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Simple Shopping Cart Mistakes

Dotcoms are spending huge chunks of money to get traffic to their site, and hopefully induce visitors to buy, only to find that a significant portion abandon their shopping carts before the purchasing process is completed. In fact, some 65% of online consumers bail out of a transaction and abandon the shopping carts before the final purchase takes place. And nothing will make a shopper say "Bye-bye" to your shopping cart faster than surprising them near the end of the checkout process.

One way to have your shopper bolt for the door is to surprise them with shipping charges. So, before you put your customers through your order-taking process, let them know what the actual shipped price of their order will be. You can do this in one of two ways. First, present the customer with the full amount of his order before you ask for his credit card. If you can't provide a calculation, then have complete shipping and handling charges listed on your web store—and make that list easy to find!

This is even more critical for your international customers. First, if you want to sell to international customers, you have to let them know it. Give them the international shipping costs before they reach your order form. If you don't ship out of country, don't tell them that after they've gone through the checkout process.

Here's another simple shopping cart mistake. Have the shopper register and fill out a long personal information form before checking out. Ask for lots of personal data before they buy, and you can watch those abandoned shopping carts pile up. If you want to collect demographic information, do it after the order is finished—and give the customer a reason to hand you the information. Offer a discount on the next purchase, or special handling or pricing on future purchases for registered customers.

If you want to get something from a consumer—like personal information outside of name, billing address, shipping address, email address, and phone number—you have to give something in return. Remember what that wise marketer, Yoda, said in Star Wars: "Give, then take."

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