The Actual Cost of a Poor E-commerce Implementation

#finance#ecommerce#userexperience
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Digital commerce is at the heart of today’s B2B shopping experience, yet so many businesses are still struggling to convert views into sales.

If your technology isn’t holding up to expectations, then your bottom line will suffer.

Learn how to leaverage this for your system.

Contrary to popular belief, product and pricing are no longer the only significant drivers of purchase decisions. Customer experience plays an important role, and much of that depends on the underlying infrastructure powering your e-commerce platform. If your technology isn’t holding up to expectations, then your bottom line will suffer.

How a poor user experience leads to high shopping cart abandonment

An unsatisfying e-commerce experience leads to abandoned shopping carts if indeed potential customers even get that far in the first place. In many ways, the same rules apply as they do in traditional shopping, where most of us have had the experience of trying to buy a couple of items only to end up leaving the store without purchasing due to long lines.

The big difference with e-commerce is that attention spans are far lower, and patience is thin. That’s even more so the case in B2B e-commerce, where customers tend to be busy and would rather spend time researching and evaluating their potential purchases. The last thing they want is to suffer through poor performance and cumbersome navigation. After all, customers shop online for two main reasons – speed and convenience. If your e-commerce platform can’t offer those benefits, your customers may go to a competitor.

Data aggregated from dozens of studies across various industries shows that shopping cart abandonment rates average around 70%. Every abandoned shopping cart represents a lost sale. While some cases will, of course, be beyond your control, the vast majority of cases are preventable. According to the study by the Baymard Institute, these include the following, among others:

  1. Additional costs, such as shipping (49%)
  2. Buyers have to open an account (24%)
  3. Delivery options were too slow (19%)
  4. Excessively complex checkout process (18%)

While additional costs and delivery options are operational decisions, the second and fourth most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment largely fall to the e-commerce platform itself. For example, if your platform doesn’t allow users to sign in with an account they already have, such as a Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 account, they may be turned off by having to register from scratch. Unnecessarily complex checkout processes often fall to design flaws or issues with the underlying infrastructure, influenced by the e-commerce platform itself. The Baymard study also found that 12% of users gave site performance issues or crashes as the reason for abandoning their shopping carts.

An abandoned shopping cart is rarely just a temporary issue. Most customers will not buy from a seller that they had a poor experience with once. Many are also willing to pay more for a seamless user experience. In conclusion, a lousy e-commerce platform can cost your business a considerable amount of revenue, both directly and indirectly.

Why user experience should be your top priority

Financial decision-makers might not be involved with the actual implementation of e-commerce platforms, but they need to understand what they’re getting for their money. Choosing the right platform can make a massive difference in both customer acquisition and retention. For example, if you’re aiming for an average of $10,000 in sales per day, losing 24% of your would-be customers due to a lack of integration with third-party single sign-on (SSO) platforms equals an annual lost revenue of up to $876,000.

If nothing else, then that is an apparent reason not to make budgeting a top priority when signing off a deal with an e-commerce platform. Far more important is to focus on how a good solution can impact your bottom line. For example, suppose your e-commerce platform provides automated email reminders to nurture customers, integrated single sign-on, and top-level performance. In that case, it can mean a difference of millions of dollars of yearly revenue. A good e-commerce platform is an investment in the future of your business.

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Originally published September 30, 2021

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