Posted by Pamela Swift in Recommendations
Article Contributed by Brad Martin
Getting a customer over the purchasing finish line after they’ve seen your paid advertising, viewed your detailed product descriptions, and accepted finely tuned pricing is essential. Not only is getting the customer to make a purchase the actual point of everything else an eCommerce business is doing, but improvements in shopping cart conversion rates are essentially ‘found money’ for businesses because the relative costs of improving conversion rates are typically insignificant relative to the increases in revenue these improvements can yield. Unfortunately, historically, plugging leaks in a business’ sales funnel, and in particular the shopping cart, typically aren’t areas of focus for most businesses.
As a consequence of its ability to dramatically impact the bottom line and its relative obscure position in online marketing, there are a number of recent startups and technologies attempting to address shopping cart conversion rates. In this article we’ll highlight some recent innovative shopping cart checkout technologies that have the potential to significantly improve eCommerce customer conversion rates.
Sell Your Products Across the Web via Shoppable
Online shopping has begun to transition to something a lot more like window shopping in the retail world. For example, potential customers frequently peruse their friends’ social media accounts and see interesting purchases. If these potential customers were given the opportunity, some of these virtual window shoppers would make the purchase, unfortunately, the friction of having to identify the retailer of the product and then having to navigate to that retailers website is sufficient to eliminate most of these potential sales.
Shoppable is attempting to eliminate this friction. Shoppable is a universal checkout that works on third-party websites. By registering your company and the products it sells with Shoppable, virtual window shoppers that stumble across an image of your product elsewhere on the web will be able to purchase the product on that third-party website via the Shoppable shopping cart. In essence, Shoppable extends your company’s sales funnel and shopping cart well beyond your website, to anywhere where your products have been shared around the web. This reduces customer friction by first not forcing customers to navigate over to your website, find the item and purchase it, but also by providing an easy means to identify the product and provide an option to make the purchase.
Detailed Downtime Data via Ghost Inspector
Basic website downtime analysis isn’t a new technology, companies like Pingdom have been letting eCommerce webmasters know whether their website is down for over a decade. As eCommerce websites have become more complex and the shopping experience customized by the demographic and previous shopping history of an individual customer, however, a general “the site is up” notification is insufficient for most eCommerce sites to know that the full sales funnel is functioning as expected. In comes Ghost Inspector.
This relatively new tool gives online businesses the ability to test the full experience of a hypothetical customer from the moment they land on the website completely through the checkout process. That means testing whether the customer is receiving the correct messaging on the landing page, whether the product demonstration videos are loading correctly, whether the shopping cart is adding items properly, recommending additional up-sells as it’s supposed to, calculating taxes and totals, etc. The webmaster is able to run test ‘customer experiences’ for a variety of different hypothetical customers through a variety of different sales paths, and run these tests as often as every few minutes. Thus, the webmaster knows exactly what is broken, precisely when it’s broken.
360 Degree Product Images via Ortery
One of the primary reasons some customers cite preferring a retail shopping experience over an eCommerce one is the ability to fully inspect the item prior to purchasing. Unlike the very tactile experience of holding a product in your hand, most eCommerce websites offer just one or two 2-D photos of the product.
Companies that want to bridge the gap and scoop up these additional customer conversions would be wise to check out a 360 degree product image platform like Ortery. A simple rotating ‘lazy susan’ surrounded with a translucent wrap that shows as negative space on videos, this is a very cheap way to create professional quality 360 degree product display videos and increase conversion rates.
Instant Customer Financing without Credit Score Check via ZestMoney
If you sell big ticket items, your shopping cart abandonment rate is likely to be significantly higher than the average eCommerce store in part because customers either have sticker shock upon checkout, or because their credit card declines due to insufficient balance. As a high risk credit card processor our most recent internal survey indicated that roughly 8% of large ticket attempted purchases were declined by the customer’s credit card issuer due to customer insufficient funds. Thus, providing an alternative ability for these customers to pay is an opportunity on the scale of somewhere between an 8-25% increase in sales for businesses selling large ticket items.
There are a number of startups attempting to provide instant customer financing for big ticket items, but one new company that is doing so without running customer’s credit checks nor requiring a customer to own a credit card is ZestMoney. Offered as an alternative payment option on checkout, ZestMoney not only allows customers to instantly finance purchases on a business’ checkout page, but also provides the ability for customers without a credit or debit card to make purchases on a small business’ eCommerce platform.
No More Typing Credit Card Numbers via Apple Pay for Websites
Beginning in October 2016, approximately 200,000 eCommerce websites will begin accepting Apple Pay for online purchases. That means that customers who are shopping via an iPhone, iPad, or the Safari desktop browser will be able to click the ‘Pay with Apple Pay’ button during checkout, and complete the purchase via a fingerprint authentication on their phone, or Apple Watch.
The benefits to eCommerce businesses are that customers will not have to enter their credit card information when making a purchase, which should have a dramatically positive impact on mobile shopping conversion rates in particular.
Improving shopping cart conversion rates is a relatively straightforward way for businesses to boost their bottom line and profitability because it takes advantage of existing clientele for whom the business has already incurred the full cost of client acquisition. The new and exciting startups and technologies that are highlighted in this article attempt to address shopping cart conversion rates and hold the potential, if properly utilized, to both improve the customer experience and ensure significantly better returns for eCommerce businesses.
About the Author
Brad Martin is with Soar Payments, a high risk merchant services company that offers payment solutions to a wide variety of eCommerce businesses. You can learn more about Soar Payments by visiting the company’s Facebook page.