10 Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

May 17, 2012 6:48 AM  By

On average, 75% of all possible online purchases never occur because visitors abandon their shopping carts. Numerous factors contribute to shopping cart abandonment, including high shipping rates, a desire to comparison shop, a lack of money, or the desire to look for a coupon, to name a few.

Want to learn more ways to avoid shopping cart abandonment? Check out this infographic from Monetate.

While there is no silver bullet for reducing shopping cart abandonment, online merchants that attack the issue from many angles will achieve the best results. The good news is that organizations have an arsenal of powerful strategies at their disposal, each designed to address specific reasons for shopping cart abandonment.

Here are 10 effective strategies you should try to keep cart abandonment rates low and conversion rates high.

Make the checkout seamless

Customers are easily distracted, so making the checkout process as seamless as possible will help win loyalty and land the sale. Shoppers are far less likely to abandon their carts when you allow them to check out in two to four easy steps, so make sure to use brevity and clarity when crafting your checkout forms.

Checkout forms and navigation should be as straightforward as possible, with all required fields labeled clearly. When the customer mistypes a phone number or email address—or skips a required field—create a message that indicates precisely which fields need modification and why. When everything looks complete, tell the customer.

Lastly, make sure to monitor data input in real time. For example, when a phone number looks good, a green check mark should appear. When an email isn’t formatted properly, serve a pop-up window that asks the customer to take a closer look.

Follow up

If a customer abandons their cart, send a follow up email that reminds them their order didn’t go through. Let them know that you’re available to help with a one- or two-part follow up email that says something along the lines of: “We noticed that your order didn’t go through on your recent visit to our website. Can we do anything to assist you in completing the order?”

In addition, you should let customers who abandon their carts know that you’re storing their items for later. The next time they return to the website, try using a lightbox to remind them of the items they previously selected and prompt them to complete their order.

Apologize when you need to

If a shopper makes a mistake during checkout, never place the blame on them. Apologize for the delay and explain with a clear message that your system couldn’t process their order. Then tell them how to fix it simply and clearly, whether it’s by completing a required field or retyping an email address. But most importantly, never leave them guessing, because a confused customer is a customer who likely won’t come back.

Show customers their progress

Customers don’t just like to be right—they also like to know where they stand during the checkout process. That’s why progress indicators are essential to reducing cart abandonment. Clearly number and label each step in the checkout process and give shoppers the opportunity to move back and forth among previous steps without getting lost.

Thumbnails

Research shows that the use of product thumbnail images in the shopping cart can increase conversions by as much as 10%. In addition to placing thumbnail images in the customer’s basket, you should also make sure items in the cart carry through promotional messaging from the product page.

Show shipping fees

Research from PayPal and comScore found that 46% of online shoppers say high shipping charges are a “very important reason” for abandoning their carts. If you’re offering shoppers a deal on shipping, display it prominently throughout the checkout process. It may make the difference in whether the shopper ultimately converts.

Display relevant recommendations

Product recommendation engines are powerful revenue boosters, especially if you test and optimize their visibility, location, and the types of products you display. One of the best ways to leverage upsell and cross-sell opportunities is at checkout, where you can recommend items based on what the shopper has already placed in their cart. When recommending products at checkout, make sure to abide by the following rules:

Let shoppers remain on the checkout page while reviewing recommended products. The best way to accomplish this is by making recommendations via interstitials, or pop-ups, that let the shopper’s primary order remain in full view.

Test the number of recommendations you make. Too many recommendations could unintentionally have the same effect on a customer as an overbearing salesperson in a brick and mortar store. Make sure to test and optimize your recommendations to arrive at the appropriate number.

Include bricks-and-mortar
Online buyers are constantly worried about how difficult it will be to return an item they purchased. In order to ease their worries and encourage the conversion, include clear and complete information on your return policy. If possible, give shoppers the opportunity to return items in person at a brick-and-mortar store, and use geotargeting capabilities to direct them to your nearest retail location.

Include testimonials
Shoppers love to hear what others have to say about the product they are about to buy. Therefore, you should include testimonials at checkout that speak to the product’s quality and value. But place them strategically: Testimonials on the right-hand side of your order form can increase conversions by up to 30%, and by up to 15% when placed directly beneath your opt-in box to add the visitor to your email list.

Increase your coupon intelligence
Online shoppers love to receive discounts, but if you give them the opportunity to enter a coupon code when they don’t have one, they’re more likely to abandon their cart and head over to Google to search for the code.

Research shows that 27% of people who abandoned their carts did so “to look for a coupon.” In order to mitigate this issue, make sure coupon code boxes appear only to shoppers who are likely to have the code. Shoppers that don’t have a coupon code are more likely to convert when the coupon box is hidden than when an empty box is staring them in the face.

Keep testing
With plenty of effective options for reducing shopping cart abandonment, it can be difficult to pinpoint which specific tactics will have the biggest impact on your business. However, the key to optimizing your shopping cart is to always test new ideas, iterate messages, and optimize towards the tactics that are proven to drive the best results.

Blair Lyonis vice president of marketing at Monetate.