Feeling E-Bandoned?

Robyn Greenspan

Updated · Jan 16, 2001

Have you been wandering the aisles of your
e-store only to find wayward carts, spilling
over with unpurchased goods? Well, you’re not
alone. Shopping cart abandonment is a major
issue that e-tailers have added to their
collective lists of “things to fix.”

Almost three-quarters of online shoppers cite “convenience and
ease” as the primary reason for buying on the Internet (see: No
Shortage of Online Shoppers
). Based on that statistic, why
would consumers go through the trouble of filling carts and then
not following through the checkout process? The answer could
lie in any number of frustrations or a combination of too many
annoying details that drive customers away from the keyboards
and back to the malls.

Evaluate your site’s methods for completing customer
transactions and see how well you measure up to the list of top

  • Shipping charges, taxes and other fees are not revealed early on in the checkout process. Failing to provide this information Before The Final Click doesn’t allow customers to accurately comparison shop. Divulging shipping charges up front can compel customers to purchase numerous products in one shopping trip. Spreading the delivery cost among many items is more cost effective than buying one item.

    An example of an effective shipping calculator tool can be found at PetFoodDirect.com
    — as the shopping cart is filled, the customer can enter the zip code of the shipping address to figure the delivery cost.

  • Customers don’t want to fill out the same forms over and over again. Amazon’s “1-click” ordering is so successful because this method allows for transaction completion even if the customer doesn’t have their credit card number handy.

  • Let customers see the shopping cart contents and costs as it fills. Barnes and Noble’s site keeps the shopping cart icon in the upper left, maintaining a running total of what items have been selected for purchase. This feature allows customers to feel more in control of their shopping cart.

  • If a customer abandons the cart before completing the transaction, save the contents of the cart for when they return. A customer can leave the site for a reason totally unrelated to customer dissatisfaction so remind them of their attempted purchases on the next visit.

  • Prominently display toll-free phone numbers, e-mail addresses and company contact information throughout the checkout process. In the event that a customer has trouble during the transaction, they can get the necessary help quickly.

  • Redemption information should be easy-to-find and easy-to-understand. What good are coupons, gift certificates and special promotions if customers can’t figure out how to redeem them when checking out?

By creating a checkout process that is intuitive, secure, easily
accessible and convenient, the extra effort could potentially
translate into an increase in the amount of completed orders.
Other helpful data for inclusion should be the company policy on
returns, refunds and exchanges as well as product availability

Here are some resources that offer suggestions on how to
make improvements in your shopping cart program:
Getting Back to the Basics of Checkout Protocol
Avoid E-Bandonment Issues
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Robyn Greenspan
Robyn Greenspan

Robyn Greenspan, an independent researcher and speaker, is interested in innovation, market trends and information technology. She was a participant in the AI Summit and also took part in the IEEE International Conference on Edge Computing, International SOA Symposium series and the International Cloud Symposium series. She graduated from Temple University. She was previously the communications and research manager for the AMS, an internationally recognized professional association that advances knowledge in the IT and business management areas.

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