An Israeli cure for web checkout abandonment

A made-in-Israel solution is helping online retailers from losing customers at the final online payment stage

BlueSnap screenshot
BlueSnap screenshot

For a customer to spend a half hour or more shopping at an online site and filling up their cart with merchandise, only to walk away at the last minute – right before they enter their credit card information — means that something is very wrong with the payment process, according to Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO of Boston-based BlueSnap.

It’s one of the biggest problems in online retail, said Dangelmaier – and it’s thanks to Israeli technology that there is now a solution.

“Many companies work to solve shopping cart abandonment, where customers leave a site without moving forward to the final stage, which is payment,” Dangelmaier said. “But checkout abandonment, the problem we help solve, is even worse, because it means that you just lost a customer who was ready and willing to pay – because of poor design or interface.”

That, said Dangelmaier, is a “heartbreaker,” because the frustration customers feel from being unable to work with a site they were committed to buying from is likely to keep them away in the future. Which is why using BlueSnap’s new Checkout Conversion Calculator is a must for online retailers, said Dangelmaier.

“A survey we did of 650 US retailers — who represent nearly 75% of all US eCommerce spending – shows that retailers are losing as much as 42% of sales due to checkout friction,” he said.

Ralph Dangelmaier (Courtesy)
Ralph Dangelmaier (Courtesy)

“Checkout friction” is a broad term that covers anything that could go wrong on the payment page: slow-loading pages, inexplicable credit card rejection, a difficulty understanding the language of the site, unclear shipping information, or even a typo on the page (indicating that consumers might see the site as not being trustworthy, according to BlueSnap’s research). All these conspire to leave retailers hanging, and customers fuming at the time lost shopping but not accomplishing their goal of actually buying.

The BlueSnap calculator follows the methodology introduced in the Checkout Conversion Index (CCI), the first online tool merchants can use to measure their vulnerability to checkout abandonment.

“Our tools consist of packages retailers can install to automatically fix the problems they have and ensure they will not face the wrath of customers,” Dangelmaier said. “For example, we check to make sure they are accepting international credit cards if they are selling abroad, that the text in a foreign language is correct, that the currency conversions are correct, etc.”

It’s the million and one little things that retailers might have missed that are losing them sales, but with BlueSnap’s system, added Dangelmaier, those bases are covered, with checkout abandonment rates falling by as much as 50% with the system.

The BlueSnap system – and the entire concept of preventing checkout abandonment – was invented in Israel by a company called Plimus, bought out two years ago by BlueSnap.

“Our R&D center remains in Israel, where we have 70 employees. We work with some of the biggest companies in the world – Fedex, Autodesk, Symantec, and many others – but we want to increase our presence in Israel,” Dangelmaier said.

BlueSnap is looking for clients wherever it can get them, but the appeal to Israeli companies is more than just business.

“This is one of the cool technologies that is revolutionizing online retail and it was invented in Israel, but not too many Israelis are aware of that,” said Dangelmaier. “We’re well-known in the US, but not many in Israel know the story. That’s the opposite of what it should be, and we want Israelis to know they have another technology they can be very proud of.”

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