2 Friction-Reducing Strategies for Retailers

The average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is reaching 70 percent - a number Baymard Institute came up with after looking at 33 different studies containing statistics on the matter, including reports from IBM, Listrak, comScore and others.

While the subject of shopping cart abandonment isn't cut and dry - for instance, many shoppers use online carts as a wishlist of sort and others even add items simply to get a promotional offer from brands - it can signal friction in the checkout process. Most shoppers, however, don't even get to that step. Moz found that the retail industry's average website bounce rate is 35 percent; but why are they leaving?

Friction in the buying experience can be from a number of causes, such as a non-mobile-friendly website, the landing page being irrelevant to the ad that had caused the shopper to click through, lack of trust indicators, slow loading times and the very long list goes on (and on). For some help, Website Magazine caught up with Dominique LeBlond, SVP of Product Management at SDL (pictured below), and he shared two causes of buying friction and how to reduce those. 

1. Eliminate Language Barriers to Foster Local Experiences

Personalization has become a key imperative for retailers trying to enhance their customers' shopping experiences. However, with all the different ways marketers are trying to perfect personalization, language is often overlooked. While it may seem obvious that it's important to speak to customers in their preferred language, translation is much more complex than many realize. Too often, translations do not take into account local and cultural nuances and meaning gets lost, causing friction for the customer experience.

Presenting customers with content they cannot easily understand is a surefire way to lose customers: when a retailer's messages are in the wrong language with irrelevant cultural references, the shopper is much more likely to abandon the brand. To create a seamless buying experience, brands need to ensure their content is not just translated but also localized for the specific dialects their customers prefer. Additionally, brands should not assume they can infer a customer's preferred language based on their location. For instance, one in four U.S. millennials speak a language other than English at home. To truly make a connection with customers and provide a seamless buying experience, retailers need to get this down so they are speaking the right language to each customer every time.

2. Ensure Consistency Across Channels

Today's consumers engage with brands across a large and growing number of channels. Retailers are working hard to keep up, making it a priority to exist on all of these mediums so they have a presence on every channel their customers may be on. However, merely existing on these channels is not enough if there is no overarching, integrated strategy. In fact, having multiple channels that are not aligned for a consistent experience can result in a disjointed buying journey.

For instance, if a shopper receives information via email that conflicts with the brand's SMS text messages, or if one channel recognizes the customer as a loyalty member while another does not, the customer will likely become confused and frustrated and may abandon the purchase or brand altogether. Organizations must have access to all of their customer data to create a single view of each customer across channels to ensure the brand experience is consistent regardless of how or where the shopper engages.