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Keep Online Customers from “Checking Out” at Checkout; 5 Shopping Cart Functions it Pays to Automate

Wish your online sales were higher? You’re not alone. According to eConsultancy’s Digital Trends report, 78% of ecommerce sellers aren’t happy with their conversation rates. Compelling marketing promotions and a killer website aside, conversion often comes down to how well you manage online transactions. By the time customers get to checkout, there’s only two things on their mind: How much am I going to pay and how fast can I get it? Hiccups in your checkout process can cause buyers to balk—and walk. In fact, 60% of online shoppers expect to see the total cost of their purchases up front—including shipping and sales tax—and 44% worry about the success of a transaction if checkout takes too long*.

To avoid slowing down your customers—and your sales—automate these five functions in your ecommerce system or Web store’s shopping cart:

Payment Processing: Final purchase tallies should be fast and accurate. Allow customers to enter any coupons, discount codes and promotions at the start of the checkout process and instantly apply them to their total. Offer instant payment options like PayPal and Google Wallet in addition to credit cards; this has been shown to boost conversation rates by up to 10%.

Inventory: Finding that a desired item is out of stock is a big turnoff to buyers. Integrate an automated product inventory solution into your ecommerce system to allow customers to instantly see if items are in stock before placing their order. If items are out of stock, include the date when the item will be available to ship or provide a backorder option.

Shipping: Free and expedited shipping are great incentives to entice customers to buy. So much so that half of all retailers now offer free shipping, according to Comscore. But ensuring you meet delivery expectations is equally important. Many shippers, like UPS, offer third-party software or APIs that integrate into your ecommerce systems to calculate shipping costs, track orders, and provide customers with shipping and delivery alerts.

Cart Recovery: “Oops, you forgot something…” These not-so-subtle reminders to customers can be quite impactful. Magento users report a 15% boost in conversion rates, on average, from automated cart recovery alerts. Sync this with persistent shopping cart; you don’t want shoppers coming back to find theirs items are no longer saved in checkout when they are finally ready to purchase.

Sales Tax: Most states now require ecommerce sellers to collect sales tax on taxable online purchases. Given that unexpected costs at check-out are the number one reason customers abandon carts, it pays to calculate sales tax correctly on every transaction. Cloud-based tax automation software like Avalara’s AvaTax, integrated easily into your shopping cart to provide fast, accurate, real-time sales tax calculation and even automatically accounts for exemptions, product taxability variances and sales tax holidays.

The experience that online shoppers have on your website can make or break a sale. This includes a seamless checkout process with no surprises. Automating order processing tasks in your ecommerce system or through simple integrations with trusted third party providers ensures that you leave the right lasting impression with your customers. And that’s the kind of closure you want.

*OneUpWeb, Radware

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