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Is Your Online Shopping Cart Killing a Great DRTV Program?

I saw a very compelling DRTV commercial recently. I went online to order it. I was so confused by the shopping cart, and it took forever to get through, that I abandoned and threw up my hands in frustration. And I’m a tech savvy experienced web user to boot.


I also recall wanting to buy a DRTV advertised product and went to a very well-designed landing page. But as I progressed through the process, I was hit with no less than 6 upsells and no way to bypass them. Screen after screen of offers. While I know that upsells are extremely important to direct response marketers, I also know as a consumer that they wore me out.

I wonder if either of these companies (both names you would recognize) took the trouble to test their shopping carts/conversion paths and determine where consumers were leaving the process – called shopping cart abandonment.

That led me to conclude that this very common problem that plagues most every online etailer, could actually be derailing otherwise promising DRTV campaigns. And that many producers of infomercials and media buyers of TV time may not even be aware of this problem.

It’s a pervasive problem. Most of what I read about shopping cart abandonment is written about online stores, so this topic may be of value to single product landing pages, typically associated with DRTV commercials.

In fact, what do you think the abandonment rate for the first six months of 2011 was? 

  • 55%
  • 42%
  • 75%
  • 30%
  • 10%
 The answer is a whopping 75%. It was 71% for all of 2010 (Website Conversion Blog). So it’s way up there. Regardless of what the actual rate is, the goal is to reduce that rate as much as possible. If you could reduce your abandonment rate by 10%, for every 1,000 visitors to your site (with an average sale of $25), you’d pick up $2,500 in business.

The shopping cart (even for a single product web site) abandonment phenomenon is both an opportunity (for extra sales and profits) and a pitfall (loss of sales and profit). It’s one of those nagging issues that keeps marketers up at night.

Shopping carts, while around since the dawn of ecommerce on the Internet, keep getting more and more sophisticated and theoretically easier for online shoppers to use. But shopping cart abandonment continues to plague web marketers. That’s not just a problem for online stores – it’s a problem for every marketer who sells a product online, especially when consumers are driven to the site from a DRTV commercial.

Here are the 5 top reasons (Forrester) why your potential customers are abandoning your shopping cart, getting so close to buying but then bailing:

  1. Shipping and handling costs were too high – 44%
  2. I was not ready to purchase the product – 41%
  3. I wanted to compare prices on other sites – 27%
  4. Product price was higher than I was willing to pay – 25%
  5. Just wanted to save products in my cart for later consideration – 24%

What you need to do, armed with this knowledge, is to develop messaging that addresses these reasons. For example, #1 can be addressed by taking a hard look at your S&H costs and what you now charge. Consumers are used to getting free shipping online, so you need to take that into account.

At the end of the day, your shopping cart or conversion path needs to be:

  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Have no cost surprises

Abandonment should be a top priority. Lowering the abandonment rate will lead to immediate bottom line profits.

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