Does it happen often that customers go through your perfectly planned funnel, click all the right boxes and buttons, and when they’re just about to checkout on your eCommerce website, they just leave? Well, this is the so-called shopping cart abandonment and it’s one of the things all online shop owners struggle to avoid. So you are not alone.
The phenomenon is very common, in fact, it happens so often that it has been estimated that a total of 88% of all shopping carts worldwide get left behind.
If you’re in the eCommerce industry, you probably already know this pain. Shopping cart abandonment is tricky to tackle and can cause immense losses in revenue, so it is a problem that should be addressed swiftly.
The thing to know about abandoned shopping carts, however, is that you cannot rescue them all. Sometimes people are just carelessly browsing, checking out trends and availability, with no intention of buying in the first place. And no matter what you do, nothing can make them grab their credit cards and start shopping.
This makes it even more important to be able to track and properly segment your audience, so you can target those with the highest potential of coming back and completing that order. You should try to fix and eliminate any hurdles for customers who really want to buy, but have left your store because of bad user experience or payment issues on your end.
So how to avoid shopping cart abandonment from happening? Here are some actionable steps you can take on your quest to win the battle against abandoned shopping carts, and how to grow revenue in the process.
1. Analyze Data and the Calculate Abandonment Rate
Before you begin optimizing, gather all the data you have and analyze it, so you can better assess your current performance and know where to begin. Acknowledge the good and the bad features of the shopping experience and identify any issues or blockers.
There are multiple precautions you can take to make the purchasing process on your eCommerce store flawless and easygoing. This way you will eliminate most of the reasons that cause customers to leave your website before they finish their purchase.
Confused? Here’s a handy visual to help you picture the formula:
Don’t be shocked by the results. Keep in mind that there are many reasons for shopping cart abandonment. And the most common one is that people are just browsing. It’s the online equivalent of window-shopping and it’s just as popular. People simply want to have a look around and save the items they like in the cart while they continue browsing your catalog. Maybe they want to compare prices, maybe they want to know your selection and your brand better. The reasons are countless.
Moreover, in order to eventually convert window-shoppers into customers, you need to make sure that you offer them a hassle-free and pleasant shopping experience.
However, if abandoned shopping carts are happening a little too often, maybe there are issues in your customer’s journey or website you are not aware of.
2. Optimize for a Quick and Simple Checkout
Your checkout process should be quick and simple. The more fields it consists of, the more reasons you give customers to become frustrated and change their minds.
Longer checkouts that spread out over multiple pages and that request too much information are time-consuming and can potentially present additional distractions. Moreover, if your pages are not optimized for fast loading, this can make for a very unpleasant customer experience.
On the other hand, including all fields and steps in just one page containing delivery details, shipping, and payment might be too overwhelming for the average user.
A good practice to optimize your funnel is implementing a 2-step checkout process.
Separating the contact details and payment information in two individual steps is good for several reasons:
- Compact view. If you put contact, shipping, and payment details in just one step, you risk losing the user, due to the many fields that have to be filled.
- Better structure. Dividing the checkout provides a more structured and clear process, where the user can be focused on the information required in each step.
- Less distractions. The checkout becomes less overwhelming and this can reduce mistakes in filling out info.
For example, on the first page, you can put the contact and billing details, such as name, email, and address. And the second one can include shipping and payment details.
Another benefit of a 2-step checkout process is that if the customer decides to leave after the first step, you still have their contact details and you can send them an email reminder for their incomplete purchase.
Also, another good feature is to include a progress bar showing the steps your customer needs to take to finalize the purchase. This makes the checkout more predictable and reduces stress.
3. Provide an Easy Website Navigation
A complicated or counterintuitive website menu can be confusing and discouraging. Make information easily available in as few clicks as possible.
For example, customers shouldn’t have to navigate through pages trying to find their shopping cart contents, or have to go back and forth when adding items. A simple overlay menu will make it easy to check the cart without leaving the page.
4. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Most people nowadays shop online through their phones. If your website is not optimized, browsing products and finding information can be frustrating and this will drive customers away.
Moreover, soon only the mobile version of websites will be eligible in Google’s search engine results. This means that for your products to be visible on the first page of a Google search, your website will have to be mobile-friendly.
5. Showcase Transparent Information
If you want your store to be trustworthy, you have to provide customers with as much information about your business as possible.
People can be cautious when they shop and with reason. After all, when shopping online, they’re sharing personal information such as credit card details, address, telephone number, and names. It’s only fair you do the same.
Go the extra mile and feature your business story, brand ethics, and staff bios. By making it evident that there are real people behind a business, a website becomes more relatable and trustworthy. Show the faces of your customer service team, so shoppers know who is responding to their emails and calls.
This will make it more likely that customers are willing to share their info and do business with you.
6. Feature Customer Reviews
Another way to make your store more trustworthy is to feature customer reviews and testimonials. You can add them both to product pages and on a dedicated brand reviews page.
When people are considering whether to buy a product or not, positive affirmation about the product’s qualities and usefulness can turn the scales in your favor. Be honest, however, and feature all reviews, not only the positive ones. There are many customer review pages out there and if there are considerable fluctuations between the feedback on your website and third-party information, this might make customers reconsider your truthfulness and take their business elsewhere.
7. Be Clear About Costs and Taxes
This one is very important. Unexpected costs are one of the main reasons customers leave online stores at checkout.
Not being able to find clear details about shipping costs, delivery times and options, and returns can make a customer very frustrated. Make the information visible and easy to access in the main navigation menu and the footer of every page, so there is no place left for confusion.
The same goes for any additional taxes and costs that might apply. Unexpected fees can be a really unpleasant surprise at checkout. All costs applicable to both local and international customers should be easily available and clearly comprehensible.
8. Offer a Variety of Shipping and Delivery Options
Consider working with a number of delivery companies to provide more than one shipping option.
For example, next-day delivery might seem unreasonably expensive to some customers, but it can be an emergency savior to others. Choosing free shipping with a longer delivery time might be obsolete to some, but a good deal to the rest.
Having options to explore can be a game-changer and opens doors to a broader audience of customers.
9. Set a Reasonable Free Shipping Threshold
Speaking of shipping, if you can afford it, by all means, offer free shipping. Few can resist the offer and it is the most common turning point in shopping cart abandonment.
However, if you can’t provide free shipping on all of your items, at least consider a reasonably set free shipping threshold. For example, if the average price of your products is $5, offering free shipping on purchases above $100 is unreasonable, because it is unlikely a regular customer will buy 20 items. But if you set the bar at, let’s say 25 dollars, they might even be tempted to buy one or two extra items to get the free shipping.
This can also increase sales of low-cost impulse buys, as it is not uncommon for people to add items they were not initially intending to buy just to reach the free shipping threshold.
10. Clear Return Policy
One of the inconveniences of online shopping is that you don’t really know what you are getting until it is delivered to your door and you open the box. This applies especially to shoes and clothes.
Knowing that they have the option to return the product, and on what conditions can set a customer’s mind at ease.
To avoid confusion and disappointment, make your returning policy reasonable, comprehensible, and easily accessible.
11. Offer a Variety of Payment Options
As with the shipping and delivery options, this is worth the investment. Many people have a preferred online payment method and if they see it featured on your website, this might make them more inclined to purchase from you.
This goes especially for first-time customers on a website. There is always a degree of uncertainty for people when they have to share their credit card info with an unfamiliar website. There are many frauds out there and a website’s seemingly good looks are not a guarantee of trustworthiness.
That’s why a lot of people feel safer when they know that a trustworthy third-party platform can protect their interests in case claims with dishonest vendors.
Offering a PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, or a different popular digital payment system option will make it less likely for distrusting customers to leave.
Also, in many parts of the world, cash-on-delivery is still the preferred payment option.
Consider your target market, research your customers’ payment habits and let them guide your decisions.
12. Provide a Guest Checkout Option
Not every customer has the time or desire to make an account on your website. Especially if they want to make a quick buy on the go.
Providing a guest checkout option will make your website more attractive to people who want to shop with no strings attached. It will also make it less likely they’ll leave before finishing their purchase and this will save you revenue losses from shopping cart abandonment.
The only problem here is that you will not list them as leads, and will not have their consent to send them updates beyond the purchase. But there’s a work-around that will keep you both happy.
Consider offering a one-click registration at checkout, or at least a subscription check-box. Make sure to inform customers of the benefits of making an account, such as special discounts and limited offers (if you have any, of course). You can also invite them to make an account in the “thank you for the purchase” email or the order confirmation email.
This way customers are saved extra time and, if they are willing to share it, you still obtain their information.
13. Offer Live Chat and Support
Being available to answer questions and help customers with decisions will ensure that they don’t leave simply because they can’t find the information they need.
Customers might want to learn more about product details and availability, shipping costs, and delivery. They might also have all kinds of other questions that if left unanswered can make them reconsider their purchase.
If you can spare resources for live support, consider a chatbot option. A lot of customers shop after working hours and making yourself available 24/7 will increase your conversions.
14. Make Feedback Surveys
If you are not sure what makes your customers leave your site mid-purchase, you can simply ask them.
Make surveys to get customer feedback and learn why they abandoned their shopping cart. Once you’ve processed the data you will be able to better recognize issues and weak points. You will also get to know your customers better.
Shopping cart abandonment is not a problem that is to be underestimated. Addressing it and analyzing the results can help you learn a lot about your customers and their online spending habits.
However, there are many reasons why people abandon their shopping carts, and sometimes there is nothing a business can do about it. Thankfully though, by focusing on providing a smooth and pleasant shopping experience with as little friction as possible, you can often prevent deliberate cart abandonment.
By taking the right precautions, you’ll be surprised at the positive effects they will have on your revenue and brand presence.