Many of the problems you will encounter in your e-store are simply not issues in physical stores. Cart abandonment is one of them. Can you imagine people filling up their shopping carts, getting all the way to the checkout, and then … losing interest? It’s not something that happens very often in real stores. And yet it is one of the biggest problems in e-commerce, and it drives store owners crazy. But while you can never prevent it happening all the time, you can take steps to lower your cart abandonment rates. And when you have lost potential customers, there are tactics you can use to encourage them back to complete the sale.
Lowering Cart Abandonment Levels
So why do people abandon your cart in the first place? There are many reasons why shoppers might fill their carts before leaving your store.
Slow Loading Times
Shoppers do not have the patience to wait around while your pages load. Fix technical problems like slow loading times to prevent this from becoming a problem (a modern e-store design is a great start).
Surprise Price Increases
No one likes paying extra for shipping—but what they really hate is when you surprise them with a hefty shipping charge right at the end of the checkout. Be upfront about your shipping costs to avoid this. Even better, provide a free shipping option and make it obvious, like Staples does:
Don’t try and trick people into thinking they are not going to have to pay for shipping only to add on a charge. No one likes to be tricked.
When there are too many details to fill in, too many options to choose from, and the process is too long, you are giving your customers too many reasons to go away.Avoid this by keeping the process simple and using a progress indicator to show them how many stages are left. Otherwise. potential customers might get right up to the last stage before deciding that this is taking too long. You could also add a guest checkout. This makes it easy for people to buy at your store even if they have not signed up. Dell makes this option clear when you add an item to the checkout:
Everyone is worried about security these days (when even Mark Zuckerberg can get hacked, who can blame them?) And if your store does not look secure, customers are going to be less likely to fill in their credit card details. To counter this, use trust signals like security symbols. Make sure they are recognizable like the “Norton Secured” logo, used by Walmart here:
You can also display icons of associations you have joined. Display them near to your transaction forms so visitors will see them at the moment they fill in their personal details. And add on a money-back guarantee as well, which is another way to give them security that they are not going to get taken for a ride.
Make it easy for your customers to take the actions they want to take. For example, once customers are in the checkout process, they may want to go back and compare another product. Or change it for a different one. They might just want to check something. So make it easy for them to do so. Use a clear “Continue Shopping” button so that they can easily head back to the store and continue looking around—otherwise they might become frustrated and leave. And allow them to easily edit their basket throughout the process, so that if they decide to get rid of an item they can do so with ease.
Lack of Payment Options
When it comes to payments, the word to remember is “seamless.” You should make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay, and that means providing lots of payment options including PayPal and other e-payment solutions. Don’t let payments become a problem for your customers when it is so easy to resolve.
Cart Abandonment Is Not Always Bad
Despite all of these tactics to reduce cart abandonment, there is one thing you need to remember: Cart abandonment is not always a bad thing. It is very easy to see the checkout process as a one-off opportunity to make a sale, and once customers abandon their carts you have lost it. But remember that shopping habits are changing. Many people will browse your online store on their mobile devices without any intention of buying. They may go through the checkout process to look at the final price, with the intention of returning on a desktop where they feel more comfortable. This was the focus of an excellent blog on CrazyEgg, which encourages store owners to welcome these cart abandonments and to see them as an opportunity to encourage your customers back.
How to Get Those Customers Back
So how do you go about getting those customers to return? There are a few things you can do:
- Follow-up emails: If customers have signed up using an email, you can contact them after they abandon their cart. Create a short email series of no more than about three emails, and send them out over the next few days. Remind them about their item by providing them with a photo of it, and encourage them to take action with a call to action.
- Special offer: Throw in a special offer if you can. Simply send out a quick email informing them that they can get a discount if they buy within a day. But don’t do this all the time otherwise they will know to wait for the discount in future.
- Retargeting: Launch a retargeting campaign to target people who have gone through to the checkout but failed to make a purchase. Consider tempting them back with a discount.
- Wish list: A wish list lets visitors add all those things that they like the look of so they don’t forget about them. They may like the look of things that they are not ready to buy yet, and this makes them more likely to come back and complete the purchase.
Get More Customers to Complete Their Orders
Cart abandonment is a problem for all e-stores, but there are things you can do about it. If you are losing too many potential sales because customers are abandoning their carts, do something about it. Take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place, then make sure you have steps in place to get those customers back to complete their purchases. Even minor changes can have a dramatic impact on increasing your sales, so have a think about which steps you can implement in your store today.