Shopping cart abandonment is a big problem for online retailers. It’s when digital shoppers add items to their shopping cart but leave the website before completing a purchase. It can be frustrating after all your efforts to attract digital shoppers in the first place.
Curious about your cart abandonment rate? Divide the number of completed sales by the number of carts created. Subtract that number from one, then multiply by 100. That’s your rate. So, if you have 50 completed purchases in a day and 200 carts were created in that period of time, your shopping cart abandonment rate is 75%. That’s high, but you would be in good company. Based on 46 studies, the average cart abandonment rate is estimated at 68.8%.
There are different reasons for online shopping cart abandonment. The ten more common reasons are:
- Extra costs that are too high (shipping, tax, fees)
- Forced account creation
- A long or complicated checkout process
- Hidden costs
- Website errors or crashes
- Lack of trust in website security
- Slow delivery
- Lack of a satisfactory return policy
- Lack of multiple payment options
- Declined credit card
Most of these signal a poor user experience at checkout. This post will look at five proven ways to improve your checkout flow and reduce cart abandonment today.
1. Provide guest checkout options
For businesses, information is key to understanding customers and improving the customer’s experience. When a shopper creates an account, you gain insight into their purchasing behaviors and can suggest personalized recommendations. Shoppers can save payment and shipping information, making subsequent checkout experiences faster and easier.
However, being forced to create an account is a turnoff for some customers. Creating a username and password and then the added step of confirming email addresses makes the checkout process unnecessarily long, especially for first-time and mobile buyers.
Lego’s online store, for example, avoids this by providing three options for shoppers: log in (returning customers), create an account (new customers), and guest checkout.
The easier you make it for customers to buy, the more they will. Therefore, enable guest checkout to reduce cart abandonment for first-time and mobile shoppers. You will capture their information from the personal and shipping forms anyway.
Once the purchase is complete, you can use email marketing to entice them to create an account for additional privileges like discounts and promotions. Just make sure you use an email verification tool before sending your marketing emails to ensure they’re delivered to the correct recipients.
2. Use trust badges and seals
With more and more people shopping online, data security is a huge concern. Trust is critical to the success of your eCommerce business. Customers need to know that their information is safe and secure. Any doubt, and you lose many potential buyers.
Adding third-party trust logos and seals to your online store authenticates your website, putting visitors at ease. When placed at the checkout page, they remove any reservations shoppers might have, thus reducing cart abandonment.
When digital marketing firm Blue Fountain media added the Verisign Trust badge to their Request a Quote form, they saw a 42% increase in conversions, proving that trust seals build customer trust.
There are different badges and guarantees you can add to your website even when you’re just starting your ecommerce business:
- Site security logo
- Third-party endorsement seal
- Money-back guarantee badge
- Payment security badge
Some of the most trusted seals are from familiar brands like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Norton.
A small word about social proof. 79% of customers trust online reviews when making their purchase decisions. Social proofs demonstrate that other people use and like your product or service. Strategically adding customer reviews will build trust and show prospective customers that your products are worth buying.
3. Offer multiple payment options
Even though you add trust badges and seals, some shoppers may not be comfortable with having their credit card details on every eCommerce site. More so if they have already saved that information on online payment systems like PayPal and Amazon Pay. Most customers expect your ecommerce site to have their preferred payment method available.
Amazon customers can pay with credit/debit cards, gift cards, Amazon PayCode ( for cash payments), and Affirm. Amazon even allows shoppers to make split payments.
Having alternative payment methods like PayPal, Stripe, or Google Pay makes it convenient for shoppers who may not have their cards with them at the time of purchase or don’t want the hassle of filling out credit card information. Multiple payment options instill customer trust by giving them payment methods they are familiar with.
That’s not all. Payment processing options like installments or Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) are becoming increasingly popular with online shoppers. The buyer makes a small down payment towards a purchase and pays the remainder later. It is convenient for customers and reduces cart abandonment.
4. Make use of exit-intent popups
If only there were a way to prevent cart abandonment the moment it occurs! Well, there is, and the technique involves exit-intent popups.
Exit-intent technology tracks customers’ mouse movements. When the cursor moves towards the exit button (to close the webpage), a message pops up and catches the customer’s attention. For mobile users, the popup is triggered by scrolling up quickly.
Interacting with shoppers at this critical juncture is an opportunity to motivate them to finish the transaction, which translates to more sales and increased profits for you. Use exit-intent popups to offer relevant, personalized recommendations. You can also add coupon codes to incentivize cart abandoners to complete their purchase.
American retailer J. Crew uses exit popups as an opportunity to push a sale. It gives visitors two options: sign up and receive 15% off or continue shopping. The promotional offer entices guests to sign up for an account, and the option to keep shopping affirms the customer’s intent to complete the purchase.
5. Provide free shipping
You’ve probably seen the memes on shipping fees: $150 in purchases, but the $5 shipping fee is what makes you question the entire transaction. It’s funny because it’s true. There’s something about shipping costs that rubs online shoppers the wrong way.
Moreover, online customers have come to expect free shipping from retailers. If your competitors offer free shipping and you don’t, you will have lost a customer forever. Free shipping is a great way to incentivize checkouts and reduce cart abandonment. Furthermore, advertising-free shipping across your website encourages shoppers to add more items to their digital carts.
Fashion retailer Banana Republic states their free shipping policy on the top bar of their webpage. Purchases over $50 are eligible for free shipping, plus members receive additional benefits.
Customers don’t like to be surprised by hidden or extra costs at check out. If shipping costs, sales taxes, and other fees are not calculated until checkout, your customer will hesitate to complete the purchase. Or, if the total is more than expected, they will look for a better deal.
The best way to increase online sales isn’t a glamorous marketing campaign (although that helps). It’s finding ways to get shoppers to complete the customer journey they have already started. Cart abandonment costs online stores millions of dollars in lost revenue. Fortunately, there are tactics you can use to recover these sales.
To recap, we looked at five proven ways to reduce cart abandonment rates. They were adding a guest checkout feature, using trust signals like third-party trust seals, offering multiple payment options, using exit-intent popups, and providing free shipping options.
Abandoned carts don’t have to be lost sales. Use them to send personalized follow-up emails nudging customers to complete their purchases. By implementing these strategies, you can provide an improved checkout experience and effectively tackle cart abandonment.
About Owen Baker
Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.