Eliminating sales friction is more than just landing a sale. It's also about growing a loyal customer base.
You’ve seen an uptick in abandoned carts lately, and it’s not just about inflation or rising prices. Then your team dug a little deeper only to find out your inventory management system glitched and was showing that you didn’t have entire categories of products in stock when people went to checkout.
But, in reality, you have a warehouse full of stuff waiting to be sold. The problem started occurring two weeks ago. After you sigh frustratedly, a fix occurs two hours later. Then your system is back to normal. How many sales did you lose in that two-week period? More importantly, how many of those customers would have come back for a second sale?
The problem of sales friction goes beyond abandoned carts and frantic, automated emails going out to customers wondering why they left a $200 purchase without going through the final steps. Read on to learn more about sales friction.
What is sales friction?
Sales friction occurs when customers drop out at some point on the path to purchase. Friction can happen because of slow load times on your website, a confusing shopping cart system, too many steps from filling the shopping cart to paying for it, or even a lack of information about a product before putting it in a cart.
Sales friction can happen in brick-and-mortar stores, too. Not being able to find the right product on the shelf, lack of customer service, or not offering cashless (and contactless) payments, such as those from PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, can all lead to fewer sales.
How sales friction hurts online sales
Potential customers will abandon a shopping cart for a variety of reasons. A Capterra survey found that 82% of consumers have decided against an online purchase because the account registration process was too complicated. The research also found that you have four minutes or less before most consumers (66%) start to get impatient with the online checkout process.
Consumers want their shopping experience to be effortless. They want to be able to find everything they need in one place to make a purchase without having to hunt everywhere on the website to find something.
Don’t make it easier for customers to abandon a cart. Because if they can’t find what they want, quickly, from your store, they’ll go to a competitor.
How to make your customers’ shopping experience easier
From product descriptions and “Add to Cart” buttons to varied payment options and discount codes, you could increase sales if vital information is easy to locate on one page. Here are some specific ways to better your customers’ shopping experience:
Offer mobile payments. Nearly one-third of retailers cite mobile payments as one of the biggest sales drivers[*]. Out of 700 retailers surveyed, two-thirds had implemented some kind of mobile payments before or during 2021. Customers love mobile payments because they are fast, easy, and contactless.
Implement a contactless pay system. Contactless pay systems are a great way to streamline checkout for in-person shopping. For example, when busy parents have many items in a cart and they’re maneuvering kids around as well, contactless payments with mobile devices are crucial for helping them get through the checkout process quickly.
Improve the user experience. Make your online shopping portal streamlined and simple. Having a one-stop place represents a vital component of reducing sales friction. These things can get in the way of cart fulfillment:
- Unreasonable registration prompts at checkout
- Annoying pop-ups announcing sales on every screen of the shopping experience
- Lack of information about products or services
- Unpopular and lengthy forms asking for information
- Unsecure or unrecognizable payment options
- Lack of identifiable conversion points
- No dedicated shopping app
You don’t want to give your customers an excuse to go somewhere else. Reducing sales friction and making their shopping experience easier brings them back again because shoppers return to brands they trust.
How to reduce sales friction now
Some sales friction is inevitable at some point. But you can take steps to reduce it. Software tools can help your website become more streamlined and easier to manage as your e-commerce business grows.
- Shopping cart software makes it easier for your shoppers to add items to a cart and then purchase those items later.
- Knowledge base software showcases FAQs that customers want answers to.
- Inventory management software is vital for showing accurate numbers to your shoppers.
- CRM software lets you track customer purchases and then reach out to your customers with offers.
- With cybersecurity threats looming larger every year, e-commerce and even in-store apps must use secure payment methods that are cost-effective and trustworthy.
* The Capterra Retail SMB Comeback Survey 2021 was conducted in June 2021. We surveyed 703 retail owners and managers. Respondents were screened for full-time employment at small and midsize retailers. We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood the meaning and the topic at hand.