many retailer run one day only promotions to try to win your valuable festive custom.

People here in the UK often ask me what it’s all about. The origins of the phrase ‘Black Friday’ are not entirely clear. Wikipedia refers to its use in Philadelphia well before 1961 where it described the “heavy and disruptive traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving”. An alternative explanation is also given that it’s the point in the calendar year when most retailers start to turn a profit.

Today, the meaning is unambiguous: Black Friday is the day that signals the start of the busy Christmas shopping season, when retailers open early and offer some very special discounts to entice customers to part with their cash. In the USA, it has been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005 and consumers around the world are increasingly getting in on the act through online shopping channels in their own version of the event called Cyber Black Friday. Inevitably, some retailers have sought to gain advantage over their rivals, with some going so far as running Black (or Grey) Thursday offers.

So how can you get involved? Most major online retailers are running special promotions today, many extending into the weekend, giving generous discounts off of popular products. Look for special offers from Amazon, Ebay, Apple, John Lewis, Tesco and many other major retailers. But you have to move quickly; the deals are often limited and sell out quickly.

Happy shopping!

(image credit: © maresz_1980 –

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