The dreaded cart abandonment curse. It's every e-commerce business owner's worst nightmare.
You've spent thousands of hours and dollars building a store you know people love, but as soon as they put products in their cart, they leave.
Sometimes never even coming back.
And it's driving you insane.
Why Do Visitors Abandon Their Shopping Carts?
There's many reasons why shopping cart abandonment rates are so high. From being forced to create an account to security concerns on checkout pages.
In addition to these, here's a non-exhaustive list of reasons why shoppers abandon their carts (answers from real shoppers).
1. Unexpected shipping costs
2. Busy conducting research
3. Complex checkout process
4. Couldn't find a discount code
5. Not ready to purchase
According to Baymard, 69.23% (as of January 2017) is the online shopping cart abandonment rate when averaged across 37 different studies over the past 15 years.
Putting that into perspective, nearly 7 in every 10 customers will not complete their checkout.
However, the story gets even scarier as you look beneath the surface for specific issues which contribute towards shopping cart abandonment.
1. At least one out of every four consumers abandon their online shopping cart (with items already in it) due to a “too long / complicated checkout process”.
2. Despite half of all internet traffic coming from mobile, conversion rates are almost three times higher on desktop.
This is partly due to poor UX on mobile devices. Survey respondents said that smaller product images and slower rendering pages made their buying decision more difficult.
The survey from Adobe’s Mobile Report also shows strong evidence which support the notion that people still prefer using a desktop to enter payment information.
3. Many e-commerce stores have vague estimated delivery dates. You'd be surprised at how many people are willing to pay a premium for a fast, efficient delivery service.
4. According to this study by Compete, 93% of shoppers are compelled to buy more products when free shipping is included.
These issues contribute towards the frightening shopping cart abandonment statistics.
And as you can see above, beating the shopping cart abandonment curse requires you to improve your process and approach.
Can you imagine the impact these issues could have on your business?
Reducing your store's cart abandonment rate can make the difference between whether your e-commerce store thrives or dies.
If you care about your MRR (monthly recurring revenue) and AOV (average order value) figures then continue reading to learn how to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates for good.
How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment Before It Happens
It's much easier to prevent a problem from occurring than to wreck your brain trying to cure it.
1. Be Transparent about Your Shipping Process and Go Beyond Free Shipping
You can do a lot more than offer free shipping to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Whilst offering free shipping is an effective way to increase your store's conversion rates, it won't save all your cart abandonment woes.
Dive deeper into your checkout process to identify ways you can lift conversions.
For example, customers hate being left in the lurch not knowing when their order will arrive.
Your shipping page states that all orders received before 7 pm will be processed on the following working day and shipped within 14 days.
This is vague, and quite frankly not good enough.
Not because it's too long a wait, but because it's not concrete.
Win your customers' hearts by under promising and over delivering. If it usually takes two weeks for a customer to receive an order, physically show the estimated date(s) during checkout, or better yet, before they even add it to their cart.
The last thing a customer wants to see when they reach checkout is that the price of shipping is more expensive than the product itself!
2. Provide Time-Sensitive Offers to Visitors
Time-sensitive offers work effectively as a cart abandonment solution by using urgency and the "fear of missing out" to encourage visitors to complete their checkout.
It's behavioral psychology. People don't like missing out, especially if its a good deal they're unlikely to find elsewhere.
Take this further by adding a visible countdown timer along with the offer.
Just make sure your offers and countdown timers aren't thinly veiled marketing ploys which unlawfully pull people in without keeping its promise.
I've lost count of the number of 24 hour countdown timers which reset when visiting the same page the following day. You're better than that.
Don't be afraid to take advantage of scarcity as your customers add items to their basket/cart.
Use bold language such as "Hurry/No time left" and strong colors like red to highlight your limited offers and stock.
3. Let Your Customers Create Wishlists
Most visitors won't even start the checkout process when visiting your store for the first time.
They may add several products to their cart, leave and return sometime later. Under normal circumstances this counts as an abandoned cart.
Give your customers the option to create "save for later" wishlists which they can manage and organize.
You can be clever and use their wishlist pages as another opportunity to promote related products which may be of interest to them.
For example, imagine a customer adds a Merkur Safety Razor to their wishlist upon their first visit to your store.
When they come back and visit that wishlist, there should be a badger shaving brush, a shaving brush holder, disposable razors and shaving cream on the sidebars of the page.
Adding related items helps to reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase your average order value simultaneously!
4. Offer a Variety of Payment Options During Checkout
One of the most annoying things you'll encounter as an e-commerce business owner is looking at your cart analytics and heatmap data to find your most interested customers dropping off the checkout page like flies.
Upon closer inspection, you notice customers moving their cursor towards the accepted payment options and closing the browser.
You've just lost a sale - ouch!
Offering as many payment options as possible is a surefire way to ensure you don't lose out on potential sales. Be sure to allow payments from online payment solutions like PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Square and even Bitcoin.
Whilst most people have credit/debit cards, not everybody prefers using them to make online purchases.
The worst way to lose a sale is at the very end of the checkout process.
All your hard work to get your customer from the interest phase to the buying phase is wasted.
Don't let your hard work to acquire your customers go to waste.
Simplicity and flexibility are key to lowering your cart abandonment rates.
The more options you can provide, and the fewer steps your customers have to take to complete the checkout process, the more revenue your store will generate.
Strategies to get potential customers back after they abandon their shopping cart
1. Use SMS Marketing to Win Your Customers’ Hearts
Everyone claims that "email is the holy grail of marketing." After all, its one of the most intimate ways to communicate with your customers.
So, you could use email to trigger a follow-up automation campaign after someone abandons their cart.
But when will they check it?
Time is money in business and unfortunately email can't speed up this process.
Don't get me wrong, building a relationship with potential customers via email is a must and won't be replaced any time soon.
But with SMS, you can reach your target customer's instantly.
And they're almost guaranteed to care what you have to say.
SMS marketing is the new (old?) kid on the block that everyone and their grandma ignores.
Despite mobile devices being around for over 30 years (and everyone owning one), businesses still find it hard to accept SMS as a viable marketing channel for acquiring and retaining customers.
Well let's burst that bubble.
According to Salescycle.com, 98% of all SMS messages are opened and 90% are read within 3 minutes.Most importantly, mobile users take action.
What were the open, click-through and conversion rates of your last email campaign?
Don't be afraid to take advantage of SMS for your e-commerce store, it could very well be the missing piece in your marketing jigsaw.
2. Take Advantage of Referral Software to Bring Customers Back
According to ViralLoops, 83% of consumers will refer your products to a friend, but only 29% go through with it. Why? Primarily because businesses don't ask.
Create a referral marketing program that rewards your customers when they invite their friends and family to make a purchase from your store.
You don't need to break the bank here, you'd be surprised how far people will go to earn 15% off their next purchase.
Goldieblox use referral programs masterfully to encourage repeat purchases.
They give both the advocate and the referred friend a 20% discount off purchases. As a socially-responsible company who strives to teach engineering skills to girls, their messaging will encourage parents to spend more on their children.
Using referral marketing as a cart abandonment solution in this way benefits your e-commerce store in three brilliant ways.
1. Your average order value will increase
2. Lower cart abandonment rates and higher conversions
3. Higher lifetime customer value
Who could say no?
3. Ask Your Customers Why They Abandoned Their Carts
This might sound overly obvious, but most e-commerce business owners leave this as an afterthought.
Shopping cart abandonment as a topic, invites us as marketers and e-commerce business owners to make assumptions about our audience.
We think we know them better than they know themselves.
Even with our data, no matter how accurate, can never give us a clear-cut answer as to why visitors keep abandoning.
How about just trying to ask them?
Catch them red-handed in the act with an exit-intent survey popup
We've previously written about how to use exit-intent popups to reduce shopping cart abandonment without annoying your visitors.As your visitor attempts to abandon their cart, trigger an exit-intent survey popup asking your visitors to tell you in their own words why they're not completing their order today.
Collect these submissions for a few weeks and you'll have some good insights worth testing.
Encourage visitors to complete the survey by telling them how long it'll take to finish (the less time the better), and give them a discount on their next purchase as thanks.
Even if you have to pay in gold for these, this research is invaluable and will save your business tens of thousands in the future.
4. Target Abandoned Cart Visitors with Remarketing Campaigns
By installing a tracking pixel on your website, you can retarget people who failed to convert into customers during their last visit.
With a remarketing campaign, you can create ads which “follow” these customers as they visit other websites for the sole purpose of bringing them back to your store.
Shopbop use dynamic remarketing campaigns to show products visitors have already seen before and encourage you to click-through by offering up to 25% off!
Think of remarketing as your second-chance to convert previous visitors into a customer.
Make sure you use your campaign to do more than simply bringing them back to your store. Give them an incentive to spend money via a time-sensitive offer or referral rewards if they invite their friends to buy.
Top tip: Remember to exclude your existing customers and list database from your remarketing campaign. The last thing you want is to waste money showing irrelevant ads to people who’ve already bought that specific product from you.
If you’re remarketing with Facebook ads, you can upload the details of your email list and use it as a negative list to prevent this problem.
If you use Google Shopping then be sure to take advantage of RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Shopping Ads). Our research has shown that retailers who take advantage of RLSA can experience a 10% lift in conversions while also maintaining over 50% reduced costs in drawing repeat customers to purchase again.
Unlike display remarketing, RLSA targets previous store visitors right back in Google search and will trigger your Shopping ads to show once again.
Our team manages successful RLSA efforts for retailers across the globe.
The techniques and strategies that we mentioned can be utilized for any ecommerce store to help with reducing shopping cart abandonment rates. The key is to test your product pages as well as your checkout process.
Follow your data carefully to see where most of your customers drop off, as uncovering and fixing these issues will help improve conversions and your bottom line which is especially important with the holiday season quickly approaching.