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10 Tips to Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

June 28, 2021 By: Alex Torres

To drive conversion rates and revenues, companies need to come up with a strategy plan to decrease shopping cart abandonment. 

As online shoppers, every single one of us has eagerly added a new T-shirt or a snazzy pair of shoes to our online shopping cart, only to find ourselves rage clicking on the checkout button and refreshing the browser when the transaction fails to go through. 

Across industries such as finance, nonprofit, travel, retail, fashion, politics, and gaming, cart abandonment rates average almost 70%, with a typical range of 60%-80%. 

While these numbers might seem high, they make sense. Most online shoppers are window shopping, comparing prices, saving items for later, exploring gift ideas, or searching for a specific product without a specific e-commerce vendor in mind.   

In fact, today’s online shoppers rarely make a purchase on their first visit to a website. 

And if online shoppers encounter severe glitches or bugs on their first visit to a website, they might just end up going to a competitor’s.

The Shift to Digital First 

Post pandemic, consumers continue to do most of their shopping online. Even people who decide to pick up their purchase in-store are using mobile apps and websites to complete transactions. 

Thanks to the pandemic, “workflows that might have been done off the computer or mobile device” have suddenly become a part of the digital experience, according to Rob Miller of TechCrunch. The tech reporter also notes, “You can see how all of that activity could be and is being digitized along with other workflows as the situation demands it, and the amount of opportunity that could exist there.”

The boom in e-commerce also means that shoppers are spending much more time online searching for necessities, and much less time perusing the websites of individual stores. 

For each fraction of a second that it takes for a web page to load, the user’s likelihood of abandoning the cart increases. A lag of just a few milliseconds can lead to millions of dollars in lost annual profits. It’s no secret that digital shoppers hate waiting in line for the virtual register.

Retailers and e-commerce companies are feeling more pressure to make the checkout process faster, especially on sites selling daily essential products like groceries, toiletries, and medicine. 

The first time that customers visit a website, they generally experience higher rates of struggle and friction, simply because they are less familiar with the platform. Websites that are not optimized for digital conversions are more likely to deter new customers from navigating beyond the landing page. 

Studies show that familiarity with a website reduces product search time, an important point that companies should keep in mind as they decide whether to make significant changes to their user interfaces, which can confuse consumers and increase the likelihood of cart abandonment.

To help your team prepare, we have compiled our top 10 tips to decrease shopping cart abandonment and optimizing conversion rates so that your business can avoid leaving any money on the table. 

1. Optimize product pages for conversion

When online shoppers land on a product page and leave without adding the item to their wishlist or cart, your website’s product page abandonment rate has increased. 

People often abandon a product page without interacting with it because they are not getting the information they need, or because the website is not user friendly. 

If your product page abandonment rate is high, consider adding features to your product pages that could drive engagement, such as adding multiple product photos from every angle, high-resolution images, or animations. 

Better yet, include images or videos that show how people use and benefit from the product. 

On the other hand, maybe your product page is cluttered with too much information or too many images, so much so that it’s tricky for shoppers to find the “Add to Cart” button. Your product page should make it crystal clear how to navigate from an individual item to the shopping cart.  

2. Declutter workflows

The time that it takes for a shopper to arrive on a landing page and complete a transaction depends on how many elements are included in your product’s workflow.

In general, you should aim to keep workflows as efficient as possible. It’s no surprise that Amazon, which allows most customers to checkout in just 1 or 2 clicks, has an exceptionally high conversion rate.

Although some e-commerce checkout flows contain a whopping 20+ elements, an optimized checkout flow for driving conversions can be as short as 12-14 elements (7-8 if you’re only counting form fields). 

There are countless ways to tidy up your website’s workflow. 

For example, you might consider 1) trimming down the website’s copy to include only essential information or 2) combining two separate form fields (e.g., “First” and “Last Names”) into one field (e.g., “Full name”). 

To expedite the check out process, think about offering autofill and saved options for returning customers. You might also create an error message that explains what went wrong when a shopper types something inaccurate into a form, such as not including enough characters or entering the wrong zip code. 

More importantly, your shoppers should be able to navigate through the website without accidentally hitting other elements, so buttons should be easy to tap and clearly labeled. 

And if possible, create an optimized 1-page checkout system. Your customers will thank you later.

3. Label workflows clearly 

To help your customers keep track of where they are in the workflow, it’s helpful to include progress indicators on the checkout page. 

This is especially important for ensuring that shoppers do not confuse the “Order Summary Page,” which appears right before checkout, with the “Thank You” or “Receipt” page, which comes after shoppers enter their credit card information, select their shipping address, and complete the transaction.  

4. Retain first-time customers

For first-time customers, workflows that involve an arduous registration process can create an even larger headache. 

Many people will leave a site when they realize they must create an account, rather than simply input an email address. Mandatory account creation, especially choosing a username and password, can severely delay shoppers, especially if they need to confirm their account information via email or text message (SMS). 

To mitigate these problems, consider integrating the registration into the checkout form. Or offer guest checkout options for those one-time visitors.

5. Provide security assurances 

When it comes to security, some retailers have developed a bad reputation. 

According to Digital Commerce 360, 62% of consumers reported not being confident about the security of their data with retailers, while 43% have reportedly been victims of fraudulent retail chargers. A slim majority of those who have been victims said that the security breach negatively impacted their view of the retailer (and consequently, the brand’s reputation). 

Glitchy, buggy websites almost immediately raise security concerns, especially since most people are already skeptical about forking over their personal information to retailers. 

Similarly, slow websites might lead people to think that they will get double charged or that the payment will fail. Online shoppers are far more likely to abandon their carts if they have to re-enter their credit card or shipping information.  

To help ease the concerns of suspicious shoppers, include trust badges or other proof that your payment system is safe to help decrease shopping cart abandonment. 

Certification and trust badges from Norton, Stripe, and other third-party providers help your company to build trust with customers by demonstrating that you’re committed to counteracting identity theft and other cyber security issues.

Smaller businesses, especially those that lack brand recognition, might also think about adding customer reviews or testimonials as well, especially if they link to a third-party service.

6. Offer promotions

There’s no better way to drive customers to your site than by alerting them, either via email or social media, of your company’s latest promotion. 

If you have a sale going onespecially a major Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotion—it might be worthwhile to add a countdown timer on your website’s banner. A countdown timer creates a sense or urgency, reminding shoppers that they should complete a transaction before the sale ends. 

While promotions can drive conversion rates and sales, be sure that your discount/promo codes actually work. 

7. Rescue customers

You might be able to rescue an abandoned cart by following up with frustrated customers, depending on the situation.

Many e-commerce sites include a phone number or a live chat box so customers can speak with an agent when something goes wrong. If there’s a major error in the user interface that is making it impossible to securely enter payment information, an agent might be able to complete a transaction for your customers. 

Some apps have pop-ups to remind customers that they’re about to abandon their cart, giving them an opportunity to rethink whether they want to start their shopping experience over again.

Companies that capture shoppers’ email addresses before they abandon their carts can also follow up with cart abandonment emails in order to win back hard-to-get customers and decrease shopping cart abandonment rates in the future. Make sure those emails include an urgent subject line (with emotion), a rich graphic, and a clear CTA. 

The optimal time to send that cart abandonment email? About an hour or two after a shopper leaves the website. 

8. Remain transparent about refund policies, shipping, and taxes 

Any website or app should make it easy for shoppers to find and understand the company’s refund policy. If customers are uncertain whether they can return items or how to return items, they are more likely to abandon their carts, leading to a decrease in conversion rates. 

Unexpected or confusing shipping times can decrease shopping cart abandonment rates. As Covid-19 continues to upend supply chains and disrupt traditional shipping, companies must prioritize communicating any shipping delays so that they continue building trust with their customers.

In addition to clearly articulating refund and shipping policies, companies should make sure that customers can calculate the total cost of their ordersuch as shipping, taxes, and other fees—well before they make their payment. This is especially important for customers who are shopping abroad or with foreign currency.  

9. Check and update inventory settings

There’s nothing a customer dreads more than finally deciding on a new winter coat or pair of snow boats, only to receive an “Out of Stock” message or “This item is no longer available” error.

Some items never come back after they sell out, like exclusive high-end designer sneakers. But for items that are temporarily out of stock, companies can drive conversion rates by adding a “Temporary Unavailable” message that asks users if they want to be notified as soon as the item is back in stock. 

On the flip side, nothing drives customers to make a purchase more than the fear that the item they want most might sell out. Those “Only one left in stock” or “low stock” messages drive customers to act quickly (though you should only use these messages if it’s true—otherwise you risk breaching your loyal customer’s trust). 

Be sure that customers know whether items are available for delivery or for in-person pick-up only. Covid-19 has drastically impacted inventories across the country, and some websites show that an item is in stock, even if it’s only available thousands of miles away.

10. Monitor key KPIs and cart abandonment metrics 

A sure fire way to monitor your cart abandonment rate is to keep track of any sudden drops in checkout conversion rates and gross profit margins. Platforms like Quantum Metric help teams to identify sudden drops in checkout success. 

In addition, your team should carefully monitor other relevant KPIs, such as average order value (AOU), which is the average total price of every cart, as well as the item count in each abandoned cart and email capture rate. 

How Quantum Metric can help to decrease shopping cart abandonment rates

With Quantum Metric, the industry leader in CPD, teams can access analytics, session replays, end user segmentation tools, technical insights, anomaly detection intelligence, and data visualization, all in one place. This way, teams have access to a single version of truth that is easy to understand, quantified, and based on actual user experience. 

UX designers, IT/ops, software engineers, and other stakeholders are able to pair web and native app analytics with Quantum Metric’s high fidelity session replays so that they can better understand each user’s every move. Quantum Metric’s uniquely secure data capture method, device level encryption, ensures that any personal information is encrypted and secured. Sensitive data is encrypted on your customer’s device, so data is always encrypted when it is sent and stored.

Session replay can help teams to understand why the shoppers couldn’t complete the purchase. Believe it or not, it’s fairly common for teams to discover that the checkout button simply isn’t working. 

Quantum Metric customers have also used the platform to detect conversion-blocking API errors, rescue e-commerce customers at points of friction, uncover usability issues that impacted conversions, and evaluate promo code performance. 

If you’re interested in learning more about driving e-commerce conversions, read about our learnings from curbside pickup in the time of Covid-19.

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