You launched your ecommerce website to great fanfare, hoping to see sales soar. And yes, overall, your sales have been good. But did you ever stop to think about how much money customers aren’t spending with you? A recent poll by Virtual Hold Technology  uncovered a lot of hidden frustration on consumers’ parts (and a lot of lost sales on businesses’). Apparently, three-fourths of online shoppers have been so frustrated with a website that they left the site without buying—even after putting items in their shopping carts.

Why are these shoppers getting so frustrated? About 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.

How can you make sure your online customers aren’t 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. The mentors at SCORE can help give you other ideas for optimizing your ecommerce site’s performance. Don’t have a mentor? Visit the SCORE website to get matched with one now and get free mentoring 24/7.

About the Author(s)

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship and

CEO, GrowBiz Media