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Marketing

Seven ways to clinch the online sale

Sixty to 70 per cent of online shopping baskets teeter on the edge of completion but then fall short of clinching that all important sale. The shopping cart represents a vital moment in online shopping. The customer has browsed your site, compared products and clicked an initial commitment to buy. However, despite early indications of a purchase, the customer could still walk away from the deal.

The checkout process presents a daunting experience for the customer and they often need to be influenced to commit. Order totals, added shipping costs, entering payment details and the use of promo codes can all act as deterrents in confirming a sale.

With shopping carts being abandoned across the nation, Bronto conducted market research examining online basket strategies of 100 retailers with the resulting report, Revenue Rescue: Saving Sales When Shoppers Stray.

The study makes seven recommendations on how to increase the likelihood of turning a shopping basket into a purchase:

1. Make the checkout process easy.
The process from shopping cart to confirmation takes on average 5.5 pages, with some cases stretching to nine. To reassure customers, 87 per cent of retailers have introduced a step indicator to reveal how much longer, or how many pages the transaction will take.

2. Demonstrate the site is safe and secure.
Make the customer feels confident in their purchase and how their personal data will be safely used and stored – 49 per cent of retailers highlight their security credentials during the checkout phase.

3. Offer customer service along the way.
A helping hand from FAQs, live chat or text can make the difference when keeping a sale. Many retailers will include prominent links to customer service early in the buying process.

4. Validate promo codes early.
Customers want to know their promo code works. Purchasing in the knowledge that the offer has been applied encourages the order, or even a larger one. A late denial of a promotion can infuriate the customer and they may walk – permanently.

5. Give the customer a final order summary.
Seventy per cent of retailers will remind the shopper of their purchase in the final stages of checking out so that their decision can be verified.

6. Offer instore pick up if possible.
Offering a click and collect service can give customers a more convenient delivery solution whilst saving on shipping costs – 36 per cent of online retailers have now implemented this option.

7. Communicate with customers about their shopping cart.
The shopping cart has become a tool for customers to view or buy their products at a later time with 73 per cent doing so, and 18 per cent using it this way every time they shop. The amount of retailers who use cart reminders has increased to 41 per cent, a figure that has more than tripled since a 2013 study.

The end of the purchase journey can be a stressful place for the customer with uncertainty, indecision and sticker shock. Commerce marketers must target and redefine their shopping cart design, flow of actions and how they communicate with those who abandon their purchase.

Shannon Ingrey is the General Manager, Australia of Bronto Software.

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