Shopping cart abandonment refers to a customer leaving the checkout process after shopping around but before completing the purchase. The lost revenue from e-commerce shopping card abandonment takes a heavy toll on retailers. Learn the best ways to avoid shopping cart abandonment and gain customers.
How Does Shopping Cart Abandonment Hurt E-Commerce Retailers?
Online retailers lose billions in revenue to shopping cart abandonment annually. However, this abandonment goes beyond the money left behind in those virtual carts. You are potentially losing years of customer lifetime value. When a customer does not complete that initial purchase, there is no relationship on which to build for the long term.
Abandoned carts also tie up inventory. Merchandise stuck in abandoned carts is not available to consumers who do intend to make a purchase. That means another lost sale.
While retailers will never stop all shopping cart abandonment, there are ways to significantly reduce the numbers and prevent customer losses.
Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment
A certain amount of shopping cart abandonment is part of the online retailing experience. Many customers are simply doing the virtual equivalent of window shopping and really “just looking” or comparison shopping on your site. According to the Baymard Institute, an independent web UX research institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is close to a whopping 70 percent. The rate is even higher among mobile users, at 81 percent.
Yet customers abandon shopping carts for many other reasons, some of them easily preventable. Here are some of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment, as per the responses of 4,384 U.S. adults in 2022:
- High costs of extras: Nearly 50 percent of respondents reported they abandoned a cart due to the high costs of shipping, fees, and taxes.
- Mandatory account creation: Retailers like the idea of mandatory account creation. After all, it allows them to boost lead generation and retarget customers. Customers often see it as an additional effort and another password to keep track of. Offering discount coupons or similar incentives can entice customers to create accounts but without that carrot, buyers may decide to abandon their cart.
- Long delivery times: Since delivery times are usually calculated at checkout, a customer may not find out until they are about to place the order that the delivery time is longer than anticipated.
- Complicated checkout process: Roughly 20 percent of customers abandon their carts due to a long or complicated checkout process.
Other reasons for shopping cart abandonment can include high prices, lack of a rewards program or free shipping, and superior competitor products.
Avoiding Shopping Cart Abandonment
Online retailers can take steps to avoid shopping cart abandonment. Most of these involve basic design changes.
Get started by addressing the biggest issues, such as the high costs of extras. While you may not prove able to reduce the cost or eliminate these extras, make sure your site is transparent about them so they don’t come as a shock when the customer begins the checkout process. The same holds true for delivery times. Try to let the customer know the approximate delivery time for items before they get to the checkout phase.
Second, stay away from adding extra links. You don’t want anything that takes your customer away from the shopping cart because they are less likely to return to it. That includes upselling related products. While you might benefit from your customer buying additional, pricier items, you run the risk of losing the sale entirely.
Below are other steps to reduce shopping cart abandonment:
- Prioritize customer loyalty: By creating a reward or other customer loyalty program, you can increase sales and reduce the percentage of abandoned carts.
- Seamless checkout process: Keep your checkout process as easy as possible. The entire transaction should take no more than three to five steps.
- Use a Save for Later button: Many customers use shopping carts as wish lists if there is no alternative. A Save for Later button is that alternative, allowing them to create a place to store items they want to buy in the future without inadvertently creating an abandoned shopping cart.
- Optimize your site for mobile users: Mobile users are the fastest-growing segment of online purchasers. Make sure your e-commerce site is optimized for them. Your site needs a fast loading speed, easy navigation, minimal popups, and concise text.
- Expand payment options: While credit and debit card payments aren’t going anywhere soon, offer digital wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet to attract customers. A private-label store card is a reliable option to boost customer loyalty and improve the seamlessness of the checkout process.
- Send an email immediately after abandonment: Remind customers right away that they left items in their cart. Multi-tasking customers may forget they did not complete their order.
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