Are you checking out??

Just been passed a really interesting article on the Checkout Abandonment on websites.

The article is an introduction into the Checkout Authorisation Guide by Dr Mike Baxter, which I'm yet to read. It explains that the main reason for customers not committing to purchases in their website shopping baskets is due to high hidden costs such as postage. This is the same result from two separate surveys where around 40% of people questionned said that high costs at the end of the shopping experience put them off buying.

So retailers need to be more open about charges. It's an age old tactic that retailers make a lot of profit on marking up postage costs. I don't know of anyone who has charged the exact amount for postage when selling personal items on e-bay.

If you're clever about being upfront with customers you could look at selling more goods. Remembering Behavioural Economics, people look at the most ethical option for them. For example if the postal options are laid out £5 for up to 2 items and £7 for up to 4 items. People may be encouraged to buy a couple more items because it is only an extra £2 in postage.

Look at your sales figures, what are your average items per purchase? Again using Behavioural Economics you can look to increase sales by illustrating the high postage cost for multiple items. So for example, if you know you normally sell on average 3 items per sale, why don't you illustrate the high postage cost of buying 10+ items, so it then makes buying 3 items seem a bargain.

Look now, buy later

Another interesting aspect from the Checkout Abandonment research saw 65% of people not purchase as they weren't ready and saving for later. (The article does mention that 41% were not ready and 24% were saving for later - personally I would put "not ready" and "saving for later" together).

This brings the need for Wishlists to be added to e-commerce sites rather than just a shopping basket, this is a nice technique allowing people to put a side a couple of items for another day and concentrate on items that matter most. The Wishlist gives an escape route if the total amount is getting too heavy for the customer.

Imagine it like when you've walked up to the checkout in HMV with 6 DVDs, you've debated long and hard about spending £20 on 6 DVDs and is it worth it. You've decided it is but as you stand in the queue in those final moments you decide just to go for the 3 for £10 and you leave the other 3 on a nearby shelf. I'm sure we've all been there.

You will see a similar thing happening in a lot in stores like Primark. Primark is crammed full of items, the shopping baskets are designed to hold large volume of items and is set up for compulsive buying. People throw in item after item into the shopping basket, tempted by the relatively low cost of the items available. What you will see though, as you approach the checkouts, are people around the edge of the room checking through shopping baskets and putting unwanted items on random rails before making their purchases.

I bet you can name a time where you've wanted to buy an item, decided against it but hidden it away from other buyers at the back of a random rail for you to come back later should you still be interested. The hold or wish list works in a same way.

These are big decisions. We work twice as hard to keep an item than we do to gain one. I can relate to that when buying music, I can create a list of music in 15 minutes but it can take me up to an hour to decide which ones to buy to meet my budget. Those that I decide not to buy I will put in my holdlist for future reference.

The wish or hold list helps people out, it gives them the option. The important thing is to then focus on targeted mailings from those items that are left in Wishlist to make sure they do come back.

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