How popular is online shopping? And is there room for improvement? Let's check out some pros and cons of automated shopping and see.
Digital carts offer convenience for people around the globe 24 hours a day. Yet an estimated 4 percent of shoppers make purchases, up from 3.5 percent in 2003, reported by DoubleClick, an online marketing company.
And approximately 30 percent of shopping carts are abandoned, according to recent surveys by BizRate.com, a shopping search engine.
The main reasons for shopping cart abandonment are*:High shipping prices (72%)Comparison shopping or browsing (61%)Changed mind (56%)Saving items for later purchase (51%)Total cost of items is too high (43%)Checkout process is too long (41%)Checkout requires too much personal information (35%)Site requires registration before purchase (34%)Site is unstable or unreliable (31%)Checkout process is confusing (27%)
To decrease shopping cart abandonment and increase sales, simple minor improvements in automation can be highly effective. Here are some tips that work best for clients and workers alike of OhioHelp.net, an Ohio-based company that specializes in helping businesses worldwide with their marketing, public relations and freelance writing services.
TOP TIPS FROM OHIOHELP.NET
1. Calculate all handling charges and fees in with your price whenever possible, so that you can offer no-cost shipping. And check for specials like Flat Rate packages with Priority Shipping.
2. Don't have people pre-register, fill out lengthy forms, wait for email confirmation, find their password / user ID and figure out how to log in again and continue to fill out more detailed forms and click through a half-dozen pages. Ugh! People want to shop, buy and go. Period.
3. On EVERY page of your site, shopping cart, receipt and Thank You or other automated reply, list complete contact information. Include a specific person to follow up with, business phone number and postal address (no P.O. Box) and a direct email address like firstname.lastname@example.org (i.e. not email@example.com). Then if the Internet connection fails, the site goes down or any number of other technical issues occurs, the shopper immediately has concrete information for follow up.
4. Set your product order numbers at one (1). In other words, when someone clicks a purchase button, have the cart say one (1) item purchased when they preview their cart instead of zero, making them select "1" again.
5. Include a no-cost gift in the shopping cart, with the receipt or in the Thank You email, especially with large purchases. Let your customers know you appreciate their business. And ask for referrals!
6. Test special product and package prices with offers on a "Thank You" page or with a "Thank You" email.
7. Accept multiple payment options when possible; credit cards, faxed and telephone orders, print checks, money orders, echecks and 3rd party solutions like Paypal. Note: many businesses use American Express.
8. Choose a progressive shopping cart software solution like ProfitAuto at http://presssuccess.com/AutoPilot for a variety of services, pricing packages and options for company growth. ProfitAuto manages not only the cart but also your leads, contacts and shoppers with automated "Thank You" follow up. It also has autoresponders for pre-sale and after-sale communications, digital tracking and delivery solutions, importing / exporting of lists and autoresponder series, electronic coupons, affiliate programs and more.
NO-COST TRIAL AND INFORMATION
For a 30-day no-cost trial of ProfitAuto, sign up online at http://presssuccess.com/AutoPilot . And download ebooks with loads of information to help with your business from the "Freebies" section of the OhioHelp.net bookstore at http://www.presssuccess.com/bookstore
So tweak your checkout process. Make your clients and your company happy. And ring up more sales. To learn more top tips and receive them on a regular basis at no charge in your email, sign up at http://ohiohelp.net today or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* From research (Fall, 2001) by Vividence Corporation, specializing in Customer Experience Management (CEM) products and services.
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About The Author
Diana Barnum, president of http://movingaheadcommunications.com and CEO of http://ohiohelp.net. For more help with marketing, public relations and writing, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (614) 529-9459.