Lower Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
By: Jessica Chestnut
Many of us have been guilty of it. You’re browsing through stores online, looking to purchase something at a great deal. You find the item, add it to the cart, and proceed to the checkout. However, something (shipping costs? unsecure site?) stops you from completing the transaction, so instead, you close the site without making the purchase. This is known as shopping cart abandonment, and it’s a common issue that eCommerce sites are working to address.
It’s estimated that shopping cart abandonment rates vary between 50 – 70% (depending on what study you look at). Regardless of the exact number, this still reflects an extremely high number of shoppers that are not completing their transactions, and as a result, it’s costing retailers billions each year. It’s important to know the rate for your shopping cart as well as understand the potential factors behind the abandonment in hopes of increasing your sales.
Calculate your shopping cart abandonment rate with the following formula:
1 - (number of orders completed / number of shopping carts created*) = percentage of carts not converted into orders. Imagine you ran a website that sold shoes. In one day, 45 orders were completed, but 80 shopping carts were created. Using the formula above, your shopping cart abandonment rate would be 1 - (45 / 80) = .44 (just below the average).
If your percentage of abandoned carts seems high, there are a number of ways you can improve the shopping experience for your customers:
Double/triple check that your shopping cart is easy-to-use: Is it a smooth transition from adding an item to the cart and checking out, or are there bumps along the way? Go through the process of purchasing a product from start to finish. Try it on a desktop computer as well as a mobile device, and on a couple of different browsers. Then, ask a friend to try it and see if they run into any issues along the way.
Keep it simple: If a customer has to peruse through an excessive amount of pages just to make a small purchase, it can often overwhelm them and drive them away. Too many options or fields on a page can also act as a deterrent. This can be especially true if someone is shopping on a smartphone, and has to enter numerous fields on a four-inch screen.
Let customers save the cart for later purchasing: With a “save cart” feature, the customer may not be buying immediately, but it may entice them back at a later date if you store their items. When they do return to the site (and login), remind them that there are saved items in their cart and hopefully this will encourage them to complete the transaction.
Post your return policy clearly: Almost two out of three online shoppers review the retailer’s return policy before making a purchase. Shoppers want the process to be easy to understand (and find), and will often ditch their carts if it’s nowhere to be found.
Be upfront with any additional costs: Nobody likes the surprise of seeing extra money tacked on to their purchase at the very last second. Transparency with any extra charges (freight, handling, taxes, etc.) as early in the checkout process as possible goes a long way, even if it’s just an estimate.
Entice shoppers with free shipping: Everyone loves something for free, and free shipping is no exception. Even if you only provide it on certain items (for example, smaller or lightweight items with lower freight charges), it may help drive repeat business. If you offer free shipping for purchases over a certain amount, make it clear if the total purchase qualifies.
Provide shipping dates: Shipping dates definitely prove to be an issue with abandoned carts. While shoppers do leave if they feel the delivery date is too far out (typically over a week), many bail because an estimated date is not provided at all. Giving your customers an idea as to when to expect their purchase helps to improve conversion.
Offer “guest” checkout capability: Some shoppers do not wish to create an account through every site that they purchase from (or are not comfortable having their information stored). By offering “guest” checkout (no account necessary), you may be able to close on more purchases.
Let customers review their purchase: A “review” screen showing all products, charges, and customer information right before the transaction is complete assures the customer that they are getting exactly what they wanted, and at an expected price.
Show that your site and cart is secure: Credit card theft and identity fraud has left some hesitant to purchase online. Displaying the logos of your SSL providers can help reassure customers that their information is safe in your site, from the time they start browsing, all the way to check out.
Make changes to improve your website, and check your abandonment rate again in a few months to see if it’s decreased. Happy customers often turn out to be repeat customers, so do not be afraid to go out of your way to improve their shopping experience.
*Find the number of shopping carts created on your eCommerce site by checking your session funnels and goals in Google Analytics. Click here to learn how to review funnels and goals in Google Analytics (or set them up if you haven't already).
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