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30 Must-Use Methods for Killing Shopping Cart Abandonment

We all know that shopping cart abandonment is big, bad, and pervasive. Baymard’s latest stats peg the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate at a scary 68%.

In other words, for every ten customers that put an item in their cart, about seven of them will leave the site without completing the purchase.

If you’re like me, you’re sick of reading all the doom-and-gloom stats about shopping cart abandonment.

Why don’t we leave at this? Shopping cart abandonment sucks, and it’s time to lower it. The problem worsens with every passing year, making it even more acute.

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With that simple fact in mind, let me give you actual techniques that will slay the monster of abandonment and give you more revenue than you thought possible.

1. Use Email Retargeting

Let’s just say it. If you want to slay abandonment, you need to get on board with email retargeting. Retargeting uses cookies embedded in email messages to display your ads to the user as she browses the web.

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Retargeting is the perfect way to win back customers quickly after their abandonment.

2. Display Everything Possible About Extra Costs

The top reason that customers give for abandonment is extra costs.

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The easy way to solve this problem is to not give customers any extra costs.

If you absolutely must add in shipping charges, taxes, or other fees, tell the customer so. As early as possible in the process, give them complete information regarding all the extra costs that they will see as they enter the shopping cart.

3. Provide Full Disclosure on Shipping Details

Shipping costs are another big kibosh to shopping carts. Look at this scary graph. High shipping and handling costs were the number one reason Shopify carts were abandoned.

shipping-key-factor-shopping-cart-abandonment

In an age of Amazon Prime and holiday specials, customers have been trained to demand free shipping on just about everything. Chances are, you have some competitors that are beating you because they have free shipping and you don’t.

If you can afford free shipping, great. If you can’t afford free shipping, then be sure to tell the customer everything about the shipping cost. If necessary, provide a built in calculator to determine estimated costs based on weight and quantity of items.

4. Send an Email Immediately After the Customer Abandons

When the customer abandons, you have a few hours to reel them back in. Assuming that you’re using some retargeting technology and email marketing, send an email immediately.

According to Conversion’s data, here’s how likely a customer is to purchase after receiving a reminder:

  • 30% purchase in less than 20 minutes
  • 50% purchase in 20 minutes to an hour
  • 60% purchase in 1 to 3 hours
  • 65% purchase in 3 to 12 hours

Those first few hours post abandonment are the golden window of opportunity to regain lost customers. Capitalize on it.

5. Get Rid of Sign-In Barriers

Are you preventing customers from buying based on sign-in barriers? Just don’t.

Forcing users to create an account may work for some products and services, but in most cases, you’re simply setting yourself up for disappointment. A great alternative to clunky sign-up processes is using social sign-in.

6. Make the Check-Out Process 3-5 Steps

The more complicated your checkout process, the less likely users are to complete it. Make the process consist of 3-5 steps. The shorter, the better.

If you do try to shorten the process, make sure you’re not making a single step in the process consist of too many fields.

7. Give the Customer Clear Progress Indications

It will help the customer if you can show them how far along in the process they are. Users like to have a feeling of progress and forward momentum as they reach for the goal of purchasing an item.

8. Use Simple and Prominent Calls to Action in the Shopping Cart

Every marketer knows the importance of calls to action. Are you using CTAs in your shopping cart, too? They are as important as ever. Users want to know what to do next, and it’s up to you to tell them what to do.

I recommend creating a headline-style set of instructions for each phase of the checkout process. For example, tell the user “Where should we send your stuff? Please fill out your address.”

9. Give Them the Freedom of a “Save For Later” Button

Many shoppers abandon their carts for the simple reason that they’re using it as a wishlist or a place to save things that they want. Instead of funneling them into a shopping cart, make it easy for them to create a wishlist with an easy option to buy later.

You get the benefit of lowered abandonment rates, and they get the upside of a wishlist that will easily funnel them into a later sale.

10. Talk to the Customer During the Process

Make the shopping experience conversational and interactive. There’s no need to be harsh and form-driven. Talk to them.

Brief and casual messages like, “Okay, we’re almost done” and “we just need a little extra info here” make the experience more enjoyable. I don’t know many people who love filling out forms, but if you make it less agonizing for the shopper, you’re more likely to gain their completion.

11. Don’t Throw in Extraneous Links

Avoid placing in links that take the customer away from the shopping cart. The customer might leave the cart of his own volition, but don’t make it easy for him!

One of the common ways that ecommerce retailers lose customers is by trying to upsell with related products. Often, when a customer clicks on these products, they never return to the shopping cart.

12. Create Massively Engaging and Powerful Product Pages

We obsess over shopping cart abandonment, but consider what comes prior to putting something in a shopping cart — the product page.

Take a look at your product page. How engaging is it, really? Russ Henneberry recommends that you create “high-quality, interactive product images.”

13. Create a Seamless Continuity Between What the Customer Sees on the Product Page, and What They See in Their Shopping Cart

If possible, display a thumbnail of the image in the shopping cart. The customer wants to make sure that they are actually purchasing the item that they selected. Making the cart items visible and visual is a great way to keep the customer moving through to completion.

14. Create One-Click Shopping

Amazon has probably made billions off of their one-click shopping button. It’s so easy to just click and buy without even deliberating over the pros and cons of the purchase.

You can steal a page from Amazon’s playbook by creating your own easy-to-buy shopping cart process. It won’t work for unregistered customers, of course, but it can work for members.

15. Avoid Surprises of Any Kind

According to CPC Strategy “Bad surprises are one of the most common contributors to shopping cart abandonment.” Don’t surprise your shoppers, whatever you do.

The shopping process can be a nerve-racking experience for some shoppers. The customer’s mind is tense. They’re pulling out their credit card. They’re a bit nervous. What’s going to happen?

And then it does — BOOM! A confusing pop-up. A discount code request. An “error” message. A missing field. Whatever.

The checkout process goes up in flames. You surprised them (or they surprised themselves) and you lost.

Watch carefully for any “surprises” in your checkout process. Make it clear, deliberate, and completely free of pop-ups, unexpected messages, and other factors that could be seen as an interruption.

16. Boost Site Speed

If your site is slow, then customers will leave.

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The shopping cart is one of the most critical places to boost site speed. Site speed and conversions are tightly correlated. Faster websites are just plain better.

17. Add SSL

Take whatever steps are necessary to make customers feel secure. In today’s web, SSL is considered a standard part of good design and development. If your site, and especially your checkout process is lacking in security measures, you’ll scare some customers away.

18. Prominently Display Business Contact Information (Footer)

Another way of enhancing the trustworthiness of your website is by adding contact information. Many online businesses display their NAP (name, address, phone number) in the site footer. This is merely one more way of giving your customers the assurance that you are a legitimate and reliable business.

19. Add Chat or Phone Support Options on the Checkout Page

If a customer has a problem, question, or issue with checkout, what are they going to do? In the absence of support options, they may simply leave.

To prevent this from happening, add an 800-number or online chat support to the checkout process.

20. Make the Cart Easy to Edit

Your cart should be easy to change. Deleting items, changing quantities, and adjusting shipping options should be intuitive and simple. Don’t make the mistake of creating cryptic buttons that can accidentally remove everything in the cart.

21. Show Security Symbols on the Checkout Page

Your checkout page is the place to pile on the security. Obviously, you don’t want to clutter up the page with too many of these, but a few well-placed badges can reassure the skittish customer.

22. Display Your Return Policy

Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse? Some buyers do. Buyer’s remorse doesn’t just happen after a purchase. The anticipation of remorse can sometimes cripple buyers before they purchase.

To prevent this from happening, give customers a clear and easy understanding of your return policy. Make it simple. “Don’t like it? Just return it, on us. No questions asked.”

23. Limit Cross-Selling on the Checkout Page. It Just Confuses Them

As mentioned before, trying to cross sell or upsell customers in the 11th hour may just contribute to shopping cart abandonment, not bigger buys.

24. Add Testimonials Everywhere

Some people put testimonials only on a devoted page. I suggest putting them everywhere — even in your checkout process. A simple callout or sidebar with a customer quote or two can keep the motivation level high as the customer continues to check out.

25. Personally Review the Checkout Process At Least Once a Month

Do you have first hand experience with your site’s shopping cart? Do you know what customers are experiencing as they proceed through the funnel, fill out each form, and complete each field?

I suggest that you personally take the time to test your own shopping cart. As you continually test, refine, and edit your shopping cart process, you’ll be able to iron out wrinkles that may be contributing to abandonment.

26. Be Careful With Coupon Codes

Coupon codes are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they may motivate customers to purchase. But on the other hand, they could prevent customers from completing the transaction.

If a customer doesn’t have a coupon code, for instance, they may leave the site to look for one, but never return. Statistics show that more than a quarter (27%) of shoppers abandon their cart because they “wanted a discount coupon.”

27. Make Shipping Times as Quick as Possible

Many online customers will want their order to arrive as soon as possible. Make arrangements for expedited shipping if customers want it.

28. Provide Courteous and Helpful Error Messages

If a user gets frustrated with the checkout process, they are likely to quit. As you develop and enhance your checkout process, create error notifications that are as helpful and direct as possible. There are two angles to this:

  • Make it easy for them to find the error on the form.
  • Make it easy for them to fix the error.

29. Accept Any Currency

If you offer international sales, make sure you are providing clear currency conversion information as well as acceptance of other currencies.

30. Allow Multiple Payment Methods

With the proliferation of the commercial web has come the expansion of payment methods. Open the gates as wide as possible and allow buyers to use any credit card, Paypal, Amazon, or any other forms of payment that are common within your niche.

Conclusion

As eager as you are to capitalize on abandoned users, let’s be honest. There’s no such thing as 0% abandonment. Some customers will abandon their carts, and you’re going to have to accept it.

But don’t use this reality of life as an excuse to keep you from fighting for as many conversions as possible. You’re going to win some back, and it’s worth giving it all you’ve got.

How have you reduced your shopping cart abandonment rates?

About the Author: blogs at Quick Sprout.

  1. Hi Neil…Thanks for Share those Great Tips.

    Nail, could you give us a couple of examples of ecommerce sites that use those methods ( Not Amazon, please ).
    Thanks a lot.

    Andres M.

  2. Such a informative post. It is very true that complicated checkout can be a major turn-off for visitors. As 11% of the visitors leave your website because of a complicated checkout. So, it is very important to analyze every step/part of your website. We use to ignore these issues, but they effect the sale. Because checkout page is gaining importance as compared to other factors of customer experience. Also, it helps the conversion rate to increase many folds if they are made workable and hassle free.

  3. #17, “Add SSL” is a must. Even if you aren’t hacked and/or sued, your ability to process credit cards may be revoked if your shopping cart is found to be insecure. SSL protects both customer and merchant. If you don’t secure your checkout process, you shouldn’t be selling online.

    But security goes beyond the checkout. Credit card information never should be emailed or stored insecurely. (Learn more from the PCI Security Standards Council website, at the link that follows.) If on a tight budget, use PayPal or Shopify — something to ensure credit card and personally identifiable information is secured.

    https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/merchants/index.php

  4. Loved this. I would suggest a point 31. Make sure you’re connecting newsletter sign ups to abandoned carts. There are a tonne of stores that miss out on easy email addresses that customers give to them through the newsletter sign ups!

  5. Great article on optimizing your shopping cart. We saw some tips that we’ll be implementing.

5 comments

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