A couple of things too look at:
1) when i added an item to the shopping cart, I had no idea one was added -- it happened so fast, I had no indication that the item was added, so I added it a few more times. When I finally went to check out, I realized I had like 5 items in there for the same product. Consider getting something there that at least allows someone to know their item was successfully added to the cart.
2) When I do go checkout, I keep getting the following message popup on my screen: "This page contains both secure and non secure items. Do you want to display the non secure items?" I didn`t read the whole thing initially, I assumed it was asking if I wanted to continue, at which point I selected `no`. But after typing it here, I realized that it asked if I wanted to display the non-secure items". Work on getting your images added on the secure side so that message won`t pop-up -- people are paranoid and that could be a reason some are abandoning the process.
3) Also at check-out, I`m presented with the option of a) creating a new account, b) use my existing acct, or c) just place the order.
I`d probably make c) the first option --- some people may not read all the options and bounce from the site altogether. My personal petpeeve is having to create an acct with a site where it`s not necessary --- I can see creating an acct for NetFlix, Music Download sites, and even Walmart or Circuit City --- but from a small company who most people have never heard of??? I personally don`t sign-up with those sites because I don`t like the idea that I have to relinquish all my personal data to someone I don`t know --- it`s all in the perception --- even though when I place an order elsewhere, that person still haves all my data...but by creating an acct, it reinforces the thought in my head that this guy (or lady) is going to store all my data on their site and I don`t like that....it`s a mind game
I would consider looking into that, or at least, move that option to the top so they can go right too it and checkout.
4) Also, I just went thru the entire checkout process, and every single time I fill something out on the order form, I keep getting the same message everytime i get ready to click thru to the next screeen: "This page contains both secure and non secure items. Do you want to display the non secure items?" And that was getting very annoying.
5) Finally, when I do get to the part to process payment, the only option I`m left with is Paypal or a Check Payment option. Now, I`m almost willing to bet that the bulk of your people are abandoning because of this. Yes, paypal is good and all, but everybody doesn`t use paypal and they won`t start using it because it`s the only option they have at your site.
Now you`ll probably get varying opinions on this, but in MY opinion, paypal is almost as bad as NOT being able to accept credit cards. Remember when everyone use to say "If you`re not able to accept credit cards on the net, then your dead". Well, I`m willing to go out on the limb and say that if paypal is your only payment option, then you`re dead.
Paypal is good for certain things (like ebay), but if you`re going to be an online merchant selling products and services via a web site, then you gotta get a real merchant acct and process your orders using that.
I know many people always use the excuse that they`re just getting started and that paypal is their only option until they get some funds built up --- and that`s fine. But if you are running a business and expect to see some results, then you`ll need a merchant acct. If a customer picked up the phone and placed an order with you right now, you can`t even process the order.
I`ve seen clients sales increase 300% simply by adding a real merchant acct to the equation, and nothing else. 300% overnight --- simply because they had another payment option than paypal.
Paypal is fine, but if you expect to do commerce with a web site, people should be able to pay freely. I hate paypal, I`ve had nothing but problems with those guys and vowed I`d never use them --- there is an entire community of people who hate paypal -- paypalsucks.com -- thousands of visits daily by thousands of people.
Again...paypal has it`s place -- but if a legitimate business can`t afford to get a merchant account, then they shouldn`t be in business (and I`m not talking about you) --- if you`re starting out -- fine. But after you`ve proven that your site can generate money and make sales, then it`s time to step up your game.
6) Also, while I kept getting those "security" messages, it dawned on me that there were no security certificates on the site --- which made me even more curious....
7) Also, one little tip that will help increase response a little is to add your phone number on the site (if you`re able too). What you`ll find is that the vast majority of your orders will come thru the net (but people do check just to see if there is a number (without ever calling), but want to ensure that if there is a problem, they could at least call --- you`ll be surprised by how many extra sells you`ll get by having a phone number -- it`s just one of those reassurance things.
8) Also, is there a way you could keep your domain name in the browser after a person clicks one of your categories and view your product? It looks like when I click on an item to view it, I`m no longer on your domain name? This makes people a little suspicious too (since u have no number and no other payment options, and i`m on someone else`s site). Your site is too beautiful for these issues.
You have a beautiful design and great products from what I can see. The issues above should be worked on because most are major concerns for many people. You`re off to a great start, but keep making improvments. THere is a big market out there for your products/services and if you keep moving foward you shouldn`t have any problems being successful.
I wish you well in your venture....you`re way ahead of many people just for the fact that you are monitoring your site and are aware of the abandonment issues--- many people don`t even look into it -- but keep investigating and improving and you`ll do very well.
Sorry for the long chat
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I think a lot of abandoned carts happen just because the total costs are not determined any other way. Most web savvy visitors know one way to get the total costs including shipping, handling or anything is to act like you are buying it and abandon the cart before you close the deal. Many people will do this several times before they actually make the purchase. This is just human nature. Your competitors will do this too. I agree with all that has been said here but make sure you realize you will never get rid of this entire problem just because you are dealing with people. I have found the more secure they are about closing the deal the less chance there is for them to live the cart without closing the sale. So anything you can do to elevate this feeling the better the chances of making the sale.
Also, if you are interested I have created a free paper at http://www.businessshipper.com that addresses how shipping costs can cause shopping cart abandonment. It also makes some suggestion on how do deal with the problem. I noticed you seem to be doing something with shipping but I could not figure out exactly what was going on. If you are offering free shipping at a certain purchase amount you need to make this fact stand out a little more. It can help you sell more product.
Good luck and I hope my two cents helps out!