By Rieva Lesonsky
The holiday shopping season resulted in as much as $43.4 billion in sales for online retailers. But a study performed by The Adcom Group for Virtual Hold Technology (VHT) suggests that number could have been much higher if consumers hadn’t struggled with a variety of obstacles to completing the online sale.
The study found that more than three-fourths of online shoppers ran into shopping roadblocks when they had a problem completing the purchase, but couldn’t find help online. A similar number reported that this frustration led them to give up entirely and abandon their online shopping cart.
What specific issues were causing problems?
- Problems correctly reading and using the captcha – 80.3 percent
- Trouble using promo codes, gift card redemption, or with other discount – 46 percent
- Product was back-ordered – 32.5 percent
- Had questions about product features and had difficulty finding answers - 31 percent
- The site timed out (or appeared to) – 30.5 percent
- Had problems logging onto the site, setting up your account or remembering your password – 29.3 percent
- Had questions about shipping and had difficulty finding answers – 24.7 percent
- Had problems entering credit card data or with credit card acceptance -22.6 percent
- Had questions about product availability and had difficulty finding answers – 20.1 percent
- Had problems re-setting your password – 18.9 percent
- Had questions about the return policy and had difficulty finding answers – 15.9 percent
Here’s the really scary part: When faced with these problems, more than 37 percent of customers just give up, and 25.5 percent head to a competitor.
How could online retailers help combat the problem of abandoned shopping carts? Rapidly resolving the problems that get in the way of buying was the number-one answer. Customers overwhelmingly said they would buy more from a site that offered the ability to click or tap to get immediate customer service assistance. In fact, more than three-fourths said they would prefer a site that offered this convenience to a competing site that didn’t.
Providing better customer service would not only drive customers to complete purchases, but also inspire new business. Over half of survey respondents said they would become promoters of brands that offered the ability to click or tap for customer service, and that they would refer others to the brand, website or mobile app.
Of course, many of the issues mentioned above could be solved with a robust set of FAQs that’s easy to find on your site. Make sure FAQs about issues such as shipping, return policies and more are clearly visible on every page of your site navigation.
You can download the full results of the study at www.virtualhold.com/onlineshopping.
Image by Flickr user zion fiction (Creative Commons)