How to prevent shopping cart abandonment

Thursday, October 21, 2021

It’s a tale as old as time (or, at least as old as the internet). You put everything into creating an incredible product, excellent customer experience and a beautiful online store. Then, you watch as customer after customer fills their shopping cart and then leaves your site without making a purchase.

That’s what is happening to many online stores every day. Nearly 70% of shoppers will peruse your site, find a product page or service they want, start checking out and then leave it behind. Why are they abandoning their cart and how can you decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate? Here are a few of the top reasons online retailers see this, plus solutions to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Online businesses see $18 billion in lost sales each year due to cart abandonment issues

The checkout process takes too long
Just as consumers don’t want to wait in long lines to check out in person, they also don’t want a lengthy checkout experience online. The Baymard Institute found that 26% say they will abandon their cart if it takes too long. Here are some simple ways to trim it:

  • Only ask for information you need
    That’s probably a combination of the customer’s name, email, credit card information, billing and shipping addresses. Get rid of anything optional, or at least make it obvious that it is optional.

  • Provide shortcuts
    The fewer form fields, the better. Offer shortcuts, like a “My shipping and billing address are the same” button.

  • Show a status bar
    When consumers can see their progress and what progress still awaits, they’re more likely to stick around. This can dispel fears that they're stuck in a complicated checkout.

  • Offer a password hint option
    The dreaded “forgot your password?” button creates instant annoyance. Instead of sending customers through the tedious process of checking their email and going through the reset steps, give them a password hint to speed things up.

  • Make your return policy obvious
    Don’t lose customers by letting them make it all the way to the end of checkout, only to force them to renavigate in an effort to find your return policy elsewhere on the site.

  • Prioritize mobile user experience optimizations
    Mobile users account for 56% of all online traffic, while only earning a 2.25% conversation rate compared to a 4.81% desktop conversion rate. Lack of mobile-friendly ecommerce sites may account for the disparity. To make up for the small screen, payment options like digital wallets help the purchase get approved quickly through fingerprint or facial scanning software.

Unexpected extra costs
Suddenly seeing previously hidden costs, like shipping charges, fees and taxes on the checkout page sends half of your potential customers out the door. To protect your profit and increase customer satisfaction, set realistic expectations up front. For example, if there’s a minimum purchase required for free shipping, make that information visible across every webpage, like on a banner across the top of the screen.

To protect your profit and increase customer satisfaction, set realistic expectations up front.

Tax is unavoidable, but beyond that and shipping, don’t charge your customers any additional fees. If necessary, factor them into the product’s retail price instead of its own line on the invoice.

Security concerns
It’s true: the more customer data you’re able to collect, the better. It’s what allows you to engage with customers in highly personal ways and create unique experiences that keep them coming back (read more about that here). But, some customers are hesitant to share too much personal data. Don’t lose their business by forcing them to: Offer a guest checkout option instead. You’ll lose one in four customers if you don’t. Others abandon their carts because they don’t feel safe sharing their credit card information. Creating a secure transaction experience should be a top priority, so put them at ease by using a payment processor that provides the highest standards in identity protection.

Shipping costs
Unfortunately, while 75% of consumers expect shipping to be free, shipping is never free for the retailer. If it does not make financial sense for you to offer free shipping on all orders, at least offer multiple options, ie. Priority vs. less expensive (but slower) First Class Mail. Additionally, you can advertise free shipping on orders over a certain amount (this will also encourage upselling!).

Website glitches and crashes
One in five people throw up their hands and quit when a website crashes, shows errors or has slow load times. This creates distrust and can even damage your brand’s reputation. It’s imperative to keep your site in tip-top shape by frequently testing its speed, fixing broken links, making sure plugins are compatible with all browsers and maintaining enough memory and bandwidth – especially during traffic spikes – to keep your system operating smoothly.

Shopping Cart Icon

Another note on web maintenance:
46% of shoppers will abandon an online shopping cart if their discount code doesn’t work. That means you should regularly test your promotions and make sure you aren’t advertising any that aren’t live.

They forgot
Hey, distractions happen! Some online shoppers abandon carts for no reason other than they clicked out of the window and forgot to return. Automated cart abandonment emails are a great solution, and most ecommerce store platforms now offer them, along with other email marketing features. Consider offering a small discount to really encourage them to complete the purchase.

Online businesses see $18 billion in lost sales each year due to cart abandonment issues. You can protect your sales and your revenue by having the right payment provider to help you save on expenses, streamline your checkout flow and offer comprehensive security — all boosting your bottom line. Learn more about how to keep your small business operating in peak performance with flexible payment processing today.