What is Shopping Cart?
A shopping cart is a piece of software that keeps the record of the items a buyer has ‘picked up’ from the online store. Acting as an online store’s catalog, the eCommerce shopping cart enables consumers to select products, review what they selected, make modifications or add extra items if needed, and purchase the products.
Types of Shopping Carts
Every online store must have the shopping cart functionality to be able to sell products to customers. Essentially, there are two types of shopping carts – hosted and self-hosted shopping carts.
• Hosted shopping carts are off-the-shelf solutions managed by the company who created them. What this means is that all you need to do to set up your store is to sign up with your chosen host and you’re good to go. You can use pre-made website templates to set up a completely new store or simply add purchase buttons to your existing website and start selling immediately. By far the most popular hosted shopping cart is Shopify, but there are plenty of other options, too.
• Self-hosted shopping carts are 100% customizable shopping solutions that you host on your own server. This simply means that you download the software and run it yourself.
What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?
Shopping cart abandonment occurs when customers add items to their shopping cart but don’t complete the purchase. It is one of the biggest issues plaguing eCommerce entrepreneurs, as roughly of shopping carts are abandoned worldwide.
In order to tackle the whopping shopping cart abandonment rate, marketers need to understand the underlying reasons and drivers behind this decision. The most common reason for shopping cart abandonment is that people were simply browsing for options. According to a recent study, the most commonly stated reasons for abandonments during checkout include:
• Unexpected extra costs that are too high (shipping, tax, fees)
• Merchant not providing the option of guest checkout and asking to create an account
• The checkout process takes too long or is too complicated
• The merchant doesn’t show the total order cost upfront
• Website has bugs or crashes during checkout
• Website seems fishy, customers have payment security concerns
• Delivery is too slow
• Disappointing returns policy discourages customers from buying
• Merchant does not provide enough payment methods
• Merchant does not provide a mobile-friendly payment option
• Consumer’s credit card is declined
• Consumer finds a better deal elsewhere
• Consumer is only browsing or doing research
Responding to Shopping Cart Abandonment?
Although not a definitive list, it gives a pretty good insight into the complicated issue of shopping cart abandonment. Each reason listed above calls for a different solution and eCommerce marketers need to think about and address each and every one of them in a smart and non-intrusive way.
For example, here are a few methods to combat the most popular cart abandonment reasons:
• Problem: customers don’t want to pay unexpected extra costs
Solution: communicate all additional costs upfront and avoid any hidden or small-print charges. There’s nothing more frustrating for a consumer than to go through all the checkout process only to discover they’re hit by outrageous shipping charges. They will never come back.
• Problem: customers don’t want to create a new account in order to checkout
Solution: although collecting data about your customers is a critical component of your store’s success, do not force buyers to create an account with you or you’ll end up losing them. The best solution is to provide a guest checkout or social logins (Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, etc) option alongside your usual “create an account” solution and let the customer choose. You can always ask for more details later on.
• Problem: customers find the checkout process too long
Solution: you may not be able to actually reduce the number of steps in the checkout process, but you can eliminate shopper frustration by adding a visually appealing progress bar to your checkout page to provide constant progress updates and make the customer feel in control.
In order to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate, you must identify the main drivers and friction points first. There are many eCommerce statistics that can shed light on possible issues, but you should start by examining your store’s conversion pathways in Google Analytics and visually mapping out the flow of your site.
Benefits of Shopping Cart
Shopping cart applications support eCommerce efforts in a variety of ways, which is why satisfied customers report a number of notable benefits after they’ve deployed one. Speaking of the main advantages of shopping cart software, here are the immediate benefits:
1.Safer shopping. Most online stores decide to get a shopping cart application because of security issues, keeping in mind that payment and transactions are facilitated and well administered. With a licensed cart in place, customers have the peace of mind that their money will arrive safely to the desired destinations, and so will you.
2.Convenient shopping. Thinking from a buyer’s perspective, would you rather consider a site where you can store and manage your orders, and make them separately; or one where you would always be expected to repeat the browsing session, and undergo tedious selections again and again? We all shop online because of the unwillingness to visit an actual store and choose, and that’s where shopping carts work out their magic – they enable us to serve ourselves.
3.A single hub for data management. A shopping cart is not only a tool customers will “pass through,” but also an intelligent base collecting information and revealing patterns, alongside calculating important product stats. It will maintain the order and payment history of each consumer, collect and process credit card information, and provide invaluable stats on selling trends for different time periods.
4.An official storefront for your business. A good shopping cart will ensure easy access to selected products/services, but also intelligently pull off other related pages that may be of interest to the customer. As part of a constantly evolving technology field, the cart will adapt easily to the user’s browsing criteria, and further improve the shopping experience by keeping track of everything customers are doing. This will help them develop a more professional image of what your brand can do for them.
5.Easy payments. Another important benefit of shopping cart software is being able to collect payments in a hassle-free way, as it gives you all processing features you need to charge customers without asking them to abandon the platform. This means processing credit cards and connecting easily to bank accounts; working in synergy with leading gateways, and triggering an immediate process of billing & invoicing with or without a third-party connection. Plus, a reliable cart is the only way to ensure you will process each and every payment.
6.Shopping analytics & performance management. To ensure that all transactions are running smoothly, shopping carts organize and categorize information in historical sections, and even process the data to showcase it visually and let the owner understand the health of his performance. Most of the popular shopping carts impose no restrictions to as how many transactions you can process, and will scale easily as your database increases.
7.The Special-Offer trick. Shopping carts come packed with advanced marketing functionalities that help retain customers and acquire new ones. They will let consumers create wish lists, access a detailed product/service catalog, use promotional and discount coupons, and much more.
8.The feedback. Shopping carts are among eCommerce businesses’ most important experience management assets, at the core of each and every evaluation process. After a successful (or unsuccessful) process, customers will be asked to rate your service and provide tips on improvement, which means you will have first-hand-experience information to work with.