We recently came across a great series from Inc. Magazine called 25 Ways to Jumpstart Your Business. While the whole series is definitely worth reading, we wanted to take the time to highlight our favorite listings, and chat about how we use the concepts at Roundpeg, and how you can incorporate it into your small business.

When I was in high school, I briefly worked at my local grocery store. It wasn’t uncommon to find packages of ground beef discarded in the paper products aisle, or bananas abandoned with the cheese. Maybe the customer realized  they could get a better deal at another store. Or maybe they just decided they didn’t want hamburgers after all. Whatever the reason, the items sat there, unwanted and unpurchased.

While this happens in the real world quite frequently, it’s an epidemic in e-commerce. 40% of online shoppers looking for consumer goods, and a whopping 58% of people shopping for services abandon their purchases once the goods are already in their virtual shopping carts.

These are huge losses which can be remedied with fairly little effort. First, measure your abandonment. Use a program like Google Analytics to measure when people flee your site. Do they simply put items in their shopping cart and then surf away, or have they already started the checkout process when they leave?

Once you’ve pinpointed where the problem lies, you can start to fix it. Maybe you’re asking for too much personal information–do you really need them to register or give you their cell phone number? Ask for only what you absolutely require, or you risk scaring customers off. Another major problem which causes buyers to leave is unexpected high shipping costs. If possible, offer free shipping. If that’s not feasible, be up front about the costs.

Finally, it’s okay to follow up if someone has abandoned their order. But don’t try another sales pitch–inquire about technical issues or other problems which the buyer may have encountered. Send the email a few minutes after the aborted sale–don’t be a stalker–but  at least try to find out what happened.

Follow these steps, and see if you don’t turn more window shoppers into satisfied customers