June 8, 2022

Improve Your Shopping Cart Abandonment [6 Clever Fixes From Ecomm Experts]

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Cart abandonment hurting your bottom line? You’re not alone. Read up on how to improve your abandonment rate.

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Ryan Shaw
Director of Growth

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There’s one challenge all ecommerce brands face no matter the stage of maturity (whether you’re at one million GMV or ten!): Cart abandonment.

It’s estimated that ecommerce brands lose $18 billion in sales revenue each year because of visitors up and leaving their digital shopping bags.

And while it’s a widespread problem, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Today, we’ll dive into why customers abandon carts and what you can do now to mitigate this (and recuperate sales!).

Here we go!

Skip ahead:

So, what is cart abandonment?

Let’s start things off with a quick definition: Cart abandonment refers to shoppers leaving your site after adding items to their cart, but before initiating the checkout process.

This is different from checkout abandonment, which is when customers exit your site after starting to pay (e.g., completing partial payment info and then leaving the site).

Cart abandonment signals there are items someone’s interested in, but there’s friction in the buying process. There’s a good chance there is a leftover question—be it about the product, or objections on the price. Whereas checkout abandonment can often signal issues with the checkout experience and UX.

The stats on cart abandonment in ecommerce

When a potential (or returning) customer leaves your site before checkout, you lose revenue.

Here’s a look at the state of cart abandonment for ecommerce brands today:

  • The average cart abandonment rate is 69.8%: Put another way, about 70 of 100 shoppers will abandon carts. That’s a troubling number as an ecommerce operator, but you’re not alone with this challenge.
  • Mobile has the highest cart abandonment rate at 85.6%: Even though mobile commerce is expected to account for more than 10% of retail sales in the US by 2025, it’s the channel with the highest cart abandonment rate. Why? Mobile site performance may be a factor. The average mobile site takes 15.3 seconds to load, which is too long of a wait for the majority of customers.
  • 17% of US online shoppers have abandoned carts in the last quarter due to a lengthy checkout process: Customers ready to purchase don’t want to jump through too many hoops. Although it’s a different but related issue, simplifying your checkout experience to involve fewer steps can improve your cart abandonment rate.

#cta-visual-pb#Create custom product pages that convertSee how you can build engaging site pages that drive revenue for your brand.Learn more

Why do customers abandon online shopping carts in the first place?

There are so many reasons why shoppers leave their cart before checking out. It could be a handful of factors—or one tipping point—causing them to leave.

Let’s look at some of the most common factors that send shoppers away from ecommerce sites.

Poor site speed/performance

70% of shoppers say that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from a brand. What’s more, 55% of customers expect a brand’s site to load in four seconds or fewer.

If your site performance is clocking in at anything over two seconds per page load, it could be the reason why shoppers bounce after they filled up a cart with you.

Shogun Frontend site speed

Many scaling DTC brands are transforming their sites into progressive web apps (PWAs) to improve the speed of their ecommerce experience and combat cart abandonment (among other issues).

PWAs reduce data fetching compared to traditional websites, so they can offer lightning-fast browsing experiences—much like a native app.

Additional costs revealed at checkout

No one likes learning about additional fees once they reach checkout. Even unintentionally (or innocently) surprising customers with additional costs could cause them to bounce.

But it’s not just additional fees you have to consider…it’s just how high those additional fees are to your customers’ total.

48% of shoppers say they’ll leave a cart if the extra costs at checkout seem too high.

For example, Tasmanian boot company, Blundstone, offers high-quality boots but, depending on where you live, the shipping or taxes might be fairly substantial.

Blundstone checkout experience
Calculating order shipping on Blundtone.com

Calculating order shipping on Blundtone.com
After adding in a US shipping address in the first image and an Australian shipping address in the second, the total tax and shipping are calculated. Source: Blundstone

Consider how your brand’s ecommerce experience is set up to present additional fees so as not to spring them on a shopper—more on that later!

Lack of trust in your brand

You already know how important customer trust is to your brand’s success. Without it, it’s difficult to get customers to convert—whether they don’t feel confident in your brand or site.

In fact, 18% of shoppers say they’ll abandon a cart because they didn’t trust a site with their credit card information.

Adding payment options, trust badges, customer reviews, and other trust signals can help establish your legitimacy and shopper confidence at checkout.

Children’s watch brand, Blok Watches, includes multiple payment options like Apple Pay, Shop Pay, and more. Customers have the choice to choose one of these methods or manually enter their credit card information. Giving shoppers the choice of their payment preference and offering legitimate payment options establishes trust.

Blok Watches checkout window
Source: Blok Watches

Complexity of the checkout process

Have you ever tried to buy something, and the checkout is just…too much?

Whether you aren’t sure if you’ve added items to your cart, it’s unclear where to add your credit card information, there are errors with data entry/required fields, or checkout isn’t optimized for mobile, a complicated checkout process can send would-be customers running.

Plus, the average checkout flow contains 23 elements like name, address, etc. That’s a lot for customers to jump through! Especially if they’re not 100% convinced this is as convenient as an Amazon.com experience.

By simplifying your checkout experience (namely, the number of form fields you absolutely need or signaling easy progress), you can help keep your customers on track.

What else can DTC brands do to reduce online shopping cart abandonment?

While some factors are in your control and others are not (like visitors getting interrupted while shopping on the go).

Let’s look at several ways real ecommerce marketers from top brands say you can minimize ecommerce cart abandonment.

1. Anticipate and answer customer questions before they ask

Customers are thinking about a lot of specifics as they shop.

  • Will this fit right?
  • Is this the quality I’m looking for?
  • Will this solve my problem?
  • Will this cost a small fortune to ship to me?

Molly Becker, the Director of Retention and Customer Experience at Perfect Keto, says it’s best to get in front of those questions by answering them within your shopping experience:

“Our goal is to provide an answer to every single one of those questions. Each pain point should be clearly addressed, and with a good response. Address the top FAQs on the PDP, don’t hide shipping costs, display your return policy, and have a live agent available to answer questions. We have an older demo so that last one really comes in handy for us.”

Perfect Keto product page
This product page from PerfectKeto.com includes lots of relevant details—like shipping fee threshold, details on subscriptions, etc.—without cluttering up the shopping experience. Source: Perfect Keto

Echoing Molly is Tabish Bhimani, the Director of Retention Marketing at Mastrat Digital, who says customer education is key to reducing cart abandonment:

“Front-load customers with education and value from the minute they land on your site. For example, if you offer free shipping, a money-back guarantee, or any other benefit, let the customer know in their cart or at checkout. It could be a ribbon on top of the page, or a slide out.”

Weaving education and information throughout your ecommerce experience without overwhelming customers is key. When thinking about adding a feature or detail, ask, “Will this add value to the shopping experience?”

2. Create a trustworthy (and fast-loading!) ecommerce experience

With a lack of trust being a huge part of what sends customers running instead of purchasing, it’s important to build an ecommerce experience signaling you are a legitimate brand.

There are several components that establish trustworthiness, including:

  • Fast site performance: Sites that load in two seconds or less see a 15% higher conversion rate, so improving your site performance and speed could have a direct impact on your bottom line.
  • Engaging visuals: With 38% of customers citing outdated or poor website design as the reason they’ll leave an ecommerce site, high-converting design should be a top priority. High-res photos, sleek background videos, and other visual elements can take a shopping experience from “meh” to “amazing.”
  • Trust signals: Adding trust signals like payment options, security logos, customer service options, and FAQ sections can make shoppers feel at ease while browsing your site and build their confidence in you.

#cta-visual-pb#Create custom product pages that convertSee how you can build engaging site pages that drive revenue for your brand.Learn more

3. Send specific abandoned cart emails based on shopper behavior

It’s a proven fact that cart abandonment emails are impactful. And sending three cart abandonment emails results in 69% more orders than just one single email. Persistence matters!

What’s more, 63% of customers say they never respond to non-personalized emails.

So, even if you have an abandonment sequence set up, it could be worth auditing for personalization.

Greg Zakowicz, Senior Ecommerce Expert at Omnisend, recommends personalizing these emails beyond customer name:

“Let’s say you’re a brand that offers free shipping over $35. The messaging, and even incentive, you want to communicate to those under this threshold is likely different from those who abandoned a $200 cart. After all, the reason they abandoned is likely different,” says Greg. “Now, if you either don’t offer free shipping or always offer free shipping, consider using AOV as your threshold.”

“For those under the threshold, I would prominently call out value-adds that likely matter to this shopper, like the fact they get free shipping if they reach the threshold. You can also add product recommendations—or even top-rated products—in your messages can help guide them toward increasing their cart total. Again, we are helping them reach a threshold,” says Greg.

The days of the simple “Hey, you forgot this” cart abandonment email are gone!

In addition to personalized abandoned cart emails, consider automating them, too. Devin Pickell, Growth Marketing Manager at Privy, says when it comes to automating these messages, be sure to bring the value:

“If you have an email or SMS contact that is browsing your online store and decides to leave without finishing their purchase, you can automate these comms to send with a link to their saved cart. You can even provide a limited-time coupon to sweeten the deal. We know, statistically, these will be some of your highest-engaging marketing comms you can send to customers.”

4. Consider the entire customer journey from start to finish

Rather than thinking of everything pre- checkout as an isolated event, it helps to take a birds-eye approach.

How are customers experiencing your entire site? And how does this then inform your checkout process or cart abandonment strategy?

Molly Becker says brands should be proactive about cart abandonment prevention before customers are on your site:

“Cart abandonment can start long before someone gets to your site. It’s important to always remember the entire funnel. Zoom out and ask yourself how are these shoppers landing here? Are we going after the right audience? Are we putting too much attention into the wrong channel? Which traffic source has the highest conversion rate? Does our paid creative manage expectations? It’s all connected.

Look for actionable gaps in your customer journey and see how those might impact your checkout (and shopping experience as a whole).

5. Get intentional about your checkout process

As we got into prior, there’s a lot that goes into a checkout experience. You need to balance offering enough information in as few steps as possible, or you risk customers leaving your site.

Logan Grasby, ecommerce lead at healthy meal subscription company, Inspired Go, says his team put a big focus on the structure of their checkout experience, specifically around the steps they take:

“Small changes of your cart page or your checkout process can really impact cart abandonment. I’ll give you an example: One thing we figured out was that once customers got to our cart page and realized they wanted to make a change to their order, that was tough to do. They were seeing a summary of their order for the first time on their cart page, which was leading to cart abandonment. So we built a side drawer with a link out to the cart page to show the summary earlier, which has made an impact.”

Inspired Go checkout process
Source: Inspired Go

It’s about creating an experience that, by the time they start to checkout, makes them feel like they have made the best purchase decision. They feel like they understand their options and they’re ready to go through checkout.” 

6. Don’t forget about post-purchase touchpoints

It’s important for customers to feel confident and aware of what’s happening during the purchase process, but what about after they purchase?

Tabish Bhimani says it’s important for brands to keep customers in the loop long after they buy:

“In any relationship, a customer wants to know what happens next. Tell them! First, tell them they’ve made a good decision and reinforce this with a number (e.g., “You’ve joined a community of 30,000 people!”), or other social proof. Then, tell them what happens next. When will you ship their order? How long will it take to ship? How do I keep track of my order? What do I do if it’s delayed?”

These communications go a long way. They cement trust in your brand, which is invaluable.

Reducing online cart abandonment in ecommerce

As a scaling DTC brand, you’re moving fast. Every chance to recoup lost sales is one you want to take.

Reducing cart abandonment for your brand may require some trial and error, but once you have it down, the payoff can be huge.

#cta-visual-pb#Create custom product pages that convertSee how you can build engaging site pages that drive revenue for your brand.Learn more

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