By Rieva Lesonsky

You think your ecommerce website is the answer to boosting your business, but did you ever stop to think how many customers it could be driving away? Yes, you read that right. Apparently, consumers are frustrated with online shopping—so much so that 75 percent of them have given up on a purchase and left the site even after putting a product in their cart, reports a new study from Virtual Hold Technology. Clearly, shopping cart abandonment is a big issue.

Why are these shoppers getting so frustrated? Some 75 percent say it’s because they couldn’t get adequate customer service on the site. Among the problems they wanted help with were not being able to use promo codes or gift cards; questions about product availability or features; and questions about shipping and return policies. Problems with the site itself, such as being slow to load or not being able to log in to an account, were also on the list of factors leading to shopping cart abandonment.

How can you make sure your online customers aren’t practicing shopping cart abandonment and heading to a competitor in their frustration? Some basic practices can help.

  • Post FAQs. Many common questions such as those about shipping and return policies can be answered by good FAQs. Be sure to update your FAQs regularly to make sure they’re still current and to add in answers to any new questions you’re getting.
  • Provide lots of product information. The more product photos, videos, details and descriptions you can offer, the better. Sometimes shoppers give up on purchases because they don’t have enough details about materials, size, weight or other factors.
  • Design it right. Make sure users can quickly find what they need by having key links at the top of your site. Also include several ways to contact you, such as by phone, email or online chat.
  • Streamline your checkout process. Lengthy checkout can frustrate shoppers even if they don’t have questions or issues. Try to keep the number of pages and steps involved to the minimum you need.
  • Test your site. Eliminate technical difficulties by regularly testing your site. Also make sure your discount codes and offers are updated and that login and account creation pages work properly.
  • Use emails. Set up triggers so that emails are sent automatically if items sit in a cart for a certain amount of time. Include all the customer service contact information a customer would need if he or she is having a problem. You could also sweeten the pot by including a discount if the customer buys now.

By implementing these steps, you should see your shopping cart abandonment dwindle and your sales rise.