How to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Increase Sales

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Increase Sales

Cart Abandonment is a sad fact of life for eCommerce retailers. As a customer, you’ve probably abandoned plenty of carts yourself. Most of the retailer wish that more people would actually complete a purchase instead of leaving their carts behind.

But can you do anything to reduce eCommerce cart abandonment, and get back some of those lost sales? Yes….you definitely can, but there are a lot of different techniques and areas to navigate and improve.

Reduce Cart Abandonment

In this article, we’ll give you in-depth guide to completely demystify eCommerce cart abandonment.

What is Cart Abandonment?

Let’s start with a definition of cart abandonment. Cart abandonment is, when online shoppers add items to the shopping cart and then leave your site before completing the sale. The term “abandonment” used in eCommerce, which include:

  • Booking Abandonment: When a customer starts booking accommodation or a flight and then backs out at the last minute without confirmation.
  • Browse Abandonment: Similar to cart abandonment, except in this case the customer doesn’t add any items to their virtual cart. They simply browse the website and then leave.
  • Form Abandonment: When a customer fails to finalize a quote, subscription, or product purchase because they’re required to complete a long form.

Each type of abandonment issue contributes to lost earnings and that is why it’s important to identify and correct them as soon as possible. Otherwise, your company risks losing out on a significant amount of revenue.

Why Cart Abandonment Matters

If your online store has a high cart abandonment rate, that means your customers started their purchasing journey but had second thoughts somewhere to purchase.

It’s possible that the customer’s decision to abandon their purchase was influenced by some factors which is outside your control. Perhaps they were conducting price research or decided they wanted to buy the product.

Cart abandonment rates vary depending on the business industry. Finance, travel, and nonprofit routinely have the highest cart abandonment rates, whereas, gaming and fashion are consistently low average.

Even within the same business industry, cart abandonment rates can vary depending on the sub-industry.

Cart Abandonment Rates Travel
Image Courtesy

The most important thing to remember is that your cart abandonment rates can be reduced by locating any contributing factors and working to correct them. Even a minor reduction in cart abandonment rates can significantly increase your profit margin.

Current eCommerce Cart Abandonment Averages

So, till now we’ve covered the basics of cart abandonment, how cart abandonment really matters on eCommerce. Now, let’s see the current eCommerce cart abandonment averages.

According to the research by Baymard Institute, the average eCommerce cart abandonment rate is 69 percent.

Cart Abandonment Rate

According to a reports by Barilliance, the average global cart abandonment rate rose from 77.24% in 2016 to 78.65% the following year. With more than 75% of online customers abandoning online purchases, it’s easy to see exactly how much cart abandonment can hamper on your company’s earning potential.

Cart abandonment rates are higher on mobile devices. According to Barillance’s data, the cart abandonment rate on desktop is 73 percent, on tablets 80.7 percent and on mobile phones 85.6 percent.

Barilliance Cart Abandonment Rates
Image Courtesy Barillance

But, why the mobile devices account for the majority of cart abandonment rates when more than half of all eCommerce traffic comes from smartphones and tablets?

According to a report by Addressey, most mobile users abandoned their shopping carts when their shopping experience felt inconvenient.

  • 39% of mobile users abandoned their carts after they had issues entering their personal and confidential information
  • 35% abandoned their cart because their screen is too small
  • 27% abandoned their cart due to problems entering their order properly

According to the report of Statista, the global cart abandonment average grew by nearly 16% over an 11-year period.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

Don’t worry, it’s not a totally lost cause. Baymard reckons that optimizing the checkout process can help your sites boost conversions by 35 percent. In fact, as a whole, eCommerce retailers could recover up to $260 billion in revenue with just a few improvements.

How Cart Abandonment Rates Vary By Industry

As we mentioned earlier, cart abandonment rates vary depending on the industry and also sub-industry. While cart abandonment happens to every type of business in eCommerce, some industries are affected by it more than others.

In the first quarter of 2018, the average cart abandonment rate was around 75.6%, while the travel and finance industries experienced cart abandonment rates above the global average.

Abandonment Rates by Industry

While there are various factors that influence cart abandonment rates, some of these industry-specific abandonment rates have to do with the nature of the purchasing journey in that particular industry. Fashion house has below-average abandonment rates largely because buying clothes is a quick and straightforward process, whereas finance purchases are often accompanied by lengthy applications that users may find overwhelming or frustrating.

Research and price comparison seem to be the two main reasons why the travel industry has high abandonment rates.

Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates Travel Industry

Top reasons for cart abandonment

There are a bunch of studies on the reasons for eCommerce cart abandonment.

Here is a list of the top causes of shopping cart abandonment.

1. Shipping costs and delivery times

Shipping is one of the major issue for many shoppers. According to the report of Walker Sands’ Future of Retail, 80 percent of shoppers cite free shipping as the primary incentive for online shopping. When the shipping isn’t free, they’re definitely show less interest. According to the study by Statista, 63 percent of American shoppers will abandon their carts if they discover that shipping charges are too high.

Related to that, shipping time is also a factor in eCommerce cart abandonment. Walker Sands shows that fast shipping motivates 54 percent of shoppers to buy. So, if a product is going to take too long to arrive, many shoppers will leave it in the shopping cart, and look for a quicker option.

Plus, shoppers hate hidden terms, if they find out the shipping costs only in the checkout process, it is another major turnoff. According to Statista report, around a quarter of shoppers will abandon shopping carts if they can’t easily figure out the shipping costs.

2. High pricing

Shipping costs aren’t the only costs that matter to customers. Price is also another factor.

Here’s the thing: visitors to your site don’t want to calculate what something is going to cost. If they can’t quickly and easily see what they owe they will leave the site and abandon.

In addition, if prices seem too high compared to other, shoppers will change their minds.

3. Visitors not ready to buy

A lot of people add items to their shopping carts just with their curicity. Since you can access your cart from any product page of most eCommerce sites, it’s a handy place to stash products you might want to buy. That doesn’t mean they’re actually ready to purchase.

Statista found that 40 percent of people are simply browsing and 38 percent of people are still researching. Some of those people might be back to make a checkout. But that’s only if there are no other options.

4. Poor website experience

eCommerce cart abandonment isn’t just about what happens at the checkout. The overall website experience of using has a big impact on whether people buy or abandon their carts. Here are few issues that come up.

According to Statista report, poor site navigation is an issue for 16 percent of online shoppers. It’s a definite turnoff when you land on a site and can’t easily find the items what you want to buy. Sure, on a fashion site, most visitor can probably look for men’s or women’s fashion, but how easy is it to dig down and find a particular brand?

Report by Baymard says that 20 percent of people will abandon their carts if the site crashes or has major errors.

5. Not mobile optimized

More and more people are shopping via their mobile and tablet devices, so mobile user experience is a vital consideration when it comes to reduce your eCommerce cart abandonment rate. According to the report by Walker Sands, around 85 percent of consumers have mobile shopping apps and 66 percent have used those apps to buy something. The rate of buyers starting purchases on desktops and completing them on mobile devices has increased by 259 percent.

As we mentioned earlier, the cart abandonment rate by mobile user is ridiculously high. Mobile device users will quickly abandon sites that aren’t mobile optimized and don’t load quickly. That problem will only get worse as customers come to expect a seamless cross-platform experience.

6. Checkout irritation

At checkout, there are a bunch of irritations that make people abandon their shopping carts. For example, Baymard report says that the need to create an account before buying is an issue for 37 percent of people for cart abandonment. Statista also agrees it, but cites a lower 22 percent.

But account creation isn’t the only the issue for shoppers. Complicated checkout processes are also likely to drive them away, too, especially if some parts of the process don’t work.

We’ll discuss how to solve some of the major checkout irritations in the section on fixing eCommerce cart abandonment.

7. Payment problems issue

Even when customers progress from the cart to the checkout process, there’s still a chance of disaster. According to Baymard report, 8% of people abandon checkouts because they don’t see the payment method they want or only 4% of people abandon because their credit card is declined.

And let’s not omit the mobile issue we mentioned earlier. With global mobile payments slated to surpass US$1 billion by 2019, and mobile payment methods widely accepted among younger customers, this is another payment issue waiting to affect to online retailers.

Finally, there’s another issue related to payment, it is trust. According to Baymard report, 19 percent of shoppers abandon carts because they don’t trust sites with their payment information

How to fix eCommerce Cart Abandonment Rate

Though, cart abandonment is a big problem, but it’s not an unfixable problem. Let’s look at some ways that you can easily apply to reduce your eCommerce cart abandonment rate.

1. Simplify and speed up the checkout page

A complicated checkout process and lengthy registration form to fill out are two of the main reason of high cart abandonment. Complicated and lengthy checkout process turn away potential customers from completing a purchase. Optimizing your checkout process leads to more completed purchase. This directly brings more sales for your eCommerce store.

Complicated design elements and unnecessary details tend to distract and slow down your customers on their path to purchase. They will also most likely to cause faults or errors. Your checkout should be intuitive, seamless, and effortless enough for customers to move past the shopping cart and complete their transaction. Your registration form should also be practical, simple, functional should not include any unnecessary fields.

You can add a checkout progress bar during checkout process to serve as a visual indicator of where your customers are. It also helps relieve your customer’s possible impatience since they have an idea if they’re near to completion the process.

Checkout progress bar

2. Offer guest checkout or social login

Customers tend to get frustrated when you force them to register at the checkout process. According to the research by Baymard Institute, around 34% of customers abandoned their carts because they are forced to register an account.

Encouraging your visitors to register is a good lead generation technique, it can also impact on your cart abandonment rate because of their unwillingness to perform the additional step. To address this, offer a guest checkout or a social log-in option. A guest checkout will help your customers complete their purchase more conveniently without the need to create an account.

Alternatively, you can also offer your shoppers with social log-ins like registering using their Facebook or google accounts. This speeds up the registration process because they won’t have to fill out lengthy forms which your visitors are impatient to do.

Guest Checkout or Social Log-in

3. Build trust and authenticity

Your online store’s credibility and authenticity play a vital role in instilling trust and confidence in your customer’s decision-making process. They always want to make sure that your online store is reputed and legitimated. This is because they share their personal and confidential data with you.

You can build your website’s credibility by displaying visible trust icons. According to a survey, the most trusted security badges are the following: Norton (35.6%), McAfee (22.9%), and TRUSTe (13.2%). The full list is as under:

Trust badges

You can also provide reassurance to your customers by adding social proofs in your websites such as testimonials and positive reviews from your previous buyers. According to Beymour, more than 70% leave a positive review and trust the business.

Beside this, you can also display social proofs by displaying a popup message telling your site visitors that other customers are also looking at the item they’ve added in the cart or that a recent purchase was made for the similar product.

Recent Purchase

4. Offer free shipping

Shipping cost is an issue for so many shoppers, this only could make a huge difference to revenue. If customers have to choose between sites that offer free shipping, and those that don’t, you can guess which one they’ll pick.

But here’s is the solution. Offer free shipping. Don’t put the info in the footer of your site where shoppers need a microscope to find it. Use a big, bold banner on your home page and at the top of every single page.

But be careful when offering free shipping. For most businesses, you shouldn’t loss on free shipping. You have to make sure that you have enough margin on your products to cover those shipping costs. One easiest way to do that is to offer a threshold. Threshold means only offer free shipping when cart size reaches a specific dollar amount. If the margin on one product doesn’t cover the shipping costs, a cart with two or three items to reach the threshold might, in aggregate, have enough margin to make it work. Do the calculation and make sure you’re not losing money by offering free shipping.

If you use a free shipping threshold, let customers know when they qualify, or how much more they need to spend to do so. Free shipping makes it five times as likely that shoppers will buy, so don’t hesitate to share this benefit.

5. Motivate customers to purchase

If shoppers aren’t ready to buy, you can motivate them to buy.

Robert Cialdini believes that there are six principles that guide people’s behavior:

  • Reciprocity – if you give something you will get something back.
  • Scarcity – if there’s less of something to go around, customer want it more
  • Authority – if you’re expert, people trust you more
  • Consistency – when customer make a commitment, they like to follow through
  • Liking – if people like you, or think you’re similar to them, they will say yes
  • Consensus – being guided by the behavior and actions of other visitors

You can integrate these into the website experience to increase conversions and reduce cart abandonment. Here are some ways eCommerce retailers can do this:

  • Free shipping is a prime example of reciprocity
  • Time limited sales, discounts and offering coupons use the principle of scarcity
  • Build authority by using content marketing and SEO
  • Achieve consistency by asking questions visitor can say yes to. For example if you ask: “Do you want to save time on household chores”, and people say yes, they’re prepared to follow through with positive action
  • You can be likable by injecting personality into your email messages
  • Shopper reviews help use the principle of consensus

By using these above principles throughout your website, you can make cart abandonment less likely.

► Improve the CTA

The call to action (CTA) is also very essential. We’re not just discussing about the “add to cart” and “checkout now” buttons. It’s also important to have other CTAs that get customers to product pages, and even encourage them to buy more.

CTAs have to inspire the action. Even though they’re very often short, they’ll:

  • Include action words/verbs like “buy,” “shop,” or “get”
  • Use urgency words like “now” or “today”
  • Highlight the value or benefit like “free PDF,” “expert training,” and so on

6. Offer additional payment gateways

According to report, 25% of customers abandoned their cart due to the lack of a preferred payment method. If you want to reduce cart abandonment rate, then you should offer at least two to three different payment methods to provide your customers with good alternatives.

In addition to debit and credit payments, you can also offer non-traditional payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe to accommodate your digital buyers. A variety of payment gateways can help you cater to a wide number of customers and prevent them from abandoning their carts due to lack of preferred payment gateway.

7. Mobile Optimization

Mobile optimization is essential to reduce the cart abandon rate. But what exactly does it mean in terms of eCommerce cart abandonment?

Image Courtesy

The whole shopping experience has to work on mobile platform if you want to minimize cart abandonment. That means:

  • Looking after site speed; a page load time over 3 seconds will drive visitors away
  • Using mobile-friendly navigation, that means navigation that lets people tap, pinch, and zoom rather than having to click
  • Making it easy to add items to the cart and pay for them with a mobile payment option

Try checking out your site on your own mobile device and see if you hit any bottlenecks.

8. Use SEO

Wondering what search engine optimization (SEO) relate with cart abandonment rate? Have you ever searched for any product, clicked on a link, then headed back to the search engine because it wasn’t that what you wanted? We have too. That’s called “pogo-sticking,” and it’s bad for your site ranking.

The thing is, how well you’ve optimized your product page for search informs Google and searchers what they’ll find on your site. If they find what you promise, then they’ll most likely buy it.

So make sure you provide accurate product descriptions according to the pages and images—that means more happy customers, and more sales.

And if you want to future proof the shopping experience, optimize your online store so visitors can shop by voice.

9. Support the sale

If people face a problem during the completion of purchase, offer a little bit of support at the right time can help them to complete the transaction. For example, you can:

  • Guide them through the purchase with on-screen help chat and message button
  • Provide FAQs, so they can troubleshoot any errors by themselves
  • Offer live chat, so customers can talk to a real person about their concerns

The last one is very important. According to the statistics by superoffice, 30% of customers now expect to have live chat on website. And that number is just double if the customer is using a mobile device. Live chat also brings back repeat customers and boosts average order value.

You can also use popups to encourage customers to get in touch if they have questions. With the right incentive, you’ll provide a service for them and get contact details—those’ll bring a fruitful result later.

10. Send cart abandonment emails

If all things fail and your customers still abandon their carts, you can still drive them back to your site by sending cart abandonment emails. Sending cart abandonment emails can help you remind them of the items they left.

You can also make your cart abandonment emails to be more compelling by offering discounts to drive your customers back to your site and complete their transaction.

Start Reducing eCommerce Cart Abandonment Rate Today

While there are various reasons why customers choose to abandon their shopping purchase, a significant portion of them can be prevented by optimizing your online store, making the sales process much quicker, secure, and more efficient.

Instead of looking at cart abandonment as something that’s bad for your business, see it as an opportunity to connect with your shoppers. Re-marketing emails, social media engagement, and personalized loyalty programs go a long way in helping you to recover abandoned carts, while also increasing brand loyalty among your potential customers.


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