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4 Powerful Strategies to Guide Your Buyers Through the Purchase Cycle Essay

In ecommerce, one of the biggest challenges most businesses face is shopping cart abandonment. It's one of the biggest concerns for online retailers. It's also a scenario that is unlikely in the real world: Imagine walking into a shopping mall, filling up your cart and staying for just a while before walking out of the mall, leaving your items behind.

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 showed that at the time online retailers were losing a total $4 trillion due to shopping cart abandonment. The good news, however, is that there are strategies online retailers can implement to mitigate that, from ensuring their web-stores are distraction-free to infusing several "trust" elements into their online retail businesses.

With these strategies, you'll see your buyers go through the purchase cycle successfully and see limits imposed on the rate of shopping cart abandonment your business suffers.

1. Build trust by embedding secure signs.

One of the best ways to reduce the possibility of a customer not completing a purchase before leaving the website is to infuse trust into the transaction process. While a good design and powerful brand marketing will help you , you will need more to convince them to complete a purchase.

Trust is a bigger issue than many think: In a survey of 1,044 participants conducted by , 18 percent of users cited not trusting a website with their credit cards or payment information as their reason for not completing a purchase there.

Particularly noticeable in this report is the apparent takeaway that online retailers should work various aspects of their websites to keep more users at their site to complete the purchase cycle.

To build this trust with shoppers, embed actual signs of security into every stage of purchase to checkout. This will ensure that users have the confidence that the technology features needed to guard their information are in full force.

2. Use distraction-free UX and web design.

When we take everything into account, web design influences the way most customer interaction occurs. Users' experience (UX) while shopping will translate to what they end up doing — they either abandon or they make a purchase.

The case is even more so for online retailers who target the luxury market.

I spoke with Paul Lepa, founder of , an online-based jewelry store, about how he handles shopping cart abandonment in his business. "Aesthetics is not as crucial as making the customer feel comfortable while shopping," he said. "The experience our buyers share while shopping with us is more important, which we believe is the best strategy to lower shopping cart abandonment." 

3. Engage lost leads through retargeting ads.

Retargeting reinforces the idea that shopping-cart abandonment could actually be an opportunity in hiding. According to the old Rule of 7, an average customer has to see your products at least seven times before making a purchase.

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When a customer leaves his or her cart, retargeting that person via email and ads served on other places such as on Facebook will help draw him or her back. Retargeted customers, it's been proven, spend higher when recaptured. According to findings, .

To regain these lost sales, deploy retargeting, and do so within a very short time after the cart is abandoned.

4. Simplify and streamline the checkout process.

Most customers abandon the shopping cart at the checkout point.

Having to complete several forms in order to make a simple purchase can discourage shoppers from completing their orders. If your checkout process takes more effort than does a payment with PayPal, the majority of your customers are likely to abandon their carts.

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Online retailers should use cookies that enable customers who have made a previous purchase in the past complete their purchase without having to fill in a form.

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