Shopping cart abandonment seems like the lowest blow, because you were so close to the sale, your customer was right there filling the cart, and then they leave, dismissing your keyword optimisation, your pay per click ad, your scintillating copy, your great photos, your fabulous products as just not enough to complete the transaction.

And it happens all the time. Six out of ten shopping carts are abandoned.

Here are some guidelines you can follow to fix some of the reasons that the money never exchanges hands.

1. Handle new customers with care

More new customers abandon shopping carts than returning customers. Do not force new customers to register before they buy. Let your potential customer shop, then offer the opportunity to register to speed the process next time or to get a discount coupon.

2. Show a very easy to understand progress monitor

Run a breadcrumb across the top of the page that tells the customer exactly where they are in the process. Make sure the steps are clickable so that the customer can go back as they need to, without losing information.

3. Reassure the customer

Customers, especially new customers, worry about buying online. There is always that hesitation before supplying credit card information. There is also hesitation if the product could be faulty, such as an electronics product that just does not work. Solve some of these concerns by showing product warranties on the product page, and again once the item is in the cart. Be sure your customer knows that you stand behind your product.

Show credit card security seals and other trade seals in the shopping cart area to encourage shoppers to go ahead and complete the sale. VeriSign, Better Business Bureau, and credit card logos either greatly boost conversions or at least keep them neutral.

4. Recognise a problem and step in

At some point in the checkout process, put in a drop down box that offers live chat if there are any problems. This feature may cost you some overhead but just think about all the sales you might be able to save by intervening at the right time.

5. Make a final effort to save the sale

When a shopper clicks away from your site, it is time to take strong action. Even though people do not like pop-ups, install a popup that offers an additional discount on shopping cart contents and / or anything else purchased from the site.

Again, there is a cost involved, but as long as you are not cutting your prices below the price required covering costs, you are still making a sale and hopefully establishing a return customer. If that does not work (or instead) offer to keep the contents in the shopping cart until the shopper returns. For a new shopper, that means asking for some time to register their information, which is a good idea in any case.

If you do not want to get involved in pop ups or other mechanisms of that type, try sending an email with the same information (if you have the shopper’s email address as part of the data gathering that has already been done).

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