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Guest comment: Combine web analytics with customer feedback to reduce shopping cart abandonment

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By Eran Savir

One of the greatest challenges for online retailers is how to combat shopping cart abandonment. This problem can be compounded for businesses that are looking to take their websites to an international audience. Sites that may seem intuitive to visitors in the UK might not be as welcoming to visitors from the States or Canada. In order to inform online strategy, retailers need to take steps to incorporate a way for customers to provide feedback to improve conversion when moving to a new market.

Retailers should identify how they can integrate the information gleaned from customer feedback into their web analytics data. The who, what, when and where data you collect about your customers’ behavior is valuable. The why data, the information that comes directly from customer feedback, is priceless. Combining these information streams positions your business to serve online customers in a personalized, real-time manner.

Analysing customer feedback can also provide you with both process-level and website-level analysis. You can manage feedback based on your business metrics and preferences such as priority, feedback type, geography, site functionality and more.

Industry analyst firms point to several common reasons for shopping cart abandonment your customers might be experiencing: insufficient pricing and shipping information, login restrictions, security concerns, and an intent to investigate a product or service rather than to make a purchase.

The missing link between e-commerce sites and stemming cart abandonment is customer data. What if retailers could instantly ask a customer the elusive “why” question immediately following that shopper’s abandonment of the cart?

Customised feedback forms offer one way to understand exactly why your shoppers leave. Online businesses can use customized feedback tools to identify shoppers following this behavioral path and ask them why as soon as they abandon your cart. With the responses collected at this critical point, website owners can reduce future problems by working on what needs to be improved.

Furthermore, businesses can use that direct customer input to follow up with lost customers to provide the information they sought, fix the problem they identified, or offer a coupon if they complained about pricing. In this way, you can use customer feedback to increase conversions and sales.

Oftentimes, retailers – especially those looking to expand their markets internationally – find that user feedback regarding shopping cart abandonment focuses in one of several areas.

Prospects are using your shopping cart for research

Oftentimes, users might be on your site not to purchase, but to research their options. Many customers prefer to consult with others and analyse market and shipping prices before making purchasing decisions. If forced to do so by the constraints of a particular website, these consumers will not hesitate to add items to the shopping cart in order to compare prices with your competitors.

The decision to actually purchase hinges on this market research, so include as much comparative information and personalized reviews within your site as possible. Make these resources available to customers before they reach the shopping cart. This will increase the likelihood that they will remain on your site rather than leaving to conduct their research elsewhere, improving chances that their visits will end with purchases.

Your product does not meet the customer’s needs

Are customers leaving your site because you don’t have the products they want? Website owners must be aware of visitor behaviour, as well as visitor wants and needs, in order to gain a foothold in a new market and increase revenues. If users are leaving, you need to learn why. Asking them is a good first step toward understanding your prospects.

Check your marketing efforts. Did users find your promotions misleading or confusing? Are they unable to determine whether your product meets their needs? Don’t force customers to go through the shopping cart process in order to get detailed information about a product, such as colours and sizes. Make accurate, detailed information as accessible as possible, and clearly communicate your offerings to potential customers.

Shipping costs and availability

Perhaps shipping costs are too expensive or you do not ship to the customer’s location. Manage your customers’ expectations about your products and services. The easiest way to understand what they think of your prices and resources is to ask them about their experiences. If you are in the middle of expanding your shipping locations or are introducing a new pricing strategy, you could easily win them back if you just knew what they were thinking when they decided to leave.

In addition to the above issues, e-retailers in any market need to be concerned with user experience regarding shopping cart optimization and barriers to checkout, such as excessive registration requirements. Customers may feel that the entire shopping cart process is too long, slow or unclear. A holistic view of shopping cart feedback – one that goes beyond the individual page – enables you to quickly pinpoint these problems and smooth your entrance into new markets.

There isn’t a secret formula to stop shopping cart abandonment except providing customers with a real-time communications channel and acting on their comments. Going directly to the source is often the most productive approach. Chances are, you can win customers back by fulfilling one of their most basic needs – listening to them.

Eran Savir is co-founder and vice president of business development at Kampyle.

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