“Shopping cart abandonment is the single largest obstacle for Ecommerce retailers to overcome,” says Wordstream.

In 2015, Business Insider estimated that approximately four trillion dollars worth of merchandise would be abandoned in online shopping carts during that year. No doubt, that number has increased as more consumers switch to online and mobile shopping.

In fact, Wordstream cites more recent data from Listrak (a retail marketing firm that tracks shopping cart abandonment) indicating that the average rate at which consumers abandon their shopping cart prior to making a purchase is 81%. 

Wordstream suggests the following 8 tactics (among others) in winning the battle against shopping cart abandonment to boost conversions and help you recover lost sales:

1. Make Sure Your Transaction Forms Establish Trust

Your business’s transaction forms are a vital tool in establishing and building trust in your brand.

When you ask your customers to fill out a transaction form, you’re asking them to trust you with their personal information, including contact details and financial identity.

Studies indicate that over 60% of consumers won’t make a purchase if trust logos are missing or unrecognizable. Placing trust icons in a prominent position near your transaction forms will help consumers feel more secure about shopping with you, as well as handing over their payment information.

2. Offer Consumers Multiple Payment Options

“You don’t want anything – anything – to come between your customers and a satisfying, rewarding, and ultimately seamless shopping experience,” says Wordstream.

Image Source: Wordstream

But if you’re only offering one payment option, you’re creating unnecessary purchase barriers that may prevent potential sales.

While payment via credit card seems to be the norm, some customers may prefer to make transactions via PayPal, or through other mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Keep in mind, too, that forcing customers to create an account in order to buy goods from your store can be a major obstacle in getting them to complete the purchase process. An Invesp study revealed that not offering consumers a guest checkout option is one of the leading causes of shopping cart abandonment.

By offering more payment choices, you’ll reduce—and perhaps eliminate—a potential reason for consumers to abandon their cart and shop elsewhere. Yes, more payment options will mean more inconvenience for you, but it’s all about giving customers what they want, isn’t it?

3. Boost Page Load Times

Ecommerce shopping cart conversion rates drop 7% for every one-second delay in your page loading time, according to Visual Website Optimizer. If your checkout pages are slow to load, you risk losing impatient shoppers to the competition.

All website elements should be optimized for quality and speed so consumers can quickly load your pages and find what they need. You may also want to consider limiting the use of social plugins, ad network trackers, etc. to help your web pages load faster.

While there’s not much you can do about the delay between a customer clicking the “Place Order” button and financial institutions or payment providers processing their transaction, you can use visual clues (like a loading bar or process indicator) to let customers know that something is happening behind the scenes. This way, customers aren’t left to wonder whether they were successfully able to place their order or not.

4. Make it Easy to Navigate Between Store & Cart

Image Source: Wordstream

The easier it is for customers to move between their cart and your store, the more likely they are to stick with the purchasing process all the way through checkout. Customers should be able to navigate from cart to store without having to click the “Back” button. Otherwise, you risk losing them to more agile sites.

You’ll also want to make it simple for customers to save—and / or return to—their carts. Your site should be logical and intuitive, with convenient navigation options between your checkout and product pages.

The more effortless it is for customers to navigate through your site, the greater the odds are that they’ll make a purchase.

5. Be Upfront About All Costs (particularly shipping)

Have you ever loaded up your online shopping cart expecting to pay one price, only to discover that you’re being slapped with hidden costs and unexpected fees? Like most consumers, you probably weren’t too happy about it.

According to data from UPS, when it comes to costs associated with online retail, shipping costs are universally the most despised. So loathed, in fact, that it’s the single biggest reason for shopping cart abandonment.

Consumers also tend to be extremely sensitive about how shipping costs are presented. This means you need to be as clear and upfront as possible about any costs associated with a customer purchase. You’ll also want to provide them with a delivery estimate so they have a good idea when they can expect to receive their order.

6. Make Sure Your Checkout Pages Include a Strong Call to Action

Do you have calls to action on your checkout pages? As Wordstream points out, many retailers assume that if consumers have added products to their cart, they won’t require any further incentive to buy them. But check out pages are actually prime real estate for strong, clear calls to action that strengthen the resolve of the prospect to complete their purchase.

Make sure that the messaging of your CTAs is consistent with your site and marketing materials.  If you’re trying to create a sense urgency, for example, continue this pressure all the way to the checkout. You should also use appropriate CTAs based on where the customer is in the purchasing process.

The goal here is to provide a seamless experience from discovery through purchase, so don’t suddenly change the tone of your CTAs on your checkout pages. Be sure to use clear, decisive language that prompts the customer to take the desired action (BUY NOW!).

7. Offer An Ironclad, Money-Back Guarantee

“Hesitation and uncertainty are the mortal enemies of Ecommerce retailers,” says Wordstream. One of the best ways to conquer hesitation in online shoppers is to offer a money-back guarantee.

Because consumers can’t actually “see” what they’re buying, except for the images they view on your site, there is a huge amount of trust involved with the transaction process, especially when consumers are sending you their credit card information before they receive anything.

Offering a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee reduces the potential obstacles a prospect might have about buying from you. Take a cue from Zappos, who offers a generous returns policy (365 days to make a return and free return shipping), and show your customers how much you care with a bold return policy of your own. Make sure your Money-Back guarantee is in a prominent place somewhere in your checkout process to help overcome hesitation in potential customers.

Image Source: Moz

8. Recover Abandoned Purchases with Remarketing

Wordstream’s best tip for winning the battle against shopping cart abandonment is to “accept that some customers will inevitably abandon their carts, and go after them with remarketing campaigns later.”

If you’re not retargeting shoppers who came close to purchasing, you’re essentially limiting yourself to one shot at getting consumers to convert in a single session which, as Wordstream points out, is almost impossible in today’s multichannel retail environment.

According to Business Insider, you can reduce the rate of abandonment and increase conversions by retargeting shoppers with emails after they’ve left a website. In fact, initial emails, sent three hours after a consumer abandons a cart, average a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate.

There are various methods of remarketing, but the most important thing is that you do it! Remarketing helps you recover potential customers that might otherwise be lost for good.

Conclusion

With online consumers ditching their carts at a rate of 81% before completing their purchases, shopping cart abandonment is the single largest obstacle for Ecommerce retailers to overcome, according to Wordstream.

“But it’s also a huge opportunity,” says Business insider. In fact, of the approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise estimated to have been abandoned in online shopping carts in 2015, about 63% of that was potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers.

If you focus on finding ways (like the 8 tips mentioned above) to reduce hesitation and fear, establish trust, and remind consumers why they wanted to buy from you through remarketing campaigns, you’ll have a much better shot at winning the battle against shopping cart abandonment and recovering lost sales.

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software.

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