Now that the holiday shopping season is here, customers have every reason to go through with an online purchase – at least between now and the end of the year. Yet many shopping carts will sit abandoned, leaving site managers to wonder why. Most search marketing efforts focus on getting people to a site, but they don’t address the best practices for getting users to stay on a site. With the holidays in full swing and a New Year upon us, now is a great time to explore the relationship between shopping cart abandonment and search.

Before we get started, do keep in mind that digital shopping carts are more like a holding bin for items. Just because a customer places items in their cart does not mean that they have strong intentions of buying them. On many sites, there is simply no other way to keep track of items customers are interested in. When looking at your customers’ carts, don’t necessarily assume that they are buying the products elsewhere.

Nevertheless, improving your cart abandonment rate is to your benefit, so here are some tips that will help in the future.

Help Customers Learn About the Products

Buyers rarely come to a site and buy something in one session. Instead, they take their time reviewing different products and analyzing their features and benefits. This is how a single customer will end up with several carts on multiple sites. As they find products that interest them, they add them to their cart.

To help customers in this phase of the buying process, consider a different form of search tools that highlight the characteristics of your products. The better search features you offer, the more the shopper can do on your site and find items that fit their needs. As the shopper begins to narrow down their selection, they will remove unwanted items from the cart.

Create a Separate Holding Bin for Items of Interest

Create a separate holding bin specifically for items that the shopper is interested in but not yet ready to buy, like a Wish List. Also give the option for the customer to add notes and perhaps even links to other products on other sites so that they can comparison shop. This allows you to gain valuable insight as to what products your customers find interesting. Also, if you do lose a customer, you’ll have a better understanding as to why, and you can use this information to improve your products and services going forward.

The best thing to take away from this is to look at the shopping experience as a whole rather than focusing specifically on buying behavior. By incorporating an on-site search tool and creating a Wish List for special items, you’re supporting shopping behaviors, and this is more likely to reduce shopping cart abandonment.