We have all heard phrases cited in the press and elsewhere like this:
“Shopping cart abandonment: online retailers’ biggest headache is actually a huge opportunity” (source)
So how big is this problem? According to the Baymard Institute, the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.55%. That is a huge pot of revenue left sitting on the table.
“Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, and about 63% of that is potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers, according to BI Intelligence estimates.”
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that one of my bug bears is that a huge amount of money is spent on acquiring traffic to web properties, but things like Conversion Rate Optimization, Churn and Cart Abandonment (or Exit Intent) are often relegated to second-class citizens or neglected completely. This post hopes to set out a number of ways you can address Shopping Cart Abandonment.
From the chart above you can see the main reasons why people abandon their shopping carts. I’m going to propose some solutions for the top two.
Problem: presented with unexpected costs
You probably already know if you are guilty of this one. Please think about it from the user’s perspective. If they get to the checkout and suddenly see fees they were not expecting i.e. exorbitant shipping costs, unexpected tax levies, a different price to the one shown on the product (yep, I’ve seen this), they lose all trust and go elsewhere.
Well, it’s easy and sounds obvious, but just be completely transparent with your users. Put all costs upfront. If you promise free shipping, make sure you honour this.
As a side note: ignore free shipping at your peril.
Problem: I was just browsing
At first you may think there is nothing you can do about this. Users browse all the time both online and off (window shopping) it’s what they do and should be encouraged as they may come back later…
The question is can you convert people who were just browsing into sales there and then or make sure they come back later when they have time to purchase? The answer is — absolutely, yes you can.
1) Countdown displays / limited availability – i.e. show scarcity. Customers are often motivated by the fear of loss — so try to build scarcity into your plans. Expiring offers are a great way to do that.
2) Retargeting – Retargeting converts window-shoppers into buyers. Generally, 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting aims to bring back the other 98%. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your retargeting ads to them as they visit other sites online.
3) Exit intent and Abandoned Cart Technology – could be one of the most valuable bits of software you ever use. Exit intent technology looks to see if a user is going to leave your web page or abandon their shopping cart via their mouse actions. As we have already mentioned, 68.55% of people abandon their carts before purchase, so there is big money to be made.