Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates Climb – User Experience Suffers

As the world's consumers move to the web, the importance of user experience management increases. Shopping cart abandonment rates are at an all-time high, despite greater functionality and offerings of e-commerce sites. Learn how to combat growing abandonment rates and protect your online sales.

Losing Customers at the Online Checkout? You Are Not Alone

More and more business transactions are moving to the web, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get consumers to click the “checkout” button at the end of your online shopping cart system. In fact, 67.45 percent of online shopping carts are left abandoned, according to recent stats collected by market research firm Baymard Institute.

According to a 2012 online shopping survey, the main reasons shoppers abandoned their carts were that:

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates 2013
Shopping cart abandonment is a growing concern for e-retailers.
  • 25 percent felt the website was too complicated to navigate
  • 24 percent experienced a website crash
  • 21 percent felt the online checkout process took too long

While it is hard to control how many customers leave your site because they find a better deal elsewhere, you can control the fact that many leave because of technological impediments. As the above data shows, your website speed and web application performance could be the two biggest culprits stealing your sales.

It’s All about Perception

Steve Souders, head performance engineer at Google, argues that you don’t need the fastest checkout times to secure the deal. Instead, you just need to give the perception that you do. As Souders explained at Velocity 2013 in his “The Illusion of Speed” talk, “The way humans perceive speed can be completely independent of the actual speed of what’s happening in the real world.”

For example, a 2001 study revealed that when surveyed, participants actually ranked to be the fastest website when it was actually the slowest. But because of the way the e-retail giant built its site, presented its data and helped users navigate the interface, consumers perceived it to be the speediest.

“The real thing that we are after is to create an experience that people love and that they feel is fast,” Souders explained. “We really are perception brokers.”

Changing the End User’s Perception

There are certainly a few tricks you can pull out of your developer’s hat to change perception—such as keeping site visitors on the current page until the new one is fully loaded, or implementing a spinning wheel that the user perceives to mean something is loading on the backend.  But there are other things to consider as well:

  • Shorten the checkout process by having visitors interact with a single landing page, as opposed to multiple ones.
  • Keep your pages short as longer pages with excessive image files—or, worse, uncompressed images—steal you page load time.
  • Clean up your code by removing useless HTML that hampers the speed of your website.

Tell us… what is your secret weapon to reducing or changing the perception of website performance?

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{ photo credit: tubb (cc) }

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