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8 Reasons Your Online Shopper Left You Hanging

Posted on 8.08.2007

If you notice that you're getting lots of visitors to your Web store but aren't making enough sales to pay for the advertising and marketing you paid for and worked so diligently to create, then you may be suffering from an exceedingly high shopping cart abandonment rate.

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To be successful with ecommerce, you have to have great products and great marketing - that's pretty easy to see and understand. You also need to look good - design is important and you'd be surprised how often good design wins out over even mediocre design time after time. But there are lots of other reasons why while you may be getting people to your online store, they may not be buying and leaving you hanging:

1) Hidden Charges: Nothing is more aggravating as an online shopper than going through the entire buying process and then being slapped with a last minute hidden charge. My personal favorite has to be the charge for having more than one item in your cart. Savvy ecommerce storefronts bundle hidden fees into the price of the product - doing so makes consumers feel as though there aren't any surprises and you'll look more honest.

2) Register Before Buying: Forcing registration on users has been shown to cause shopping cart abandonment rates to soar. If you are allowing users to complete the buying process and as the last step requiring registration, you would be well advised to move the registration process to the beginning of the sales cycle, remove it entirely, or promote it separately and provide discounts to registered users.

3) Comparison Shopping: The Web has made it incredibly easy to research products and prices online. If you're selling the same products as others online and charge more (because you have to) there may not be much you can do other than differentiate your site by providing your own official review of the product and consumer reviews (positive and negative) to give users the sense that you know your product - doing so will help buyers build confidence in your storefront.

4) Too Much Time: If an online retailer can't make the process quick and simple it doesn't give me much confidence in their service. If it's difficult to place an order when they're taking my money, what will they be like if something goes wrong? If you're concerned with the load times of your website or the applications that support it, there are a number of free services which help identify the lags.

5) Product Out Of Stock: This has only happened a few times to me personally. You've searched the Web for the best deal, done your product comparisons and are ready to buy. Add the product to the shopping cart and lo and behold they are out of the product. If you're working with a limited inventory - tell users at the start how many are left. If you run out during the buying process - give them a raincheck and a discount. They'll leave happy and you'll secure another sale.

6) No Delivery Details: Letting prospective buyers know how long a specific product will take to be delivered is essential. If you don't know when it's going to arrive, what's the point of buying it at all? That's how consumers think, so include average delivery times and provide tracking tools so consumers know when they will get what they are ordering.

7) Technical Problems: If you were buying a car at a dealership and the car you wanted to buy kept breaking down during the test drive, you probably would not want to buy that car, much less buy a car from that dealership, right?

8) No Company Information: There's simply no excuse for not including information about your company - phone number (800 number preferably), address (no PO boxes, please), email address or even an online contact form - these channels are essential.

Of course, looking good and having a great product get you most of the way towards a successful online store, but the above points do well to increase conversion rate and secure long term buyers

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