6 Steps – How to Cut Shopping Cart Abandonment

Checkout conversion rate is arguably the most essential metric to any ecommerce business. Whilst it’s one that requires a large amount of head-scratching, it can provide incredible value when figures are improved.

Most retailers experience a shopping cart abandonment (SCA) rate of between 60% and 80%; a huge slice of potential business. The truth is, however, that there are effective ways of encouraging a large proportion of these to either re-visit or never leave in the first place. Below are 6 of the most common customer deterrents and steps to overcome them.

Presented with unexpected costs

This is the main killer of sales for online retailers with the majority hiding costs until the final stage of the order process. It comes down to the fact that people don’t like to be fooled into thinking they’re getting a good deal. If the potential customer gets to the payment to find $15 is added on for shipping, then the trust is instantly diminished, and the sale is gone.

It pays to be upfront about extra costs. The best way to do this is have the cart value visible at all times, completely removing any unwanted surprises for the buyer.

They were just browsing

People are always going to abandon their carts; it’s the online equivalent of trying something on in a store and not buying it. There is, however, still great potential to turn browsers into buyers. Getting SCA to 0 is impossible but remarketing is an incredible tool that can encourage re-visits and conversions with gentle reminders and positive brand reinforcement.

Many retailers offer freebies or incentives through their retargeting strategies, a great tactic for reigniting the interest from potential customers. See a great example of this below from loft.com.


Overall too expensive

Aside from the ease of online shopping, the main reason people use ecommerce is to get value for money. Although this is not always the case the general consensus is that online deals will be better than in store, with vast amounts of competition at the buyer’s fingertips. In a sense this rings true as a large amount of SCA comes from people finding a cheaper deal elsewhere.

The best thing to do here is experiment with deals such as free shipping. See how much this drives conversions and if it would be beneficial for your business in the long run, keep it.

Complicated navigation

As is the case for all websites, ease of navigation is key. People’s time is precious, so ensure the order and checkout process is streamlined by asking only for essential information. Lengthy sign-up can be a significant roadblock; offering guest checkout is a simple approach that makes it less painful for the individual. All visual distractions should also be removed from the cart and checkout pages.

Statistics show that ecommerce sales on a mobile device are now over 30% so be sure to provide the same streamlined process here.

Website crashed

While the vast majority of us will never understand the technicalities behind a website going down, we all know it is often inevitable. Give your business the best chance with a website that can handle sharp increases in traffic, particularly important around Christmas.

A website going down can be hugely detrimental to sales figures and send customers to competitors, potentially never to return. Ensure you have a rapid response IT team that can deal with website issues to ensure you’re back up and running in minimal time.

Payment security concerns

The reality is that many people will never be comfortable sharing their bank details online. This can be more of an issue for smaller, lesser-known brands. People have different preferred payment options so the best solution is to provide several choices. Ensure all trusted formats are there; e.g. credit card and PayPal. If a customer has any doubts or security concerns they are more than likely to shop elsewhere.

Using the suggestions above you can ensure that a healthy proportion either never leave in the first place or return to purchase. Streamlining the overall online experience will mitigate the damage of SCA, and thus be incredibly valuable to any retailer. Whilst optimising checkout pages requires hard work and investment the conversion of just 1% of SCA will almost certainly be worth more to your business than a 100% increase in traffic.

The main thing to keep in mind before deciding on the best tactics to help your ecommerce is not to be under any illusions; SCA will always happen. What is essential is identifying the factors that can be addressed by your business and acting on these to recapture as much potential business as possible.



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