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Strategies to Close the Deal: Overcoming Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is big, bad, and pervasive. Baymard’s latest stats peg the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate at 70.19 percent. Scary, huh?

That means for every ten e-commerce customers that put an item in their cart, seven leave the site without completing their purchase.

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Shopping cart abandonment sucks.

It’s time to take back those sales and learn how to reduce cart abandonment. Here are 18 strategies to win those customers back and grow your bottom line.

Main Points: Overcoming Cart Abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment is a significant issue in e-commerce, with an average rate of 70.19%.
Financial losses due to cart abandonment are estimated at $18 billion annually.
The main reasons behind cart abandonment include additional fees, poor user experience, complex checkout processes., website performance issues, and concerns about security.
Shopping cart abandonment has significant effects on e-commerce profits, but efforts to reduce abandonment rates are worthwhile.
It’s important to analyze cart abandonment data regularly to spot patterns and make changes.
While 0 percent abandonment is unrealistic, implementing strategies can win back some customers and improve conversion rates.
Why Cart Abandonment Is A Problem For E-Commerce

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Imagine having a brick-and-mortar store and only three out of ten customers checked out. You’d soon be in financial hot water.

An e-commerce site doesn’t have the same running costs as a physical store, but there is still a financial impact.

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Some past reports estimate website owners lose $18 billion annually due to cart abandonment.

However, it’s not only the financial losses that ought to concern you.

If customers regularly abandon their carts, you need to figure out why. Potentially, it’s a sign that you’re doing something wrong.

What Causes Customers To Abandon Their Carts?
As this image from Websitebuilderexpert.com shows, the top three reasons behind shopping cart abandonment are additional fees, shipping times, and having to set up an account.

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Other problems that stop shoppers from completing their orders are:

Bad UX
User experience (UX) can make or break any website; if you’re offering a poor UX, you lose out on conversions.

Whether it’s poor navigation, limited product information, or unclear shipping policies, you’re inviting shoppers to abandon their cart and buy from someone else.

For instance, one statistic shows that 37 percent of people have abandoned a cart because navigation was too complicated.

If you need to up your UX game, no problem. I’ve written a piece to help you optimize your website design.

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Complex Checkout
Something else that is guaranteed to chase customers away is a complicated checkout.

When you make it too lengthy, you’ll frustrate your customers, perhaps to the point that they decide to purchase from a competitor.

Ideally, keep your checkout to a three- to five-stage process on one page or add a guest checkout.

Tip: If you use the guest checkout, make it prominent. The Baymard Institute says 47 percent of sites with a guest checkout don’t do this.

Here’s a good example from nutrition brand Holland & Barrett of a simple checkout.:

Website Performance Problems
Everyone knows the frustration of broken links, error messages, and images that take forever to load, if they load at all.

Not only do website performance problems look unprofessional, they also contribute to cart abandonment.

Do you know why?

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Because shoppers expect a seamless, stress-free shopping experience, and it’s up to you to provide it if you want to reduce cart abandonment.

Concerns With Security
In these days of security hacks and data protection, customers want to be sure their details are safe with you.

The Privacy and Consumer Trust report showed 68 percent of people surveyed had concerns over online privacy. Additionally, data protection is a regulatory compliance requirement, and you can’t afford to ignore it.

That’s why you need to be clear on what you do to protect data.

It’s the same with website security.

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A HTTPs or padlock symbol gives customers assurance by authenticating your website and encrypting data.

Not Mobile-Friendly
Do you know how many mobile users are out there? Take a wild guess.

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By 2025, they’ll be 7.49 billion.

Here’s another stat.

An incredible 73.59 percent will abandon a mobile checkout, so you need to do everything you can to get them to complete. That means making it mobile-friendly.

When a site isn’t optimized for mobile mobile optimization, it’s hard to navigate and understand. In addition, images load slowly, and the website doesn’t display properly.

That all adds up to a poor shopping experience you should be trying to avoid.

How You Can Avoid Cart Abandonment
So far, I’ve highlighted the problems that can cause cart abandonment, but now I’m going to tell you what you can do to help remedy this issue:

1. Use Email Retargeting
If you want to slay cart abandonment, 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. Provide Full Disclosure on Shipping and Pricing
As the earlier graph shows, the top reason that customers give for abandonment is extra shipping costs.

The easiest way to solve this problem? Get rid of those extra costs — or at least be transparent about them.

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If you must add shipping charges, taxes, or other fees, be upfront. As early as possible, give shoppers complete information regarding all the extra costs they will see as they enter the shopping cart.

Customers demand free shipping on almost everything in the era of Amazon Prime and holiday specials. Chances are, some competitors are winning over you because they offer free shipping. If you can afford free shipping, great. When you can’t, then give full disclosure on costs before the customer gets to the checkout stage.

If necessary, provide a built-in calculator to determine estimated costs based on the weight and quantity of items. Alternatively, you can use flat-rate shipping to reduce shopping cart abandonment so everyone pays the same price.

3. Send an Email Immediately After the Customer Abandons
When an e-commerce customer abandons their cart, you have a few hours to reel them back in. If you’re using some retargeting technology and email marketing, send an email within the first hour.

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According to Omnisend, sending three emails after a cart abandonment is best. Doing so yields, on average, 69 percent more orders than those who send just one email:

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

4. Make the Check-Out Process Simple
Simplifying the check-out experience enhances user convenience and contributes significantly to increased conversion rates. Ideally, the checkout process should be three to five steps, like in this example from Casper.

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Click on the “Casper” checkout button.
Add your email address
Continue to shipping
Make a Payment
Get confirmation

If you try to shorten the process, ensure you’re not using too many fields in a single step.

5. Use Simple and Prominent Calls to Action in the Shopping Cart
Every marketer knows the importance of calls to action. However, they don’t just apply to your usual marketing content: you need them in your checkout process, too.

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Users want to know what to do next, and it’s up to you to tell them.

Create 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.”

You can also use CTAs at checkout to increase conversions. For example, add something like: “Complete your order now to access extra savings,” offering free shipping, or highlighting limited stock.

This is how Amazon does it:

A/B test your CTAs until you figure out which ones work the best for you, too.

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6. Add a “Save For Later” Button
Many shoppers abandon their carts because they use them as a wishlist or a place to save things they want to buy later. 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.

It’s a technique both Amazon and eBay use, with many benefits for sellers in terms of understanding trends, product sharing, and linking back to the Amazon store. It also helps to identify products that make it to the wishlist but not to the checkout, and for finding products that can be grouped or sold together.

7. Don’t Throw in Extra Links
To optimize the shopping cart experience and prevent customer abandonment, it’s crucial to avoid placing links that lead customers away from the cart. Upselling with related products can be tempting, but often, it results in customers never returning to the cart.

Instead, consider displaying related products on the same page as the current purchase, like Amazon (yes, them again) does:

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When it comes to cross-selling, be sure to suggest products based on the buyer’s purchase history, browsing behavior, or what’s currently in their basket.

However, trying to cross-sell or upsell customers in the 11th hour may contribute to shopping cart abandonment, not bigger buys. Keep cross-selling to product pages and let the checkout page focus on converting. Just remember to keep suggestions at a minimum so you don’t overwhelm or frustrate customers. Also, consider offering additional features so customers can skip cross-selling recommendations.

8. Create Engaging and Powerful Product Pages
We obsess over shopping cart abandonment but consider what comes before putting something in a shopping cart — the product page.

An engaging product page draws potential customers in and increases the chances of them purchasing.

The most obvious thing you can do is add high-quality images and videos that show off your products from all angles. Then, write detailed product descriptions highlighting the features and benefits. Next, explain what the product does and how it benefits the buyer.

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Additionally, ensure you understand your target audience so you can tailor your pages to them and include social proof, like reviews or testimonials.

Finally, finish each listing with a call-to-action button so customers know what you want them to do next.

9. Create Continuity Between the Product Page and Shopping Cart
If possible, display a thumbnail of the image in the shopping cart to keep the customer moving through to completion.

The customer wants to ensure they are purchasing the item they selected. Making the cart items visible and visual is a great way to keep the customer moving through to completion.

It gives buyers visual confirmation that they’ve added the correct item to their cart and a chance to correct their order if they haven’t.

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To give the customer extra confidence, you could also include a zoom feature to the thumbnail so the customer can get a detailed look at the item one more time.

10. Boost Site Speed
I talk about site speed a lot on this blog, and with good reason.

If your site is slow, customers will leave.

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. Check out the impact a few seconds can make on your bottom line:

11. Get an SSL Certificate, and Show Security Symbols
Before you give out your card details online, do you scan the toolbar for a padlock or an HTTPS to check if it’s secure? I know I do.

SSL certificates make customers feel secure, and SSL is a standard part of good design and development. (It’s also good for your Google ranking!) If your site, especially your checkout process, lacks security measures, you’ll scare some customers away.

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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.

Also, add a confirmation page that displays once the sale is complete so the customer knows the sale has been safely processed. Include a customer order number and forward a confirmation email to the buyer, too.

12. Display Business Contact Information Prominently
For a simple way to limit shopping cart abandonment, add contact information. Many online businesses display their NAP (name, address, phone number) in the site footer. This is merely one more way of assuring your customers that you are a legitimate and reliable business.

You can put your NAP in your website footer, or you may prefer a separate page where you can add a contact form and an email address.

However, consumers want quick answers these days, and many would prefer a seamless way to contact you, like live chat.

13. Add Chat or Phone Support Options on the Checkout Page
If a customer has a problem, question, or issue with checkout, what will they do? In the absence of support options, they might just leave.

It can also hurt your brand, too. A lack of customer support could come across as poor service. Building brand loyalty and trust is all about customer satisfaction, so being responsive when your customers have questions is vital to set yourself apart.

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Add an 800 number or online chat support to the checkout process to prevent this from happening.

14. 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 accidentally remove everything in the cart.

Instead, use clear language like “Remove Item,” Change Shipping Options, or “Change Quantity.”

Another way is by providing icons like a trash can for deleting items or a pencil symbol for editing.

16. Add Testimonials Everywhere
Do you know what I’d say if you asked me for one tip to reduce card abandonment? Add testimonials.

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 recommendation or two can keep the motivation level high as the customer continues to check out.

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Place customer reviews on product pages and encourage video and image reviews for a more detailed overview of an item. Videos and images from a home setting give consumers a better idea of what they look like, how they work, and how they can use them.

17. 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? If you don’t, take the time to test your own shopping cart.

As you continually test, refine, and edit your shopping cart process, you can iron out wrinkles contributing to shopping cart abandonment.

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You could also benefit from using test shoppers to test your checkout process. There’s no need to use a professional mystery shopping company, either. You can ask a few friends or business colleagues. Cover the cost of a test purchase, and ask them to give you some feedback on how the checkout works for them.

18. Be Careful With Coupon Codes
Coupon codes are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they may motivate customers to purchase. In contrast, they could prevent customers from completing the transaction.

For instance, if a customer doesn’t have a coupon code, they may leave the site to look for one but never return.

Here’s something else to consider.

While using coupon codes can reduce cart abandonment, using them too often can also lead to a loss of the scarcity factor. Customers may come to expect you’ll give them a discount, leading to an abandoned cart until the buyer returns later.

Limit the time you make coupon codes valid to reduce the possibility of this occurring.

FAQs
What is abandoned cart recovery?
This is where you use marketing to re-engage with a customer who has saved an item to the cart but hasn’t checked out.

Why is cart abandonment a critical concern for e-commerce businesses?
Cart abandonment is an issue because it can cost e-commerce businesses significant profits. ShopPop estimates that for every $100 you earn, you’re missing out on $400.

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What are common reasons for cart abandonment?
The most common causes are extra shipping costs, a long checkout process, and sites that load too slowly.

How can I reduce cart abandonment on my e-commerce site?
Be upfront about shipping by providing a shipping calculator, optimize site speed by addressing any technical issues, and keep the checkout process limited to three to five stages.

What role does retargeting play in addressing cart abandonment?
Retargeting keeps the consumer engaged and serves as a reminder the item is still available for purchase.

How often should I analyze abandoned cart data?
You can measure cart abandonment monthly, quarterly, or six monthly. However, you may measure monthly to spot patterns and make changes.

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Conclusion
The effects of shopping cart abandonment can kill your e-commerce bottom line.

As eager as you are to reel users back in, let’s be honest. There’s no such thing as 0% abandonment. Some e-commerce customers will abandon their carts, and you will have to accept it.

Don’t use it as an excuse to keep you from fighting for as many conversions as possible. You will win some back, and it’s worth the effort.

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If you are struggling to drive traffic to your store, let us help.

How have you reduced your shopping cart abandonment rates?

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