Fighting Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is the scourge of many eCommerce sites. The ultimate frustration represents a customer on the verge of actually purchasing something but then abandoning the purchase, usually on the cart or checkout pages. Unexpected, last-minute friction on your eCommerce site is typically the culprit.

So how can e-tailers protect themselves from this all-too-common problem? Is there a one-size-fits-all solution that can magically eliminate shopping cart abandonment once and for all? If only it were that simple.

You’ll never be able to eliminate shopping cart abandonment completely, but you can design your eCommerce site in such a way to meaningfully reduce abandonment rates, which our many features help you with. The policies that you implement on your site will also have a significant impact, as you’ll soon find out.

Increase Add To Cart Button Sizes

Sometimes, if things aren’t totally obvious to your shoppers, they may abandon a purchase. This is the case with your eCommerce site’s cart buttons. You may think that just having an “add to cart” button of any size or color would be sufficient, but studies have proven this assumption wrong.

According to a Marketing Sherpa case study,, the online retailer of both computer hardware and software, was able to significantly boost its online sales and thereby fight abandonment rates by, in part, improving how its Add to Cart buttons looked. After the company changed its cart buttons to be bigger, flashier, and bolder, along with six other design tweaks, its online sales jumped to $1.3 billion.

Changes to the way Add to Cart buttons look in general have also proven effective at increasing conversions. This involves not just the actual size, but other aspects like the color, placement and even type of text in buttons. There’s more about that in this study that goes into in-depth detail about elements of any good eCommerce page.

Try to conduct A/B test variations of your Add to Cart buttons to determine which works best.

Don’t Hit Your Customers With Unexpected Costs

Online shoppers just hate unexpected costs, and who can blame them? Unexpected costs imply a level of deception, even if it wasn’t intentional. At the end of the day, the only thing that should matter is whether or not your customers went through with a purchase.

According to data from Statista, the number one reason (56%) for shopping cart abandonment is when customers are faced with unexpected costs. This makes a ton of sense because people tend to get frustrated when additional charges are tacked onto what they’re already going to buy. In fact, the stats on this get even bleaker when you consider that up to 61% of all online shoppers are somewhat likely to abandon their entire purchase if you don’t offer them free shipping!

That’s right: Customers want you to sweeten the deal for them, so what do you do? Listen to these surveys of online shoppers and give them what they want!

Give them free shipping, right off the bat. That way, you can nip the issue of unexpected costs in the bud since the first form of unexpected costs consumers will run into on a checkout page is shipping costs. If offering your customers free shipping doesn’t turn out to be viable for your company, then there are some alternatives that you can try in order to respect your customers’ aversion to unexpected costs:

  • Offer customers free shipping during a specific day or week during the peak season (Christmas, for instance)
  • Entice your customers to become members (think Amazon Prime), which entitles them to two-day, free shipping
  • Offer customers free shipping if they spend a certain amount of money
  • Pursue Those Who Seem to Initially “Abandon” Shopping Carts
  • An all too common misconception among those working in the eCommerce industry is that every shopper who abandons a cart…really has a hardcore intention not to purchase from your website. The truth is entirely different from this, and it’s worth taking a much deeper look at.

It turns out that a substantial number of customers are actually just in so-called “browsing mode” when they added items to the cart and then later “abandoned” it. It’s highly important insight into consumer behavior to realize that lots of shoppers actually use their carts as wish lists. In other words, they put items into the cart, “abandon” the cart, and then really have plans to later on come back to the cart to complete their purchase.

A Forrester study into shopping behavior found that 42% of all online shoppers (the breakdown is 16% male and 26% female) initially “abandoned” their purchases since they had plans to come back later on to consider finishing their purchases.

So if you’re counting everyone who’s ever abandoned a purchase as a real case of shopping cart abandonment, you’re on the wrong track.

It stands to reason, then, that you still have a chance to turn some of those who abandoned their purchases into conversions. So how do you go about converting these potential customers?

Here are some options you should try:

  • Try retargeting ads on certain customers based on product pages that they spent the longest time on, using tools like AdRoll or Perfect Audience
  • Entice new customers with time-limited offers, such as discounts or free shipping (to get them over the indecisiveness of putting items in a cart for later consideration)
  • Use scarcity and urgency psychological triggers to nudge them toward buying now rather than later.
  • Send them emails if items in their wish list or “abandoned” cart go on sale
  • Use persistent shopping carts that save your customer’s cart contents across various user sessions by using so-called persistent cookies

Guard Against Excessively Expensive Prices on Your eCommerce Site

One of the most popular reasons behind shopping cart abandonment is when a site’s prices are too high or customers locate better deals on another site. There’s always the temptation to do comparison shopping, and you are hurting yourself if you raise doubts in your own customers’ minds about whether or not they’re getting the very best deals on your site.

Here’s what you can do to put your customers’ minds at ease.

You can offer your shoppers a price guarantee. Doing so is quick, easy and straightforward. It’ll definitely leave a good impression on your customers because their fears of finding better deals elsewhere will be efficiently allayed. Best Buy is absolutely the best example of this strategy, as the company’s famous for its low-price guarantee.

Using a loyalty program is another proven tactic to guard against excessively high prices. Your loyalty program should have the following features for it to work: free shipping and a points system for perks or additional discounts. In the eCommerce world, Amazon Prime is the best example of this approach.

Get Rid of Any and All Distractions

What’s a distraction? A distraction is, broadly speaking, anything that doesn’t contribute to nudging your shopper to commit to the final sale. This can be anything from calls to action that prompt shoppers to sign up for email newsletters and remind them to “like” your site on Facebook! A distraction should never be present on the most important page of all in the sales process, which is the Cart page.

In practical terms, the only things that you really should have on your checkout page are buttons like “Checkout Now” or something similar and “remove item.”

Through testing, it was determined that nameOn had a huge problem with too many distractions on its checkout page. In all, there were nine different calls to action there, which obviously tempted would-be conversions to follow through on another action entirely. Of course, when they did, they often didn’t come back to complete the purchase.

This problem was solved very simply: by removing any other calls to action besides the button that prompts shoppers to continue to the checkout page.

Get rid of distractions on your cart page (and checkout pages), and you will succeed in putting a decreasing shopping cart abandonment on your site.

Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment, Increase Conversions

That’s the direct relationship right there: The more you reduce shopping cart abandonment on your site, the more you increase conversions and revenue. While you can’t stop abandonment completely, unfortunately, you can do a lot to reduce them in a meaningful way.

Therefore, it’s in every eCommerce company’s power to make sure that abandonment rates stay low and shoppers are guided through every page until they make the final conversion of a purchase. Doing so, however, takes a lot of focus on the various elements on your site. This extra effort is worth it, though, as you’ll be rewarded with more revenue, and who doesn’t want that?

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