If you’ve ever been to a brick-and-mortar store of any kind, you’re probably aware of the frustrating habit of customers who leave their shopping carts wandering the parking lots ready to fling themselves into your car with a breeze or, more benignly, just take up space you’d like to use. But you may not be aware that online stores experience a very similar problem: shopping cart abandonment… except this form of abandonment causes losses and can hurt the bottom line.
E-Commerce cart abandonment happens when someone fills their cart, goes to checkout, and then—for whatever reason—closes out of your site before completing the transaction, never to return. I have to own up to being guilty of abandoning my shopping cart more than once in my life.
And I wouldn’t be alone. Studies have shown that more than 60% of potential sales via online retailers are lost in the shopping cart phase—that amounts to over $4 trillion. But why is this happening? And what can online retailers do to stem this apparent hemorrhage of missed potential? Figuring out how to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates is crucial when it comes to optimizing your conversion rates and maximizing ROI.
What Causes Shopping Cart Abandonment?
First, the why. In order of highest number of customers reporting to lowest, the following are the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment:
- They were presented with unexpected costs.
- They were just browsing, they never intended to buy anything
- They found a better price elsewhere
- The overall price was too expensive
- They decided not to buy
- The website navigation system was too complicated
- The website crashed
- The process was taking too long
- There were excessive payment security checks
- They had concerns about payment security
- The delivery options presented were unsuited to their needs
- Website timed out
- Price was presented in a foreign currency
- Their payment was declined
Some of these problems are on the customer’s end, or may be out of your control: this is especially true of #2. And some of the problems contradict, like #9 and #10, which really forces you to pick a side and fix the problem you find most applicable to your situation. But many of the customers’ concerns are addressable and preventable.
Here are some tips and tricks to help your online store reduce shopping cart abandonment.
- Ease their worries with transaction security. Make the logo of your security provider (make sure you have a security provider) visible so they know the connection is secure. Use badges & seals to build trust and ease potential worries as people go through the checkout process.
- Don’t hit them with last-minute or unexpected costs. If at all possible, include all costs in the original price, or warn them ahead of time what shipping will cost. Adding a shipping calculator to your page is an easy way to accomplish this. If you want to take it a step further, offer free shipping. What is only a few dollars to the retailer is enough to win or lose a sale to nearly half of online shoppers.
- Put your money where your mouth is. If you sell with a low-quality host, your site may crash or load too slowly, driving people away from their shopping carts. This is a situation where more really is more.
- Offer solid guarantees. Back your products with iron-clad guarantees that show you stand behind your products, and make it clear that if they aren’t happy they can get their money back without jumping through hoops. Be sure to prominently display your guarantees across the entire checkout process.
- Make it easy for them. Communication, checkout, help—make these as attainable to your customer as possible. Streamlining the checkout experience is one of the number one ways to reduce cart abandonment. If you need a lot of information, break the checkout form down into multiple pages collecting only bits at a time so your potential buyer isn’t intimidated and scared away. Communication is vital to being able to troubleshoot any issues they might have, so just having an FAQ page may not be enough. A live chat feature is a must for any really dedicated retailer.
- Save the cart and keep it visible. Many people comparison shop, so saving their cart is essential to helping them make the final purchase with ease if they decide to do so. Also make sure the cart is somewhere conspicuous. Some shoppers will click away and forget they had things in the cart, so having a visible cart icon with a number of items in that cart is helpful to remind them they’ve been shopping.
- Follow up if they’ve abandoned their shopping cart. Using tracking pixels, you can easily run ads on Facebook & across the Google Publisher Network to remind them that they didn’t complete their checkout. Consider offering an instant coupon to apply to save some money on their order, or special bonuses to lure them back and incentive them to return to your site and finalize their purchase.
While you have to make the best decisions for your specific website, some truths are true of the online world as a whole. So go forth and save your sales!