Online Shopping Cart Means Something Different For ShoppersA recent study conducted in the UK sheds some light on how online shoppers use online shopping carts. Not surprisingly, buyers see an online shopping cart slightly differently than online retailers do. Knowing how shoppers view the online shopping cart can help retailers convert “lookers” into buyers.

Thinking Outside the Online Shopping Cart

The survey, conducted by Talend, showed that 40% of UK shoppers abandoned an online shopping cart half of the time. Online retailers look at shopping cart abandonment in terms of lost sales, so a 50% abandonment rate by 40% of online shoppers translates into billions in “lost” sales.

The vision of “lost billions” doesn’t ring quite true, because Talend’s survey found that shoppers don’t abandon shopping carts because they changed their minds about purchasing a product, or about purchasing a product from a particular retailer. Instead, many shoppers used the shopping cart tool to calculate the price on items, learn about shipping costs, and generate wish lists. In short, a visitor fills his online shopping cart with no firm intention to make an online purchase at that time. For these shoppers, the online shopping cart was just part of the shopping process – not a clear indication of their intent to purchase, but rather, an informational tool.

So how does a retailer convert a shopper into a buyer? The majority of survey respondents said that they would complete a purchase online (or return to an abandoned cart) if the online retailer provided “instant offers” or inducements to purchase. Free shipping was a popular inducement. Nine out of ten shoppers said they would complete a purchase if they were offered free shipping. Almost as many shoppers said they would seal the deal if they were offered a real-time discount. A less popular inducement was a real-time price comparison of the items in the shopper’s cart with their cost at competitive retailers.

Two takeaways come from the survey for businesses that have an online shopping cart: first, not every visitor is ready to be a buyer. The “just looking” stage is an important part of the shopping process for some people, so providing “looking” tools are a welcome addition to the website. These tools can include calculators, wish lists, real-time price comparisons and shipping/delivery information that aren’t tied to your online shopping cart. At this stage, you’re probably not “losing sales” as much as you are educating the customer. If you make this part of their shopping process pleasant, your lookers are likely to convert to buyers during a future visit.

Second, impulse buyers do exist, and you can convert lookers to buyers by offering on-the-spot-sales, real-time deals, rebate information, free shipping and other inducements that buyers can’t (or don’t want to) resist.

If you would like more information about creating an online retail website, or adding an online shopping cart or other “looking” functions to your website, please contact our Creative Director Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.

Photo Credit: Suzanne van Hattum, via