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How to Reduce Abandoned Carts.
21 Jan 2020

As a merchant there is nothing more annoying than seeing visitors abandoning their carts. You’ve spent time and effort getting the customer through various sales funnels and channels only for them to give up on the purchase at the last stage.
Optimising your user journey, sales funnel and site for a better abandoned cart rate is common practise in conversion rate optimisation. In order to reduce abandoned carts we first need to explore why users initially leave their carts. From there we can look at ways to reduce the shopping cart abandonment rate.

Why do Users Abandon Their Carts

Shoppers who abandon their carts often do so for a number of reasons, however, they usually boil down to not being convinced at the last stage of the sales funnel. The final stage of a sales funnel can be the most important and a make-or-break section. Here are some reasons why the last stage of the sales funnel may break down.

  1. Hidden Costs.

    Hidden costs such as delivery and taxes can cause a user to leave the checkout process. Up until that last stage of the checkout the user believes they’re getting their product for a certain price, if that changes at the last minute then they’ll likely re-evaluate their purchase. If you were in a brick and mortar store and when you went to checkout found lots of hidden charges, you’d likely leave the shop empty handed; it’s the same concept online.

  2. Payment Gateways.

    If a customer doesn’t have the option to pay in their preferred gateway, then they’re more likely to ditch the shopping cart.

  3. Long Delivery.

    Snappy delivery is a must-have for most online shoppers, if you have a long delivery wait, they’ll likely shop elsewhere, even if it costs them more.

  4. Complex Checkout.

    Making checkouts long and complex will only put the potential customer off and leave the cart.

  5. Trust.

    If your site is lacking trust signals that can cause an abandoned cart.

Steps to Take to Reduce Abandoned Cart Rate

When a user is online shopping, it’s important to put in the right touch points, UX design and functionality to help them in completing their purchase, and avoid abandoned carts.

Offer Free Shipping

Wherever possible, you should eliminate any pricing surprises, this includes the shipping costs. Of course, with some products you may not be able to offer free shipping as that would remove all your profit margins. In this case, simply make sure the shopper can see the cost of the Shipping as they’re shopping.

On a product page you can add a calculator to work out the shipping rates. This eliminates any surprise pricing increases when you get to the checkout. This works for any surprise pricing, wether that’s tax, additional add-ons or shipping; just make sure it’s not a surprise.

Make your site Trustworthy

Trust signals are so important in eCommerce. With that in mind, it’s worth taking some time to optimise your site from a trustworthiness point of view. This could be: adding security badges, adding real reviews to your site or showing off your social media following.

According to a study in 2006 by Taylor Nelson Sofres, customers will abandon 70% of online transactions due to a lack of trust. Annually this leads to a loss of $1.9b

Visible Cart

Having the cart visible in the header of the site allows your customers to see how many items they currently have in the basket. Perhaps this is the second or third time they’ve visited your site and the cart has cached the last couple of times they’ve added something. When they visit the checkout they’ll see that there are too many items to checkout causing a hesitation which can lead to an abandoned cart.

If you’re informing the user of the amount of items in the checkout beforehand then there won’t be any surprises at the checkout. Having the cart visible will also help with conversions on the second, third or more visit as it will jog the users memory and act like a “wishlist”.

Exit Intents

Monitor exit intents and try to intercept. If you have a promotion running, then you could use a pop-up to notify the user of the discount as and when they try to leave the site. Even if you’re not running a promotion, it’s good way to collect users information and perhaps notify them of some of your USPs.

Make Your Products more Enticing

Optimising your product content can make a massive difference to your sales funnel. By writing better product descriptions, you’re not only enticing the user to add the item to the cart, but you’re instilling more confidence into the product and the brand. This will help keep abandoned cart rates low.

Abandoned Cart Emails

If a user has abandoned their cart, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a lost customer. Using an automated email flow to run an abandoned cart email will help save some of the lost customers. This can be extremely powerful especially if you combine it with time limited discounts or extra loyalty points.

Offer Different Payment Methods

Different customers will prefer different payment options. Obviously, you can’t add all of the payment methods available but opting to have Google Pay and Apple Pay alongside card transactions is a good place to start. Google and Apple pay to reduce the abandoned cart rates on mobile substantially.

Offering deferred payments or split payments with a provider such as Klarna can not only help reduce abandoned cart rates, but it can also improve the average order value of a cart. It’s important that when you use a service such as Klarna, that you let the user know you’ve got it before they reach the checkout as this encourages more spending, and increases trust signals.

Make the Checkout Smoother

When checking out you want to try an avoid forcing the customers to create an account. This can slow down the checkout process and in turn effect the abandoned cart rate. Instead make the guest checkout option available.
The checkout pages in Shopify are hosted by the SaaS, however, this means that the team in Shopify have optimised the delivery, layout and user journey of the checkout to reduce abandoned carts as much as possible.

UGC and Social Proof

Offering reviews from real people and User Generated Content (UGC) can strengthen a brands positioning. It can also help the customer feel more confident about the purchase they’re about to make. If they’re worried about buyers remorse then, using social proof will help squash that and reduce abandoned cart rates.

Contact Information

If a user has a question about a product, delivery time or returns they’ll want to speak to somebody before checking out. It’s important that contact information is available for the user to get in touch. This could be in the form of a phone number, contact form or live chat.

Reduce Abandon Cart Rates Holistically

When implementing a conversion rate optimisation strategy, focusing on the abandoned cart rates is essential. But it’s also important to look at which marketing channels cause the highest abandoned carts and optimising those channels and the user experience.