Shopping cart abandonment is cruel - here's how to stop it

 by anthony on  |
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Shopping cart abandonment is a cruel and widespread practice. Baymard indicates that the average online abandonment rate is a staggering 68.63%, meaning over two-thirds of unfortunate shopping carts are left in the wild to fend for themselves. But the good news is that a lot of these can be saved by making some simple changes to your checkout process.
1. Don’t hide costs
One of the biggest reasons for an abandoned shopping cart is a customer reaching the payment gateway, only to 
find that they’ve got to fork out more money than they thought. A post by KISSmetrics highlights just how much of an issue this is, with almost a third of carts abandoned because of unexpected shipping costs. The same can be said of taxes and charges, which also add a sizeable cost to the customer’s basket. Always display all of your costs up front to avoid this.

2. Offer free shipping
Even when shipping costs aren’t hidden, customers still detest them. A survey by Alix Partners showed that 37% of people abandoned their shopping cart simply because the shipping costs were too high. In an ideal world, your business would absorb them, but not everyone can afford this luxury. If you're in that boat, try offering free shipping to customers that spend over a certain amount. This will appeal to at least some of the 37% and help you recoup costs through an increase in sales. Calculate what spend threshold would be financially viable for you and work from there.

3. Start remarketing
As outlined by Business Insider, three out of four people who abandon a shopping cart plan on returning to purchase later. Remarketing will remind these people about their purchase and subtly encourage them to complete it. Wordstream suggests that the best remarketing channels are Google Display Network and Facebook ads, which reach 90% and 65% of internet users respectively. They also stated that remarketing boosted their conversions by a whopping 51% in just 18 months.

4. Simplify your checkout
Two or three clicks are all it should take for a customer to pick and purchase a product, with minimal information needed. A study by Invesp discovered that 12% of people abandoned a purchase because the site required too much information. Avoid this mistake by making the process as streamlined as possible.

5. Allow guest checkout
Forcing customers to create an account is another tipping point, as KISSmetrics state that 23% of users abandon their shopping cart if they’re forced to create an account. Invesp agrees, stating that 14% of users abandoned their shopping cart for the same reason. Adding a guest checkout option can easily solve this problem. To simplify even further, create a “Remember Me” box to tick. This means customers won’t have to re-enter their details if they return to your site.

6. Add a progress bar
A checkout progress bar will let customers know where they’re at on the purchasing path. Knowing how many steps are left encourages people to see out the process, as long as your simplified checkout leaves only a few steps to finish. You should also use your Analytics to understand at what point customers tend to abandon their cart. This will give you a clear indication of potential issues, or if you’ve got too many steps to checkout.

7. Include a trust seal
The internet is fraught with fraud and security issues. Customers are especially cautious with sites that they haven’t purchased from before. Including a 
trust seal will add a layer of security that may mean the difference between completing the purchase or abandoning ship.  For example, a study of US adults by Baymard found that over 35% of respondents were more comfortable buying from a site that had the “Norton Secured” trust seal.

8. Provide multiple payment methods
The number of online payment methods is always growing, so include as many as possible to give your customer their favored option. Credit cards are the obvious one, but services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay are on the rise and should also be considered. Parting with money is difficult at the best of times and statistics by Control show that 50% of customers would cancel their purchases if their preferred payment method wasn’t available.

9. Create exit-intent popups
Exit-intent popups can be added to any web page and are activated when a user is about to hit the “back” or “close” button. Convincing someone to stay requires drastic action and spending some money is the best way to do it. Add a popup that displays a discount on a product in their basket to encourage them to finish the purchase. Digital guru, Neil Patel, tested this and saw a 46% increase in conversions, so there are certainly benefits to be gained.

10. Incorporate product comparisons
A study by McAfee showed that 37% of people abandon shopping carts because they wanted to compare products before buying. It’s easy to say you’ve got the cheapest or best product, but all your competitors will be saying the same thing. You need to actually prove it by showing comparisons of your product against competitors. This can also be used against some of your own products if you want to upsell customers to a more premium item.

11. Promote scarcity
Scarcity, or fear of missing out (FOMO to all the cool kids), creates a sense of urgency in the customer to buy now or risk losing out on an amazing offer. Tactics include showing how many of the 
has been sold, are in stock, or how much time remains on a discount. Tying back into the customer’s hatred for shipping costs, WhichTestWon found that using limited-time shipping offers can also boost sales. This can be seen in the picture below, where the one the left improved conversions by 226% simply by placing a limited time offer.

Final word
While it’s impossible to completely eradicate shopping cart abandonment, the measures above will help you keep the figure as low as possible. Customers are aware of every detail when parting with their hard-earned cash and even the smallest thing can put them off completing the purchase. This is even more prevalent if someone hasn’t bought from you before. In the end, providing a positive experience will lead to repeat purchases and, ultimately, more customers.

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