Proven Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

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A fellow digital marketer recently asked me how to reduce shopping cart abandonment. On her site, over 60% of people who placed items in their shopping cart leave before completing their purchase.

It’s still better than the worldwide average abandonment rate of about 70% worldwide, and over 85% for mobile (source).

Taking comfort with cart abandonment statistics is no way to run a business. It would certainly be an ugly sight if 18 out of 20 customers in line at a grocery store suddenly left their carts and walked out. Even if the place wasn’t on fire, the owner would certainly wonder what was going on!

Should you panic if over 60% of customers leave their carts behind online? No. Should you be concerned? Absolutely! Think of all the sales you lose because of the potential flaws in your sales funnel, problems with checkout and other reasons people leave.

Why Do People Abandon Their E-Carts?

Small businesses shouldn’t settle for high abandonment rates. Use the statistical data for benchmarking only. If an industry average exists, it doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. By taking the proper steps and doing a lot of A/B split testing on your product pages, you’ll find sure ways to encourage more people to cross the threshold.

In the meantime, here are the main reasons people abandon their online cart:

They’re just browsing.

Most research will tell you that people with no real intent to buy only comprise a minority among those who leave their carts. Some pick items just for the heck of it. Others want to check what it would cost them if they buy from you.

Shipping is too expensive.

According to Baymard, high shipping costs is the#1 reason why shoppers abandon their carts. Maybe blame Amazon with their free shipping. Whatever the case, when the cost is higher than expected, customers don’t think twice to cancel. Have you shopped online and found out that the shipping cost and other fees being tacked on just no longer make it worth purchasing?

They don’t fully trust the site.

When personal information like credit card details is asked, about 20% of customers hesitate and eventually exit sites. You can’t blame them. Hackers are rampant everywhere online, and if you avoid them you can still get caught with scams.

The checkout process is tedious.

Asking customers to fill out forms that require details that are unnecessary for checkout is a sure way to drive them away. Questions like, “How did you learn of our product?” are more suited for surveys instead. Having to scroll down or open more pages on your site to complete a purchase will definitely drive people away.

Your website is a mess.

Unresponsive buttons, glitches and slow loading times are a few of the factors that deter customers from completing their purchases. One of Google’s newer ranking factors is a satisfying user experience with fast response times.   

You aren’t optimized for mobile devices.

The abandonment rate on mobile phones is near 85% compared to 70% on desktops. Over 50% of online retail purchases is now made via a mobile device, dragging average cart abandonment trending upwards.

There is a need to create an account.

This may be too much for a customer who will only buy a single item that may last for years. Next to shipping costs, this is one of the main reasons for cart abandonment.

Too few payment options.

Some online businesses will not accept Amex or PayPal. Think of the lost sales if you only favor one credit card option.      

How to Reduce Your Cart Abandonment

Fortunately, there are a lot of strategies and techniques to reduce people from leaving your store with items in their cart. It’s certainly not a hopeless situation! Here are several we’ve tested and use successfully to drastically improve our shopping cart experience and lower abandoned carts.

Offer delivery options with actual costs.

Let’s start with the #1 reason customers are concerned about. Free shipping isn’t an option for all businesses. Even giants like Amazon only offer it above a certain price point or membership in Amazon Prime.

Instead of providing one shipping option, present your customers with at least three. Again, you can do it like Amazon. They have the same day (if possible), next day (or three), and standard shipping (which is free above a certain amount, such as $35).

As well, offer free shipping as a marketing item. Right on the home page, let your customers know that shipping is free above a certain price point. This manages expectations, and as a bonus will likely entice them to buy more to make enough to receive free shipping.

Secure your site.

This is a no-brainer. Your URL must begin with secure HTTPS. More customers are tech-savvy now, and so they check if your website is safe. Having an SSL certificate doesn’t make your webpages 100% hack-proof. However, it’s evidence that you care about your users’ online security. As well, modern browsers will warn users about unsecure sites. If they receive this warning at your site, they will very quickly click away.

What trust badges aside from SSL do you have on your site now? These usually come with the words “verified” or “secure.” Having one or more lets users know you work with a security provider. Make sure your badges are legitimate. Users click them to see if these are authentic.   

Also, have a privacy policy that tells customers how their information will be used and protected. Lastly, let people know that you comply with both local and international laws with your privacy policy and terms & conditions pages.

All ecom platforms will have security installed. If you are self-hosted (for instance, using WooCommerce), they will have documentation on how to secure your website. Usually your web host will provide this.

Streamline your customer’s journey.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Always keep this in mind when you’re tweaking your sales funnel. I suggest you use Amazon as a guide. They continue to make shopping effortless for customers. Without having to log in, you can see at a glance the availability of your desired product and the total costs involved. Navigating to checkout is simple and the required information is kept to a minimum.

Showing the steps involved in checkout will erase any worry about spending more time than necessary. Once customers begin the process, they’re more likely to finish it because they’re aware of how many steps are left. Use a progress bar to show proof that your customers are getting closer to the finish line. On many sites, a check mark appears next to a completed step.   

Provide proof you are a real business.

The first things that come to mind are reviews from experts, influencers and users. Posting videos of testimonials on your website is also very effective. Make sure you open a Google My Business account, which adds a lot of credibility to your business.

If you’re new, customers can check your location with this tool to verify you’re real. Of course, having an office address isn’t proof you’re legitimate, but it’s an extra step that scammers won’t bother with. If you are strictly online, having a detailed About Us page, contact info (including a phone number), privacy policy and terms all inspire confidence in your business.

New businesses that sell physical items will often set up kiosks in their area. They participate in trade fairs or exhibits. Photos of these events can also be used as proof.

If your selling digital products, offer free-trials to inspire confidence in your brand. Ask for feedback at the end of the trial period. I’ve asked friends for honest reviews and shares on social media.

Have a clear return and exchange policy.

Get rid of the fine print. State your money-back guarantees in as few words as possible. An image of your product isn’t a substitute for the real thing. Unless a customer has seen or tried it, they’re at a disadvantage. Giving them 30 to 90 days to make a return is a good incentive for them to purchase your product.

Whether it’s an exchange or return, provide free shipping. Maybe charge a re-stocking fee to prevent abuse, which is especially prevalent in the garment industry.

Send e-mails to recover potential customers.

We’ve increased our sales by over 20% on some of our sites simply by sending a well-written email reminder to those who have entered their email address but ended up not buying. It should be sent a few hours to up to a day after they leave your website. We’ve suggested MailChimp in several of our articles before, or Klaviyo for more powerful abandoned cart email tools.

Another trick to boost sales is to include a discount offer in your e-mails. Offer an extra 10% off if they finish their purchase, free shipping, or some other deal to get them back to your site and complete the process.

Add more payment options.

Amazon India allows customers to pay cash on delivery. The same is true with other online platforms like Shopee (Singapore). If you have local customers, consider adding COD as an option. Aside from PayPal, add Apple Pay, WePay and Google Pay if you can. Also, there are newer alternatives that are competing against traditional payment methods. I suggest doing market research to see if your target audience may have a preferred, less traditional payment method. Bitcoin, anyone?

Offer a discount for a limited time.

Give discounts when customers leave without buying. Use pop-ups or automatically direct them to landing pages. The discount should have an expiry date. This might entice your fence-sitters. They might pause for a second and return to your site immediately. Include a button to make it easy for them. 

Don’t assume, but ask why.

Exit pop-ups have a lot of uses and are created most of the time to gather e-mail addresses. These can also increase conversions by making customers stay on your site longer. Make one for people who exit without completing their purchase.

A pop-up can remind them they forgot about their cart if they mistakenly clicked exit. If they’re leaving intentionally, a pop-up can ask why they changed their minds. Craft your question so it’s polite and friendly. Add a statement that their answers will help your business serve customers better.

It’s the little things that count!

  • Make sure your checkout button is visible and prominent.
  • Let customers know when you have a limited supply of a product. Include a product count in your description.
  • Opening an account on your website should only be voluntary unless you can provide valuable benefits.
  • Provide an option to chat with a customer service representative while customers are shopping.
  • If you have just opened up an ecommerce store, always do a test purchase. Watch your friends do purchases and note any frustrations they may have in the process, which you can correct.
  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and performs well on mobile devices.

If you find your cart abandonment rate uncomfortably high, try out some or all of these optimization suggestions. Even if you are satisfied with your sales, optimize further anyway! One extra sale a day means 365 more above and beyond what you usually get.

Do you have an ecommerce business? What have you done to reduce your cart abandonment? Comment below!  

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