How to reduce shopping cart abandonment

The boom in ecommerce, and the growing range of products available to purchase online has meant consumers now have more choice than ever before, and the competition for retailers is increasing. These days it’s much easier for consumers to research products online from multiple ecommerce outlets before making their final purchasing decision.

As a result, cart, or basket abandonment has become a common challenge for online retailers. According to data from Sale Cycle, over 81% of online shopping orders were abandoned during 2020. The abandonment rate can vary by sector, time of day and day of the month.

What is cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is when a potential customer adds items to their shopping cart but leaves before finishing their purchase. It affects all online retailers.

Cart abandonment will directly impact customer conversion rates and revenue, so it’s important for ecommerce retailers to monitor it closely. Understanding the reasons why potential customers abandon their cart is a crucial part of this – it enables you to identify issues and make the necessary changes to your website to reduce your abandonment rate.

Top 5 reasons why shoppers abandon their cart:

1. Changed their mind after seeing the cost

2. Checkout is too long and complicated

3. Do not trust security to protect credit card details

4. Slow delivery or inadequate shipping options

5. Because they were just browsing


How to reduce cart abandonment in 9 steps:

So, now you know the top 5 reasons for shopping cart abandonment, what can you do as a retailer to avoid these issues and reduce cart abandonment?

1. Make navigation between store and cart easy

2. Page speed – reduce page load time

3. Offer multiple payment options

4. Have a clear return and refund policy

5. Make sure your checkout works on different devices

6. Add loyalty incentives for your customers

7. Establish trust in your transaction forms (showcase reviews and ratings)

8. Be clear about all costs upfront – especially delivery charges

9. Make delivery times obvious


Step 1: Make navigation between store and cart easy

Shopping is rarely a linear experience; customers like to browse, often on multiple websites at a time, during their shopping experience. But once they’ve decided what they want to buy, make it as easy as possible for them to add items to their cart and move between your product pages and their cart.

Make sure your site is intuitive and easy to navigate, think about the end-user experience in your ecommerce design.

You want to reduce friction and make the checkout process straightforward. Once they’re ready to spend their money, make it easy for them!


Step 2: Page speed – reduce page load time

Ecommerce shopping cart conversion rates drop 7% for every one-second delay in your page loading. That’s a lot of money potentially going to your competitors simply because your website takes too long to load.

Make sure to optimise every part of your website including image sizes, social plugins and server response times to reduce page load times without compromising on usability. Every second counts.


Step 3: Offer multiple payment options

Convenience is key for online shoppers, so making sure you offer multiple payment options is an important part of the experience.

Credit card payment options are a must-have, particularly for high-price items, but you should also consider whether PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are right for your customer demographic too.

Research has shown that 44% of UK consumers will stop a purchase if their preferred payment method isn’t available, so by offering more payment options this means customers are less likely to abandon their cart. When making big ticket purchases, customers often want the option to spread the cost of their purchase, it makes the decision process easier for them. Implementing an interest free credit option into your checkout page is really easy and can help reduce shopping cart abandonment.


Step 4: Have a clear return and refund policy

Customers can’t see or feel what they’re actually buying when making purchases online, they’re just relying on images. Whilst this may be fine for certain items, it can be problematic for others which is why many customers, especially if they’re first-time customers, will want to check your return and refund policy before making their purchase.

Providing a clear refund policy dissolves any reservations a customer might have about buying from you. If you can offer free returns, even better!

If a customer does return a product, see this as an opportunity to provide excellent customer service and make the process effortless for them – they’ll be more likely to remember the positive experience and come back in the future.


Step 5: Easy checkout on all devices

According to Statista, the current number of smartphone users in the UK is over 55 million, and this number is expected to rise to over 64 million by 2025. It’s safe to assume your customers are paying, or will be paying from their smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device.

It’s important to test your shopping experience and checkout process on multiple devices, making sure it has a mobile-first design.

Simplicity is key when it comes to shopping on mobile – minimise the required fields and number of steps, have a straightforward layout that’s easy to navigate with large buttons for data input.


Step 6: Add incentives for your customers

Savvy shoppers like to get money off their purchases. According to Shopper, nearly a third of shoppers search for a discount code almost every time they make an online purchase.

But incentives don’t necessarily have to be money off, you can introduce a loyalty scheme for regular customers, offer point-based rewards, priority access to products, or even exclusive offers.

Helping your customers feel they’re getting better value for money from you, compared to your competitors, all goes towards helping reduce cart abandonment.


Step 7: Establish trust in your transaction forms

Many customers are very cautious about online payments, especially if they’re new to your site. If they don’t feel safe providing personal information or don’t feel their payment details will be handled securely it’s likely they’ll abandon their cart.

Trust is a vital part of ecommerce. Data from Shopify indicates that almost 61% of consumers had not purchased something online because trust logos were missing, but also that more than 75% of consumers had chosen against making a purchase because they didn’t recognise the trust logos.

Make sure your site has those all-important trust signals – the https security logo in the url, trust logos from Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode and consider becoming a Google Trusted Store or getting a McAfee Secure certification.


Step 8: Be clear about all costs upfront – especially delivery charges

Free delivery is one of the top influencers in online purchase decisions, and 61% of Brits said they’ll ditch the cart if delivery costs are too high for their liking.

If you can offer free delivery, that’s great! And make sure it’s prominent throughout your site.

If this isn’t an option for you, you’ll need to carefully balance your shipping costs with the cost of the item, buyers will be put off if they’re paying half the price of the item to get it posted to them. Make sure you can cover your costs, which can increase significantly if the items you sell are bulky or heavy. You could consider offsetting some of the delivery cost in the price of your products or offer a flat-rate shipping fee. Giving customers the option to spread the total cost of an order, including delivery, can also help to reduce cart abandonment.

There’s also the option to combine this with incentivising your customers – offer free or reduced postage with a minimum purchase requirement, or if they purchase within a set time period – “free delivery all weekend”.


Step 9: Make delivery times obvious

Whilst we’re on the subject of delivery, 41% of potential customers will abandon their cart if the expected delivery time is too long.

Try to offer a speedy delivery service for all customers or provide tiered options where the fastest delivery will be charged at a premium compared to standard delivery.

If you’re unable to offer fast delivery, help your customers understand why – maybe it’s because you’re custom-making the item they’ve ordered and it has a lead time for creation, like a bed or piece of furniture for example.

If you include lead times for delivery on the product page, this gives customers all the information they need upfront and won’t be disappointed once they reach the checkout page to find they’ll have to wait days or weeks to receive their item.


If you’re looking for ways to reduce your cart abandonment rate, we can help you. We’ve increased conversions and reduced cart abandonment for many of the retailers we work with. To find out how we can help you, get in touch today.

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