Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment affects eCommerce. Learn about creative ways to get customers to hit the 'buy now' button.

Finger pointing on shopping cart icon

When we shop online, there are many reasons that stop us from hitting the ‘complete your order’ button at checkout. We’ve all been there. Here’s a scenario: you’re in the process of buying something you really want, you click the “add to cart” button. Then at checkout, you ask yourself, “maybe I should buy this later?” or “do I really have to create an account?” Finally, you decide not to proceed with the transaction.

This is called “shopping cart abandonment”, and it has a direct effect on the buying process and a retailer’s bottom line. In fact, the average eCommerce store loses 75% of their sales to digital cart abandonment.

What are the Effects of Shopping Cart Abandonment?

When potential customers decide not to hit the “complete your order” button, it represents billions in lost revenue for businesses. It’s reported that eCommerce stores lose $18 billion in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment. And with $4 trillion worth of merchandise predicted to be abandoned in carts this year alone, the eCommerce community is looking for ways to resolve this revenue burning issue.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment

From purchase uncertainty to higher-than-expected shipping costs and unnecessary account creation, there are major factors that contribute to shopping cart abandonment.

  • Unexpected shipping costs and delivery times

    Hidden costs are the primary reason shoppers leave without purchasing, ranking first in both probability and impact. 25% of customers specifically cite shipping costs as the main factor that stops them from making the transaction. Customers may reevaluate their purchase once they see those unexpected fees, then abandon their cart. Also, shoppers expect their items to be delivered in a reasonable timeframe. If they wait too long, the value of shopping online is greatly diminished.

  • Confusing checkout process

    It’s our nature to want the shopping process to be as quick and easy as possible. A complicated checkout process with too many steps can be frustrating and end a sales transaction. Not only does this take away from your site’s checkout experience, but it can also persuade them to never shop on your site again. Providing a simple, seamless, and streamlined checkout experience is a great way to retain customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Limited payment options

    Today, customers expect variety. Since shoppers expect multiple products and services at their convenience, they also want to see their favorite payment option at checkout. It’s no surprise that shoppers abandon their carts when they don’t see their preferred payment option among the others provided.

  • Mandatory account creation

    There’s no doubt, requiring users to create an account before checking out is an annoying (and unnecessary) step in the purchasing process. It has a major effect on first time shoppers who may not be quite ready to sign up for an account. By asking customers to fill out unnecessary information to complete a transaction, you’re disrupting the shopping flow and slowing down the order completion process.

  • Website uncertainty

    Last year, almost 1.4 million people in the US reported being a victim of identity theft. With credit card information submitted through an online checkout, it’s no wonder why shoppers are concerned about their privacy when shopping online. Consequently, 17% of shoppers abandon their online carts because they didn’t trust the site with their sensitive information.

    How to Calculate Your Cart Abandonment Rate

    Calculating your cart abandonment rate is fairly straightforward. Divide the total number of completed purchases by the number of created carts. Subtract this number from one, then multiply by 100. For example, if you have 300 carts created, and 100 completed purchases, then your shopping cart abandonment rate is 67%.

    Solutions to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

    Be transparent

    Transparency is highly valued by shoppers and important for online sales success. When you give customers all costs upfront, including any shipping costs and taxes, you reduce the likelihood that shoppers will be surprised with an unexpected price increase. Be direct, be upfront, and be transparent. Your customers will appreciate the honesty and they’ll be happier to shop your brand again.

    Provide a user-friendly checkout experience

    Try to make the checkout experience as simple as possible. The more work shoppers must do, the less likely they are to buy the products in their carts. Make it effortless for customers to drop items into their cart and quickly return to checkout when they’re ready to buy. Streamline the process by minimizing the number of clicks and page views necessary to complete a transaction.

    Allow payment flexibility

    The days of entering long card numbers and expiration dates to make an online purchase seem to be long gone. Everyone has their own payment preferences, so it’s important to give shoppers that payment flexibility. Some of the most popular payment methods are shopping apps like PayPal, digital wallets (Apple Pay and Google Pay), and Buy Now, Pay Later services such as Klarna, Four, or AfterPay.

    Be trustworthy

    They’ll always be some level of anxiety when sharing sensitive information online. However, retailers can provide reassurance to shoppers in a few effective ways. For example, reassure your shoppers that their information is protected by incorporating ‘trust seals’. Brands can also use customer testimonials, product reviews, and endorsements to bring reliability to your brand. These factors let customers know that your company cares about their experience and will take care of their personal information.

    Email recovery

    Cart recovery emails are effective in regaining lost revenue. This approach collects product information data to deliver an email reminder to complete the purchase. 45% of recovery emails are opened, which is a much higher open rate than general retail emails. When crafting a good cart recovery email, remind the customer of products left in their cart and if possible, provide extra incentives. This recovery strategy may be enough to convince a shopper to continue with their purchase.

    When dealing with order conversion, there will always be room in the cart for improvement. Cart abandonment is a real issue for eCommerce. Every year, billions of dollars are left in digital shopping carts. Be upfront about shipping fees and taxes, be transparent, create a simple checkout process, build trust with shoppers, and allow customers to have payment flexibility. These best practices should help untether cart abandonment and boost online order conversion and sales.

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