Why are up to 68 per cent of carts abandoned at the checkout?

e-commerce, onlineAre you losing online shoppers in droves before they checkout? If so, you aren’t alone and there’s plenty you could be doing to keep them.

Research suggests that up to 68 per cent of carts  are abandoned at the checkout. That means retailers are potentially losing more than two out of every three potential online shoppers that visit their website. But why?

We spoke to Carolyn Breeze, head of Australian sales and market development at Braintree, a PayPal Service, which powers some of the world’s largest next gen businesses including Uber and AirBnb. She cites three major reasons for the abandonment.

The first reason is a poor user experience because the checkout process is too long or too complicated and because the website is hard to navigate.

The second is that the site isn’t optimised for the device the customer is using. “That’s important given the wide uptake of smartphones in Australia and that mobile transactions are forecast to jump 74 per cent over the next three years,” said Breeze.

The third reason for abandonment is a lack of transparent pricing before checkout.

“Sometimes that’s when customers are presented with unexpected costs at checkout, which weren’t there when they were shopping, such as extra shipping expenses or taxes,” said Breeze.

“It could also be that customers thought they were shopping in Australian dollars and then discover it’s actually in US dollars, which makes the purchase more expensive than expected.”

So what should retailers be doing to ensure a frictionless checkout?

One solution is to have an account or storing data to make the experience as frictionless as possible.

“If customers are there and are ready to buy, you should tokenise them at checkout to keep their details so you already have their information when they come back next time,” Breeze says. This makes the path to purchase for repeat users much easier and removes one more barrier to sale.

She adds that retailers should not be asking customers for too many details in one go. Rather, merchants should only ask for the essential information as a first interaction and over time as they build trust and loyalty, they can acquire more data on repeat visits.

“Once you understand your customers and recognise them when they come back, you can move towards more customisation,” said Breeze.

“But customisation is different for every retailer depending on who their customers are. So retailers need to do a lot of testing around what works for their particular customers.”

Breeze adds it’s not only important to know your customer, but also to ensure their experience is seamless regardless of the platform they’re on. Retailers should ensure that their UX and checkout is optimised for whatever device the customer is using, and that the experience is the same across all devices, making it easy for multi-device customers to navigate.

Intuitive forms are also crucial when considering device optimisation. “For example, if you ask them to provide their phone number or credit card details, ensure that you provide them with a numeric keyboard when optimising for a mobile experience. They don’t want to have to flip through keyboards.”

But it’s not only important to be optimising for today, but preparing for tomorrow. According to Breeze, the future of online business is contextual commerce, which makes buying seamless inside social environments that consumers use regularly.

This involves working with partners to drive easier buying experiences for associated products. For example, you may message friends on Facebook asking them if they want to go to a football match. From this, Facebook intuitively asks you if you want to buy tickets to the game and if you’d also like to book an Uber. And you can purchase these with just one click.

Or if you see something you like on Pinterest, why create unnecessary friction by redirecting to the businesses website? If you trust Pinterest, you should just be able to click on the item and it will be on its way.

So rather than driving traffic to your products, in the future businesses will be able to drive their products to the traffic, removing even more friction and creating a more seamless experience for the customer.

Businesses can get ready for this by partnering with payments partners like Braintree who are already establishing the infrastructure and partnerships with key social platforms where their customers exist.

Payments may seem simply transactional. Something that just works in the background, relevant only to the finance and developer teams but the reality is that’s far from the truth. They have the ability to empower businesses to increase conversion, protect your business, enable cross border growth, inspire customer loyalty through a seamless experience and future proof you for whatever’s next. It pays to rethink your payments.

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