Monday, August 24, 2009

Today's Dirty Word - AbandondedShoppingCarts (And How to Stop Them)

Want more orders from your online store? Of course we know the answer to that. Shopping cart abandonment is up to 25% higher than previous years - now estimated as high as 59%. This trend matches the estimate that on each shopping trip, brick-and-mortar shoppers choose and then leave at least one item in their cart. With the year's biggest order season coming, right now is the time to get your strategy in place to keep the most orders possible.

Why this rise in abandoned carts? There are several reasons, but the top reasons always include surprise charges at the end of the transaction. Technology problems and consumer confusion also contribute. Once you are sure your shopping site is competitive, consider if your buying process is competitive. A surprise charge, such as an unexpected handling charge or a shipping charge too high, will make a buyer just say "Bye!" What else can help? Another strategy that has been successful is requiring fewer steps during checkout.

A number of experts and Internet entrepreneurs find that it is very important to display shipping charges before checking out to avoid shopping cart abandonment. It's clear that flat rate shipping, strategically mixed with "free" shipping offers, combats this problem. Now, how to do this?

Free shipping is very easy to calculate but figuring out the right amount for flat-rate shipping takes a little more effort. If your company's actual carrier rates are in your shipping system, then use historical reporting directly from the shipping system. Our CPS shipping software goes a step further by providing a report showing average shipping cost per package and average shipping cost per pound. With just a few mouse clicks you can keep tabs on your shipping costs for any period of time by carrier and service to accurately manage a flat rate shipping offer.

You can get these same numbers from the carrier bills, but its so much easier if you can just "Click" and see them. This example is for CPS, but look for similar reporting in your shipping system. Monitor your costs monthly and make adjustments for changes in average charges. You might supplement flat rate shipping with free shipping offers for special times of the year like holidays when competing for consumer dollars.

A number of experts and Internet entrepreneurs say it is very important to display shipping charges before checking out. Remember, no surprises! Flat rate charges let you give shoppers shipping cost information before you collect any information about them. This simplifies their shopping experience and gives you the best chance at a successful order. Make the process easy and help your customer click "Buy" instead of "Bye".

For more on this subject visit and read the free white paper entitled "Mail Order and Internet Retailer's Guide to Handling Shipping Costs".

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