Cart Tricks: Focus on Website Technology to Reduce Abandonment

By ​Eric Miller

September 5, 2012

So far in the Cart Tricks series, we’ve covered how cart page distractions and confusion in the ecommerce checkout process contribute to visitors ditching their carts before converting. But there’s a really simple reason that often gets overlooked—and it comes down to technology and agility.

From website glitches to customers messing up forms during checkout, there are a number of functionality issues that could be contributing to abandoned cart rates. So it’s always a good idea to pop the hood of your website and make sure everything is running smoothly.

The good news: There are steps you can take to catch tech issues and reduce abandoned carts. Here are a few good moves to consider:

Step #1. It’s a great idea to install an analytics package that tracks any glitches that are costing you sales. For instance, you might discover that visitors who have turned their cookies off can’t check out. Fixing a tech issue like that one can help reduce abandoned cart rates and uncover a revenue stream that’s been running dry.

Step #2. Review your the design of your checkboxes. If you require visitors to check a box signifying that they understand and accept the terms and conditions of your website, make sure it’s impossible to miss. This sounds like a small, simple issue, but many websites use tiny, required checkboxes for this step in the process. The result: Visitors miss the box, don’t check it, and the page reloads with an error message asking shoppers to read and check off on the terms and conditions.

That means your visitors have to make their way through another step and scroll through the page again, which is frustrating. So add an animated, red arrow to required checkboxes that draws visitors’ eyes to the box and disappears after they check the box.

Step #3. Even though it’s a best practice to constantly be on the lookout for website bugs and issues, remember the customer is always right. Whether customers made a mistake at checkout or your website had a hiccup, it’s critical your visitors never feel like they’re at fault. So send a clear message that indicates your system couldn’t process their data—whether that’s an email address, phone number, or password. Never indicate your visitors have blundered.

Instead, consider sending a follow-up email to visitors who abandoned their cart. Something like this should resonate:

Our system had some trouble processing your entry, but our customer service representatives are available to help you complete your order at 888-555-XXXX.

The most important thing here is to ensure seemingly small issues—glitches, reloaded forms, customer mistakes—don’t balloon into conversion killers.

For more tactics proven to reduce shopping cart abandonment, download "The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment" eBook.

Eric Miller is a former enterprise account director at Monetate. He has over fifteen years of experience in building and extending online experiences for brands through his work with David’s Bridal, Urban Outfitters, Digitas and ATG. Eric brings a multidisciplinary approach to the management of interactive strategies encompassing usability, design, application development and operational management.

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