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12 Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Retailers with online businesses focus a lot on inbound marketing when it comes to drumming up customers. But just because someone makes it to your website doesn’t mean they’re going to complete a transaction. 

There are plenty of things that can derail an online sale, and one of the biggest factors that can tank your conversion rates is shopping cart abandonment.

What is shopping cart abandonment?

Let’s face it—online shopping is fun. You can scroll through a website and fill your shopping cart with everything you think you might want. But you haven’t committed to purchasing anything, so your credit card is still good with it.

But as an entrepreneur trying to make sales, it’s not an ideal scenario. Shopping cart abandonment is when shoppers start the checkout process (adding a single item to a cart counts) but never complete the transaction. 

It’s a big problem in the online retail world, regardless of if you’re running your own online store or selling through a third-party site like eBay

Why do online shoppers abandon their carts?

Online retailers have a disadvantage to in-person retailers when finalizing the sale. There’s no grabbing the coat, shoes and car keys to make it to the store. Nor is there any waiting in line or facing down almost empty shelves to get what you want. Which means it’s incredibly easy to abandon the process at any time. 

There are countless reasons for cart abandonmentfrom getting distracted to customers simply changing their mind. But these are some of the most common reasons for abandoning an online cart:

  • Lack of trust They’re not entirely sure if your store is a scam or not.
  • High shipping costs Customers don’t really want to pay additional costs for shipping.
  • Time-consuming or complicated checkout process Short and sweet is the name of the internet shopping game.
  • Low buying intent They’re window shopping but don’t necessarily intend to buy. 
  • Technical problems They happen and they’re frustrating for customers.
  • Price is too high It’s really easy to comparison shop on the web.
  • Lack of payment options Not every online shopper wants to pay with PayPal. 

How to calculate shopping cart abandonment rates

Reducing cart abandonment is important, but you need to know your shopping cart abandonment rates to tell if your reduction practices are actually working.

Before you calculate your store’s cart abandonment rates, you need to first calculate your cart conversion rate — the rate of completed transactions. To get this rate, you want to divide the number of completed sales by the total number of carts open, then multiply the answer by 100. So, if you have 25 completed purchases and a total of 65 carts, open your conversion rate calculation looks like this:

(25 ÷ 65) x 100 = 38.46%

Then, with your conversion rate in hand, calculating the cart abandonment rate is simple. You want to subtract the cart conversion rate from the number one. For example:

1 – 38.46% = 61.45%

Once you know your number, you’re ready to start making moves towards reducing it and getting yourself more paying customers. 

How to reduce shopping cart abandonment

With an understanding of what shopping cart abandonment is and the tools to figure out yours, it’s time to discuss some tactics for reducing your shopping cart abandonment and getting more paying customers. Here are 12 ways you can do that:

1. Use exit-intent pop-ups

Exit-intent pop-ups are usually full screen or pop-up “warnings” that appear right before someone exits the page asking the visitor if they’re sure they want to leave. 

Now, you might be of the opinion that pop-ups are annoying, but what you should know is they work. Fastrack recovers 53 per cent of abandoning visitors with their exit-intent pop-ups, and they’re not the only ones.

This strategy is particularly good for online retail stores that see a lot of virtual window shoppers. Adding a simple “Are you sure?” message with a clear call to action before someone checks out could be key to securing paying customers.   

Well-built exit-intent pop-ups have a clear call to action and a value proposition. You could further offer:

  • Short-term discount codes (that will expire in the next few minutes)
  • Content upgrade
  • Related items that might pique their interest

2. Send cart abandonment emails

Sometimes shoppers simply get distracted, they fill up a cart with the intent to purchase but never go through with it, or they’re saving their items for later. And all of these scenarios could possibly be turned into sales by sending cart abandonment emails. 

Sending a “Did you forget something?” or “Grab these before they’re gone!” email to someone who’s filled up a shopping cart in your online store but hasn’t finalized their purchase has a pretty high chance of turning into an actual sale. 

Cart abandonment emails have more than a 10 per cent chance of bringing customers back to you. If you follow up with additional emails, you might be able to get even more users back. Research shows that a sequence of three abandon cart emails can bring in 69 per cent more revenue than simply sending one.

3. Offer free shipping

Most online shoppers have spent time excitedly filling up a virtual cart and moving through the checkout process, only to be blindsided with shipping costs that add a hefty amount to purchase price and cause them to abandon their cards. 

Honestly, no one likes to pay for shipping—most shoppers would rather add another item or two into the cart to get free shipping. 

Luckily, you can use this to your advantage by offering free shipping. Most online retailers can’t (or simply don’t want to) afford to offer free shipping on every single purchase. But a higher cart price could make free shipping worth it. 

You can reduce these unexpected costs on your customer’s bills by offering free shipping after a certain amount—$50 and $100 are popular price points that online stores use. It’s not hard for a customer to justify tacking on a quick $10 item if the bill total is $42, and they get free shipping at $50. 

4. Give incentives based on the cart total

Offering a coupon code for a discount to someone who’s about to exit your website without making a purchase is one thing, but what about giving someone an incentive if their cart has reached a certain level? 

This tactic is akin to offering free shipping after a particular dollar amount but uses the cart total to offer an additional something to help seal the deal. When a customer reaches a certain dollar amount, you can add an additional incentive (like 10 per cent off or a free tote bag) to help push them over that purchasing edge. 

5. Provide multiple payment options

Not every customer wants to pay with PayPal. The online space has a ton of different payment options, and if you’re offering only one to your customers, you’re probably losing out on sales. 

Online shoppers today expect to pay how they want to, and are used to having the option of paying via digital wallets, credit cards, through familiar systems, and even with direct bank transfers. 

Do some research and figure out how your customers like to pay, then double check that the payment options also work for you. Each payment method will have its own cost associated with it, so take those into account when offering multiple payment solutions. 

6. Use your transaction forms to build trust

Lack of trust is another big reason why purchases aren’t completed. The internet is a big place and sadly, it’s not that hard to make a scam site seem legitimate these days. So, naturally, buyers are sceptical about paying money and giving away their personal information to a website they’re not familiar with. 

Luckily, there are specific verification badges that are made just for scenarios like this that can be added to your site. Security badges from familiar companies, like VeriSign Secured or Norton Secured, placed in a prominent position, can help a customer easily identify that you’re trustworthy.  

The checkout process can also be a great place to drop other kinds of trust-building material such as social proof and information on your return policiesso customers know what they’re getting themselves into.

7. Simplify your entire checkout process

The ideal checkout process takes the least amount of input from your customer, while still providing you with all the information you need. If your checkout process is too long, chances are you’re seeing shoppers jump ship halfway through. 

While you need to check all the legal and financial boxes, you don’t want your customers to have a poor user experience while visiting your ecommerce site. So, get rid of unnecessary steps, combine where you can, and consider adding a progress indicator somewhere on the page. With a progress bar customers can see how close they are to finalizing the sale.

8. Make your store mobile friendly

Shopping from your phone is popular. Mobile shopping is on the rise and as of 2019, 33 per cent of ecommerce purchases in Canada were made from smartphones. And that number is going up. So having a mobile-friendly website is key.

But a mobile-friendly store doesn’t simply mean your customers can surf through your products on their phone. They want to be able to seal the deal and complete their transaction from them as well. 

It’s inconvenient to fill up your cart while online shopping on-the-go only to find out you need to stop and open your laptop. Make sure that it’s as easy as possible for your customers to shop the way they want to. 

9. Include images of products throughout the checkout process

Chances are your customers won’t forget what they’re purchasing in the time it takes them to complete their checkout (if they are, your process is way too long), but it doesn’t hurt to remind them either.

Having thumbnails of the products in their cart displayed throughout the checkout process can help reassure customers they’ve loaded the right things into their cart, and keep them excited throughout the transaction. It’s akin to holding your items while you wait in line at a physical store.

10. Allow customers to save their online shopping carts

Maybe it’s Wednesday night, and a customer is loading up their cart in anticipation of being able to make the transaction on Friday when the paycheck rolls in. Or they can’t quite figure out which colour—yellow or blue—fits the room better and they want to take longer to decide. 

As nice as it would be to make the sale immediately, a saved cart is not necessarily a lost one. Which is why allowing customers to save their carts can have a positive effect on your shopping cart abandonment figures. You can also remind shoppers about their pending items with personalized abandoned cart emails. 

11. Offer a guest checkout option

Making users sign into your site in order to complete a transaction can be a deterrent for new online customers. When it comes to repeat business, it’s nice to have them sign up for an account. But to “repeat” the sale, you need it to go through the first time. 

A guest checkout option can be a great way to ensure you aren’t excluding potential customers and losing sales. If you’re concerned about not being able to collect important information like an email address, you can prompt customers to save their information or create an account at the end of the transaction.   

12. Optimize your page load times

Internet users can be a little impatient, and waiting for your check out pages to load is not on the top of their to-do list (it’s really not on their list at all!). You have mere seconds for your pages to load, otherwise, your visitors might go elsewhere.

If you want more transactions to be completed, take a look at how long it takes for the different pages in your checkout process to load. If you find any lags along the way, start optimizing your checkout flow so your visitors have a fast, frustration-free process.

Closing the abandoned cart rate gap

While there is no one single method that will solve all of your shopping cart abandonment issues, a combination of the above best practices might just help you turn a prospect into a happy customer. Not every tip on the list is going to be right for your online store, so it’s important that you put some real thought into what works best for you.

If you’re brand new to the eCommerce world and are considering opening your own online business, Ownr is there to help you get your next great idea off the ground!

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