Strategies to Stop E-commerce Cart Abandonment

Illustration for cart abandonment

Online sellers, you know the feeling - you nailed the hard part and got a potential buyer interested in your product, browsing your site, and they’ve got an item in their cart. Then the cart disappears… and so does your revenue.

Research confirms it’s not a “you” thing, though. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but over 70% of online carts get abandoned.

Luckily, understanding the root causes of cart abandonment and implementing effective strategies to minimize it can help. This article will tell you what you need to know about cart abandonment. We’ll discuss why it happens, key stats and trends, its effects, and strategies to reduce it.

Understanding Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is the frustrating moment when shoppers add items to their shopping carts, but don’t complete the purchase.

A couple of key things to remember: research shows a portion of cart abandonments aren’t your fault - the shoppers never intended to purchase in the first place and, unfortunately, were just “window shopping.” But you can minimize a large share of cart abandonments with actionable strategies that create a better customer experience.

We’ll discuss those strategies later in the article, but first, let’s figure out the reasons you keep getting incomplete sales.

Top Reasons for Cart Abandonment

Understanding why customers abandon their carts is the first step to recouping lost revenues. There are several key factors to consider, so let’s dive into them:

Unexpected Additional Costs: Hidden fees like shipping charges or taxes revealed during checkout can turn customers off. A study by Baymard Institute found that 47% of potential customers leave websites because of hidden fees.

Complicated Checkout Process: Is it essential to know your customer’s age and phone number? Lengthy and clunky checkout processes, with multiple form fields or steps, will frustrate your shoppers and increase the likelihood of abandonment.

Mandatory Account Creation: Keep sight of the goal - the purchase. Requiring your customers to create accounts before finalizing the purchase is unnecessary friction that impedes a quick and easy transaction.

Unclear Shipping and Delivery Information: Lack of transparency regarding shipping times and delivery options can sow doubt in customers’ minds. The more relevant information you provide as a seller, the more comfortable your shoppers will be and the more likely they are to purchase.

Inadequate Return Policy: Customers want control over their purchases. The Ryder 2023 E-Commerce Consumer Case Study shows that 13% of consumers chose “Free Returns” as having the most significant role in their purchase decision. An unsatisfactory return policy will lead to more abandoned carts.

Lack of Trust: Key to any relationship, establishing trust with your customers will eliminate any concerns around data security and website credibility, which may cause them to take their business elsewhere.

Key Stats

The e-commerce world can be tough - every click counts, and cart abandonment can be more complicated than it seems. When considering strategies to reduce cart abandonment rates for your business, make sure to take into account the key statistics below regarding cart abandonment rates by device and traffic source.

Let’s look at the stats:

Cart Abandonment breakdown by device, according to Barilliance:

  • 73% of customers abandon their carts on the desktop
  • There’s a 80.74% cart abandonment rate on tablets, up from the rate on desktop
  • Mobile has the highest cart abandonment rate—with 85.65% of shoppers not completing the purchase

Cart abandonment breakdown by traffic source:

  • Customers landing on websites from social media have a 91% cart abandonment rate
  • Customers that enter websites directly from their browser by typing the website name have a 79% cart abandonment rate
  • Customers landing from email have an 84% cart abandonment rate
  • Customers landing from search advertising have a 76% cart abandonment rate, the lowest of all traffic sources

It’s also important to remember that seasonality affects cart abandonment rates, too, as rates peak during the holiday season because of increased comparison shopping.

The Effects of Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment isn’t just frustrating; it has tangible consequences that can affect revenue and customer relationships. When potential buyers abandon their carts, online sellers deal with immediate revenue loss and potential long-term implications. Let’s talk about the effects of cart abandonment from both the sellers’ and customers’ perspectives.

For Online Sellers:

Lost Revenue: The most obvious consequence of cart abandonment is lost sales revenue. Each time a customer abandons their cart, it means the e-commerce business is missing out on potential revenue, which directly affects their profits.

Decreased Conversion Rates: Cart abandonment hurts conversion rates and signals inefficiencies in the purchasing process.

Diminished Customer Lifetime Value: Cart abandonment issues can erode customer loyalty over time, meaning fewer loyal customers and repeat purchases.

Negative Brand Perception: Persistent cart abandonment issues can damage brand reputation and credibility, leading to negative word-of-mouth and low ratings.

For Customers Who Abandon Their Carts:

They may take their business to a competitor: Not only could you lose the sale, but your competitor could gain it.

They may buy in-store: Perhaps the customer wasn’t satisfied with the shipping options, or the return policy - they may decide to buy in-store, which could be less convenient.

They may not buy at all: Many customers who abandon their carts ultimately decide not to proceed with the purchase at all.

Strategies to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Now that we’ve discussed the reasons for cart abandonment and its effects, let’s talk strategy. Below are proven ways to recoup lost revenue from cart abandonments:

Use a trustworthy e-commerce platform: Your e-commerce platform is the foundation of your online store. Make sure you’re using a reputable platform that offers secure payment processing, reliable uptime, and user-friendly features. Customers are more likely to trust and complete their purchases on a platform they’re familiar with and confident in.

Accept alternative payment options: Don’t limit your customers’ payment choices. Offering a variety of payment methods, such as credit/debit cards, digital wallets like PayPal or Apple Pay, and buy now, pay later options, ensures that you cater to diverse customer preferences and reduce barriers to purchase.

Offer free or discounted shipping: Shipping costs can be a deal-breaker for many customers. Consider offering free shipping, even if it means adjusting your product pricing slightly to absorb the cost. Alternatively, set minimum order thresholds for free shipping or provide discounted shipping rates to reward larger purchases.

Highlight the returns policy: A transparent and customer-friendly returns policy can instill confidence in hesitant buyers. Clearly communicate your returns process, including return windows, refund methods, and any associated costs. Make it easy for customers to find this information by prominently featuring it on your website.

Retarget cart abandoners elsewhere online: Keep your brand top of mind for customers who abandon their carts by retargeting them with personalized ads across various online channels. Use tools like Facebook Pixel or Google Ads remarketing to reach out to these potential customers and entice them to complete their purchases.

Optimize abandoned cart emails: Leverage the power of email marketing to reconnect with customers who leave items in their carts. Craft interesting and personalized abandoned cart emails that remind customers of their pending purchases, highlight the benefits of completing the transaction, and possibly offer incentives like discounts or free shipping to encourage conversion.

Offer one-click checkout: Simplify the checkout process by implementing one-click checkout options like Shop Pay or Amazon Pay. Streamlining the payment process reduces customer friction and makes it more convenient for them to finalize their purchases, leading to higher conversion rates and fewer abandoned carts.

Implementing Strategies

Now that we’ve identified the key strategies to combat cart abandonment, let’s discuss how to effectively implement them in your e-commerce business. From choosing the right platform to optimizing your checkout process, each strategy plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall shopping experience and driving conversions. Let’s dive into practical steps and tips for integrating these strategies seamlessly into your existing e-commerce practices.

1. Use a trustworthy e-commerce platform: Choose a reputable e-commerce platform like RyderShip(™). Ensure the platform offers secure payment processing, SSL encryption, and responsive customer support. For example, RyderShip(™) provides a range of customizable dashboards, inventory management, and robust rules-based features to create a reliable fulfillment.

2. Accept alternative payment options: Integrate multiple payment gateways to cater to diverse customer preferences. Examples include PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Apple Pay. Offer buy now, pay later options like Klarna or Afterpay to provide flexibility to customers with varying financial needs.

3. Offer free or discounted shipping: Calculate your average shipping costs and consider incorporating them into your product prices to offer free shipping. Alternatively, set minimum order thresholds for free shipping or negotiate discounted rates with shipping carriers. Outdoor Voices, for instance, offer free shipping on all orders, motivating customers to complete their purchases.

4. Highlight the returns policy: Clearly outline your returns policy on your website’s checkout page and product pages. Provide details such as return windows, refund methods, and any associated fees. Take inspiration from companies like Zappos, known for their hassle-free returns policy, which builds trust and confidence among customers.

5. Retarget cart abandoners elsewhere online: Set up retargeting campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Google Ads, or Instagram to reconnect with cart abandoners. Create compelling ad creatives featuring the abandoned products and include enticing offers or discounts to encourage conversions. For instance, ASOS retargets cart abandoners with personalized ads showcasing the abandoned items and offering limited-time discounts to entice them back.

6. Optimize abandoned cart emails: Design automated email sequences to follow up with cart abandoners and remind them of their pending purchases. Personalize the emails with dynamic product recommendations and include persuasive call-to-action buttons. Check out how MVMT uses abandoned cart emails to re-engage customers by offering exclusive discounts and creating a sense of urgency.

7. Offer one-click checkout: Implement one-click checkout solutions like Shop Pay or Amazon Pay to streamline the purchasing process. Reduce the number of form fields required and enable guest checkout options for faster transactions. Look to brands like Warby Parker, which leverages Shop Pay for seamless checkout experiences, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Below are a few easy tips for integrating these strategies into existing e-commerce practices:

1. Conduct A/B testing: Experiment with different strategies, such as varying shipping offers or tweaking email copy, and analyze the results to identify what resonates best with your audience.

2. Monitor analytics: Use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Shopify’s built-in analytics to track cart abandonment rates, conversion rates, and other key metrics. Gain insights into customer behavior and adjust your strategies accordingly.

3. Continuously optimize: Keep refining your strategies based on customer feedback, market trends, and performance data. Stay agile and adaptable to ensure your e-commerce business remains competitive and responsive to growing consumer preferences.

The Last Word on Cart Abandonment

Based on the stats and effects of cart abandonment we discussed, understanding and addressing cart abandonment is key to your success as an e-commerce seller. By implementing strategies like optimizing your platform, offering diverse payment options, and crafting interesting abandoned cart emails, you can minimize abandonment rates and maximize revenue potential.

Continuous optimization is key. Regularly assess your strategies, analyze customer feedback, and adapt to developing market trends. Remember, cart abandonment isn’t just a challenge—it’s an opportunity for growth and innovation in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

Stay agile, stay informed, and turn cart abandonment from a hurdle into a stepping stone toward sustained success in the digital marketplace.

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