Imagine that you’re shopping in the physical world at a brick-and-mortar store. You start filling up items in your shopping cart, and then you get suddenly distracted by a parade going on outside the store. You then totally forget about whatever you were planning to buy, watch the parade through the window and then walk out of the store.
Granted, a situation like that is very unlikely in the physical world. But it happens very often in the eCommerce world. Often, users come to your website, start shopping, and then leave the site so they can binge the latest Netflix TV show, never to return.
Blame it on a change of mind or low attention span; it is one thing that annoys every eCommerce business owner.
Shopping cart abandonment occurs when a user visits an online store and adds items to their shopping cart but leaves without making a purchase.
It is such a big problem that, according to Statista, 69.57% of all shopping carts in 2019 have been abandoned. That’s nearly 7 out of every 10 potential customers. And that loss in revenue is estimated to be in trillions of dollars every year.
Before we learn how to mitigate this problem, it’s important to understand why it happens. Statista conducted a survey a few years ago to figure out why users drop out, and here are some reasons why.
Source : Statista
As you can see, you can mitigate a lot of these problems with some tweaks here and there. Let’s learn how to do that in detail below.
Ways To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
There is no point if you have 1000 visitors to your website every day if none of them are interested in buying what you have to offer. It is much better to have 100 relevant visitors who have a genuine interest in what you’re selling and will be more likely to purchase your products.
The quality of your traffic is a major contributor to sales. And it all starts with targeting the right audience. Whatever ads you are running or content marketing efforts you are putting should target your potential buyers.
Pro tip : Conduct customer discovery calls every month with the help of your team. Speak to 5 to 10 potential customers and listen to what they say. Make sure that your entire team is on the same page during this activity. Then tune your ecommerce SEO efforts as per those discussions.
According to Wikipedia, “an exit-intent popup is a technology used in eCommerce websites to retain visitors that are going to leave the site.”
You can track the website visitor’s mouse movements using the exit-intent popup. When the visitor moves the cursor outside the upper page boundary, a popup window is shown to prompt the visitor to stay back on the webpage.
Exit popups work well. And there is data to prove that. Fastrack Digital, a digital marketing agency, reportedly recovered 53% of its abandoning visitors using exit-intent popups.
This tactic showed great results for a lot of businesses. Now, some people have the opinion that such popups can be annoying to visitors. Even if they are, your visitors are about to leave the page anyway. So, there is nothing to lose in trying to get their attention before they leave altogether.
Pro tip : Offer a discount in the exit popup in exchange for the person’s email.
This benefits you in two ways. First, the discount encourages the visitors to finish the purchase. And second, even if they don’t buy from you now, you will at least have their email addresses (if they type those in) that you can use to approach them in the future.
Another tactic you can use to encourage visitors to finish the purchase is to create a sense of urgency. That means you can show them that whatever discount or offer you have running will only last for some time.
According to behavioral psychology, urgent situations cause people to suspend rational thought and act fast. Therefore, by running a very limited-time offer, your visitors will be nudged to take action and buy from you.
For instance, you can have a timer running that will show the visitor how long the offer will be available.
This will motivate those visitors that are hesitant to buy to finish the entire checkout process.
Social proof makes it clear that others have used or bought, or loved your product or service. It comes in many forms. But one that is very effective and rarely used is social proof notifications.
Social proof notifications are little messages that show up when somebody has positively engaged with your business online. These are things when a customer:
Source : Nudgify
These little nudges build instant trust in your products. And they generate a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It is a concept that humans, in general, don’t want to miss out on good things they see others experiencing.
Therefore, when you create a social proof notification that shows other people are buying from your store, it encourages your visitors to take similar action.
“People don’t buy products. They buy better versions of themselves.”
It is one of the golden rules in marketing.
While building your product page, you will have things on the page that say what the product has, what it does, and so on. On the contrary, a persuasive product page will also discuss how your life changes when you buy this product.
The page must inspire visitors to make their lives better and then persuade them to make the purchase. Nike is one of the best companies that do this.
Pro tip : Focus on the benefits, not the features. Your product exists to solve a problem. That’s the reason why the visitor has landed on your page.
Would you trust a website that does not photograph its products? Of course not. One of the most important elements of a great product page is the product image.
People do judge a book by its cover when they are buying it online.
Usually, physical stores have an advantage over eCommerce stores when it comes to experiencing a product. If it’s a shirt or a bag, a buyer can look at it in person, touch it, and observe its every detail in the physical world.
However, using the right visual elements for your product images can compensate for those setbacks in an online store.
In the picture above, you can see that the backpack has been photographed from multiple angles. That gives the visitor a very clear understanding of how it actually looks and feels physically, almost as good as a physical world experience.
Pro tip : Invest in good quality photography for your products, and you will see an uptick in sales.
What’s better than high-quality product images? A high-quality product video.
Videos work. That’s why YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world.
Using video to present your products is the most compelling way to engage potential buyers. It all comes down to human psychology. Reading text takes a lot more effort than just sitting back and watching a video.
Even studies have proven that consumers are 64 to 85% more likely to buy your product after watching a video.
Product videos allow the potential buyer to see the product in action and ultimately increases the chance of a purchase.
If you want to keep users focused on finishing their purchase, remove any distractions that may urge them to click elsewhere. That means no unnecessary graphics. No unnecessary menu navigation. No unnecessary calls-to-action, etc.
There is a popular saying that our attention span is smaller than that of a goldfish. And, due to our present lifestyle, it is only getting worse.
How to identify distractions on your website?
Note: If a web page has many elements, it does not necessarily mean it is distracting. It is fine if those elements are relevant.
For example, a product page will have many elements — images, videos, reviews, etc. But they are all very important for convincing the visitor to make a purchase. But elements like “Similar items on sale” on the other hand, however, can be a distraction.
In the last decade, that little gadget you’re holding in your hand has become the primary way to access the internet for billions of people around the world. This means eCommerce brands must optimize their websites for mobile.
Now how do you do that?
Mobile eCommerce has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. And it is projected to only grow higher.
Source : Statista
So, can your business survive if it does not focus on mobile? Right now, maybe. But in a few years, definitely not.
So, you are in a supermarket standing in a line, and the cashier asks you for your phone number, your zodiac sign, how many kids you have, whether you have a membership card or not, whether you’d like to save 12% by opening one, and so on.
Now, consider the same situation in an online context. By the time you ask the 3rd question, the visitor would leave the page leaving their cart abandoned. These little annoyances unnecessarily prolong the checkout process.
So how many steps should a checkout process have? Try to have as few as possible. Just ask for their most important information and not make them fill out the same information more than once.
And include a progress indicator that shows them clearly which step they are in the checkout process. It shows visitors that they’re almost done, and they’ll soon be able to get back to binge-watching or whatever it is they would rather be doing.
When you buy something in a physical store, you can see what you’re buying right there in front of you. That is not necessarily the case online.
Just like the progress indicator, try including thumbnail images of products in the visitor’s cart. It will not just help them remember what they’re buying. It will also eliminate the possibility of distraction. Sometimes customers might hesitate to buy something if they get distracted.
The checkout page in the picture above is a great example. It shows the small but easily identifiable thumbnails of the items in the customer’s shopping cart. It also narrows down the entire 3-step checkout process into one page.
Pro tip : Showing the thumbnails keeps the products front-and-center in the buyer’s mind reinforcing the desire to finish the purchase.
Trust plays a huge role in online shopping. Remember that when you’re asking your visitors to fill out the payment form, you’re asking them to trust you with their personal information.
This not only includes their basic contact details. It even includes their credit/debit card details. That is something many people hesitate to share.
To establish trust, use the space in your payment forms to include some trust elements. These can be security badges and logos placed on the page where your visitors make the transaction.
Shopify's study in 2019 showed that almost 61% of online shoppers had not finished a purchase because there were no trust logos.
Pro tip : Make sure the logos you are using are clear and recognizable.
Your customer is almost at the end of the checkout process, and you don’t want anything to come in between them and a smooth shopping experience. But, if you’re offering only a single payment option, you’re putting an unnecessary obstacle between them and your sales.
Have at least three modes of payment, preferably more. A credit card is a no-brainer. However, online shoppers, these days, want multiple payment options.
Providing more payment options eliminates, at least minimizes, cart abandonment. Of course, you have to manage multiple payment options. And that may come with a higher merchant services fee. But you’re setting up a smoother buying experience, and that’s what matters at the end.
Pro tip : If your store operates internationally, make sure that your international customers have the option to pay in their currency. At least, provide them with a currency converter right there on the page.
A lot of online business owners neglect to include any calls to action on their checkout pages. They assume that since the potential buyer has already added something to their cart, they no longer need any push to buy it.
But that logic can make you miss a good opportunity to help the customer finish the sale. Having a CTA on the checkout pages reinforces the impulse of the prospect to complete the purchase.
Pro tip : Ensure that the CTA messaging is consistent with the language in the other pages across your store and marketing communication. Your aim should be to provide a continuous, seamless buying experience from finding the product through finishing the purchase.
When you shop at a brick-and-mortar store, either you are committed to buying something, or you are not. You’ll stand in line and wait for your turn to pay for whatever’s in your cart, or you can just leave the store without buying anything.
Online shopping, however, is not that simple. Your buyers expect to take advantage of the benefits of shopping online — which includes the ability to save their shopping carts for later.
You must make saving a cart as simple as possible. With so many possible distractions while buying online, you should consider disruptions in the checkout process. That is why it’s important to allow shoppers to save their carts and get back to them later to complete their purchase when it’s convenient for them.
Note: If you choose to help your visitors save their carts and come back later, be clear about it. In case you want to save their data, let them know promptly.
Ecommerce owners believe that the checkout process offers a great opportunity to collect user information. It does. But, forcing buyers to create an account on your website can be a major blocker to finishing their purchase.
If they do not want to create an account, they can make the transaction by checking out as a guest instead.
You are giving up that sweet data that you crave for future marketing purposes by offering that option. But, you will be making things so much easier for your buyers. And that is what they want.
You make the process of buying from you easier for them, and you will make more profits. And, if you offer a frictionless online shopping experience, you may see these buyers come back to not only purchase from you again but even create accounts to take full advantage of your other benefits.
Online shoppers expect to pay one price — the price of the items they are buying. And maybe the shipping charges. That’s it. They don’t like being caught in a mess of extra costs or surcharges.
And speaking of shipping charges, a survey conducted by UPS suggests that buyers hate shipping costs the most out of all the costs while shopping online. They hate paying for shipping so much that it’s the biggest reason for cart abandonment.
You may have experienced this before while buying something online. I certainly did. You place an item in your cart for $15.99. And when you’re checking out, the price jumps to $35, which is a lot higher than what you expected to pay.
That can surprise buyers, and as a result, they might leave your site and never come back. Considering that, you must mention to them upfront how much the shipping costs are going to be. Avoid trying to sneak it in at the end of the checkout process.
Pro tip : You can offer free shipping to customers whose cart value exceeds a certain amount.
Customer experience has become extremely important in eCommerce. Although easy to ignore, small value-adds like estimated delivery date, delivery tracking, and notifications remove the risk of buying products online and increase trust in your brand.
So, make it clear to your buyers when they will receive their products before they finish the transaction.
Check out how Amazon does it.
They let you pick your delivery option before you make the purchase. This gives buyers a very clear idea of when the product will finally reach them.
Adding to that, you can even give your buyers a heads up before they even add the product to their carts like this example below.
Also, make sure that your delivery service is fast enough. You cannot expect a customer to wait for three weeks to receive a product dispatched in their own home country.
Dropoff, the same-day delivery service, conducted a survey a few years ago. It said that nearly 60% of buyers decided not to purchase from online stores with a slow delivery.
Sometimes consumers experience something called “buyer’s remorse.” It is a feeling that makes you suddenly regret buying something as soon as the transaction happened. I have that.
Interestingly, psychologists have proven that anticipating that feeling of remorse can cripple some people even more before they finish the transaction. You can prevent that from happening by giving your buyers a clear understanding of your return policy. A suggestion: make the returns free.
Here are some tips for a clear return policy:
Never make assumptions about user behavior. Your visitors may interact with your site differently than you might expect. Therefore, it’s important to walk down their path yourself and figure out the weakest spots in the checkout process.
If you need help, have a friend who is new to your site experience the flow. Take their feedback and fine-tune the process. Or, much better, use a behavior analytics tool to understand exactly how your users experience your site. It may be quite revealing.
How does this benefit you? It helps you find loopholes in your user experience, marketing, and strategy as a whole, as well as solve them.
Online shoppers hate a slow-loading website. The longer a page takes to load, the higher its bounce rate is going to be. And a higher bounce rate informs search engines that users don’t find your website useful, so its rankings will drop — which means your traffic will plummet and ultimately your sales.
In short, your website speed is very important. You can run a quick test using Google’s page speed tool to check how it currently performs.
For starters, here are some things on your site that you can optimize.
No matter how great your efforts are to reduce shopping cart abandonment, there will still be some users who will abandon their carts. So, go after them later with remarketing campaigns.
Remarketing gives you another shot at converting abandoned users. It is an essential technique eCommerce business must use to increase sales.
Suppose you’re not remarketing to those who came close to being your customers. In that case, you’re restricting yourself to giving them only one chance to be your customers, which is an almost impossible task in today’s crowded online environment.
Facebook ads, Google ads, and email are perfect avenues for running remarketing campaigns. Here’s a great remarketing email from Bearsville Soap Company for inspiration.
These tips can help you reduce cart abandonment and increase sales by a good margin. However, do not expect a 0% abandonment rate.
Fighting cart abandonment is a continuous process with no end. No matter how good your results are, there will always be room for improvement. So here is my last tip. It may be the most important one of all.
Keep improving. That’s the only way to get better. Test these tactics regularly. Constantly experiment and understand which triggers to pull to get the best results.
If you need any expert help in reducing cart abandonment rate get in touch with our ecommerce SEO experts now!
Anahi Farley has more than nine years of expertise in the copywriting industry. She loves to blog about ecommerce, SEO, and conversion optimization. By writing quality content, she is helping many ecommerce businesses to increase their traffic and revenue.
He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.