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Conversion Optimization

17 powerful ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment (w/ examples)

Almost 70% of shoppers leave their cart without buying. How to reduce cart abandonment rate? Here are 17 powerful ideas to prevent shopping cart abandonment. Check it out (pun intended)

17 powerful ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment (w/ examples)

Online stores experience an average cart abandonment rate of 69.89%. It is, without doubt, one of the biggest challenges that eCommerce founders face today. 

Before we go ahead, do keep in mind: 

Cart abandonment rate → a visitor browses your online store, adds product/s to the cart, and then leaves.

Bounce off → a visitor lands on the page and immediately leaves without any activity.

What is cart abandonment rate?

Cart abandonment is when customers add products to their cart and starts a checkout process but leave before completing the purchase.

Cart abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the total number of transactions initiated. This rate will identify the percentage of users that leave before completing the checkout process. A high cart abandonment rate indicates a poor customer experience which affects the overall revenue of the business.

Why is cart abandoned cart rate high?

Customers can abandon the shopping carts on your website for a lot of reasons.

Lack of Trust - Even though the world has switched to making digital payments for every purchase, there are still some people who are afraid of making online transactions and providing information about their credit and debit cards to any website. This can be one of the reasons why customers abandon your products because they do not trust your website with their sensitive information. It is very important that you improve the conversions of your website and build the trust of your customers via social proof and by building a strong brand name. You can also offer a return policy to your customers to win their trust.

High shipping costs - Most of the customers abandon shopping carts when they get to know how much their order totals to with the shipping charges. Offering free shipping promos can solve this problem for your customers.

Complexity - The online shoppers of today have a short attention span and will abandon the checkout flow if it is too complex or time-consuming. You can avoid this by making the checkout process as easy and painless as possible.

Lack of payment options - Limited payment options can make your customers abandon the shopping cart i.e when the customers do not find their preferred payment option, their intent to make the purchase often changes.  

Technical problems - The technology is always susceptible to technical issues and glitches. It is important that you keep a check on the analytics of your website and ensure that the checkout process has no show-stopping bugs.

How is cart abandonment rate calculated?

The shopping cart abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the total number of transactions that were initiated.

Shopping cart abandonment rate gives the retailers an idea about the percentage of users who change their minds after adding the items to the cart and abandon them.

Calculate your cart abandonment rate here:

17 powerful ways on how to reduce to shopping cart abandonment

1. Pitch smaller % but higher $ discounts

As per a study by Klaviyo, the revenue generated from emails that pitched a 5% off was higher than those that pitched a 25%+ discount. 

chart showing impact of discounts on revenue - 17 powerful ways to reduce to shopping cart abandonment

Taking this data into consideration, when you create your popups or landing pages, try pitching a smaller discount to drive more checkouts and reduce cart abandonment. 

However, when it comes to dollar based discounts, the greater the better. This is due to the nature of the discount.

When you say flat $50 off, it's a fixed amount - regardless of the amount. But with percentage discounts, the higher rates would usually be associated with a greater minimum cart value. 

Furthermore, you can segment customers and reward them differently. For example, first-time customers get free samples plus discounts and repeat/loyal customers get free shipping.

2. Reduce anxiety triggers  

The cart is technically your customer’s last stop before checkout.

This means customers need to feel assured about their purchase. The slightest friction can cause them to overthink or abandon the cart. 

Solve some common frictions that cause anxiety and reduce online shopping cart abandonment:

  • Offer options to edit the cart with buttons to add or detract quantity, choose a different color/size, save for later, or delete the product from the cart. 
  • Make sure the coupon input field works correctly in terms of showing different offers and easy application. Once applied, the cart should automatically update the prices. 
  • Provide at least 3 different modes of payment and include a 1-click checkout for faster purchases.  
  • Write return and exchange policies in simpler language rather than complex legalities. 
  • Recommend up to 3 relevant products and no more to avoid paralyzing shoppers with too many choices. 
  • Ensure that your trust seals and logos are recognizable or consumers are likely to abandon their shopping carts, either because the trust logos were missing or because they did not recognize them.     
  • Remove distractions such as pop-ups, sticky navigation bar, and footer.
  • Offer multiple delivery options such as store pick-ups and paid options for faster shipping.   
  • Give shoppers a chance to review the order before making the payment.

3. Add nudges for convenience 

17 powerful ways to reduce to shopping cart abandonment

Add-to-cart is easy. Checking out is another matter.

Customers tend to overthink their purchases. They want to avoid regret, and you have to avoid too many returns. 

Perhaps, the shopper has added a product to the cart and is browsing through similar-looking products. 

In the search list, highlight products,

  • already in the cart, with additional info such as promo offers and extra features
  • visited previously, with date and time info  
  • real-time stock alerts to create urgency
  • trigger exit-intent pop-ups 
  • add a countdown timer to show how much time is left on a promotional offer
  • strike out the higher price so customers can differentiate between the discounted price and the original price

Shoppers also take more time to think over their options. You can nudges like ‘email my cart’ or ‘share my cart’, which helps shoppers to visit their cart or get feedback from their friends on certain products. This will help to reduce online shopping cart abandonment and drive more purchases. 

4. Let them know WHY

17 powerful ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

According to Baymard Institute, 61% of a group of survey respondents complained that many ecommerce websites ask for information that seem unnecessary or too much. 

You might have a very solid reason for asking for their contact number or alternative email address etc. but visitors need to be abreast of that. 
This helps remove any fears that visitors may have on shopping from your website and reduce cart abandonment rates.

5. Draft cart recovery emails that are different and not boring 

Sending out shopping cart abandonment emails has become a common practice. The open rate for such mails are almost 50% with a 6.5% CTR. 

But, as we all know, the recipient's inbox is crowded with such emails and a lot more other emails from online brands. The key to stand out is to tackle 2 key areas - the subject line (yes they are important) and the body of the email. 

Experiment with email workflows. You can ask for feedback regarding browsing experience, share testimonials, send cart, search, browse, and category abandonment emails.

Here are a few tips when drafting the subject line for your online shopping cart recovery emails: 

  • Avoid being too direct like “Complete your checkout to get your product”. Keep room for some curiosity.
  • Use humor to grab their attention. Here’s an example from Abercrombie & Fitch: You’ve got this one in the bag (literally). It gives readers a chuckle and keeps them interested in what you have to say. 
  • You can use emojis to add a bit of personality to your subject line but make sure not to go overboard. 
cart recovery subject lines with emojis
  • Avoid leading with generic offers like “Free shipping”. Instead offer a dollar based discount - it drives higher open rates and CTRs.

These are just a few best practices to keep in mind. There are a lot more you can try with cart recovery subject lines in order to win customers back. 

When it comes to the actual cart recovery email, here are a few best practices:

  • Keep the tone very courteous and cordial. You don’t want try something funny and come off as condescending,

  • Provides more alternatives to their selected product - more colors or versions, this keeps them interested if they change their mind about what they want.

  • Design your email to replicate the cart page of your website - it creates recall.

  • Be witty than salesy with your pitch.
madewell's cart recovery email
See more examples of smart cart abandonment emails to inspire you.

6. Why make them look? (Auto apply discounts on checkout)

Make life easy for your potential customers. Rather than having them snoop around for discount codes and sales, apply the best offer at the checkout page to avoid them bouncing off and consequently reducing cart abandonment rates. 

If you are running a store on Shopify, here’s a video detailing how to enable this feature on Admin.

The same can be enabled for freebies as well. Say you want to provide a product B for free on purchase of product A. Here’s how you can do that:

On your Shopify admin, click on Discounts > Create discount > Automatic discount.  

Under Automatic discount title - add a name for the coupon, could be something like Freebieforthemonth

Under Types > Buy X get Y.

In the Customer buys section, set up the following.

  • Choose Minimum quantity of items or Minimum purchase amount.
  • Set the quantity of items or the min amount to spend 
  • Under Any items from section, pick if you want to include products or collections as the qualifying criteria for the free product
  • Add products or collections to the promotion. 

In the Customer gets section, here’s what you do.

  • The first few steps are the same as in the Customer buys section
  • In the At a discounted value section, add the discount amount/value. Or select Percentage and enter a rate. If you want to offer items for free, then select Free.
  • Under Set the maximum number of uses per order , enter the maximum number of times that this promotion can be applied by a customer.

7. Keep talking to customers through the buying process

Give your customers a seamless browsing experience by integrating customer support services.

As soon as buyers reach the checkout page, they often tend to have doubts related to the refund policy, the payment procedure, or the quality of the product.

Take the level of care and attention up a notch by offering them immediate assistance through a chat with a customer support representative or allow their queries to be solved over live chat.

Example of using communication to improve cart abandonment

Options like click-to-call, live chat, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) help a great deal to reduce cart abandonment as buyers can shop peacefully without any qualms.

live chat support

Make the shopping process an interactive one.

Casual messages like ‘Don’t we’re almost there’ and ‘One step and you’re done’ encourage the customers to go the whole nine yards.

8. Site crash? All you need is funny error message 

Yes, you certainly need a developer watching your site’s uptime and keeping a check on your store’s vitals but sometimes, for even the biggest websites, things can go south. 

What can you do to keep the visitors on your site? - A funny but assuring message helps

Madcloth's funny error message

Take a look at Modcloth - they display a really witty message. 

What’s great about it?

  • A really fun copy 
  • A character that adds to the personality of the message
  • Redirection to other pages / products while they get it fixed

SHORT ON TIME? HERE'S A QUICK SUMMARY OF THE AREAS TO LOOK AT ON HOW TO REDUCE CART ABANDONMENT RATES:

9. Be clear about all costs on every relevant page

According to a study by Statista, 56% of customers abandon the cart due to unforeseen expenses.

Once a buyer adds a product to the cart, he/she will not like to witness a jump in the amount. So, don’t keep your customers in the dark.

Avoiding hidden costs can reduce cart abandonment - 17 unconventional ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Be upfront about all costs - shipping charges, taxes, and other probable fees. This way, the user will know what they are getting into.

You can also provide multiple delivery options to allow them to anticipate the full cost of the product. Amazon offers express delivery and relaxed delivery - customers according are able to estimate the full cost, preventing any shock while checking out. 

10. Ask customers to register after checkout

17 unconventional ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Creating an account can be a huge deterrent and cause shoppers to abandon cart. 

Perhaps, you have tried offering first-time shoppers different ways to create an account. 

But, customers have become more conscious about sharing their information. They will hesitate before signing up through their Gmail or Facebook accounts, fearing breaches in social security. 

Furthermore, they know their inbox will soon overflow with marketing messages.       

However, you do need a way to communicate with your ‘guest checkout’ customers. You can ask them to create or register after purchase

Your messaging can be as simple as ‘track your order’. Once the order has been delivered, you can transfer these customers through the post-purchase email journey.

We suggest offering promos such as ‘40% off on your next purchase’ to increase the possibility of repeat orders and reduce cart abandonment.        

11. Don’t lose customers over the ‘back’ button 

Don’t lose customers over the ‘back’ button  - 17 unconventional ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

The ‘back’ button is a unique challenge for many eCommerce stores. If customers hit the back button and land on the homepage, it might cause panic and anxiety. Especially, if they lose their searches.

Repeating the process of searching and applying filters might cause customers to just close the tab altogether.       

Make it effortless for your customers to add-to-cart and quickly return to checkout when they’re ready to buy. 

You can include a mini version of the shopping cart to drop down from the header or pop-up on the left side panel. Let your customer edit the shopping cart in the preview version as well.  

Some retailers have also made it possible for shoppers to checkout directly from the product page to minimize the number of clicks and page views necessary to complete a transaction. 

On the cart page, include navigation that lets customers view the wish list in a tab on the same page, instead of a whole new page. This will help customers to add their saves to the cart without hitting too many buttons and reduce cart abandonment. 

12. Are you changing to international currencies?

While multiple payment modes, 1-click checkout, and POS financing options have proven to increase cart conversion rates, you can still do more. 

If you have scaled your eCommerce store for international deliveries, then you need to show that transition in the shopping experience.  

You don’t want to frustrate customers as they calculate the exchange rate. So, let your customers edit their currency preferences. 
Include geolocation capabilities to calculate shipping costs. Optimize cart and checkout pages so that they are easily translated into different languages as well.  

13. Don’t just make it mobile responsive 

Don’t just make it mobile responsive - 17 unconventional ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Yes, yes, everyone’s talking about mobile experiences to reduce cart abandonment.  

While eCommerce stores should be responsive, you can add extra features to make the mobile shopping experience different.  

Optimize the cart page for a one-hand user experience and keep the most relevant clicking elements in the thumb zone (like a full-width CTA button?).    

Utilize dynamic keyboards that change with checkout field needs. So when you need a customer to type in a phone number, or use a numbers field, be dynamic by showing only a numeric keyboard. You can do this for letters or special characters as well.

14. Spend smart on Retargeting (weed out the low-performing Ads)

Retargeting ads aren’t anything new. But it costs a lot of money and effort in running them and driving these abandoned visitors back to your site.

If you’re not generating the ROAS you expect, take a look at the ads you're running, identify which ones have generated the most traffic back to your site and the largest conversions. 

This is easier said than done - requires a lot of manual work. An easier way is to run an analysis of your ads using tools like PPCgear. This tool runs a thorough analysis of all your Ads and provides insights on what’s working , what isn’t and how to fix them.

The suggested quick fixes to optimize your retargeting Ads will bring down the potential loss in revenue and make Ads a more reliable avenue to drive long term conversions. 

15. Highlight IMPORTANT details of your refund policy in a few words

Everyone talks about clearly showcasing your refund/ return policy or the link to those pages. However, no one has the time or patience to read the whole thing and take a call.

Instead, try summarizing the whole thing in 2-3 lines and mention what matters on the checkout and product pages such as offer trials and free samples.

example of short refund policy

See above a great example - only what matters to the customer with a link to view the whole policy. 

16. “Save for later” exit-intents 

There’s nothing better than saying something engaging to your users — just when they’re about to leave.

But gifs, discounts and sales are all generic and overused. 

A more personalized option is to ask them to “Save for later” by signing up. This is an easy way to get their email and engage with them. You can also add previews of pop-ups for a better mobile experience and reduce cart abandonment. This will also be compelling to the visitor as it's more relevant to them and not too pushy. 

Here’s an example of this practice: 

save for later exit intent - 17 unconventional ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

17. Test the cart page YOURSELF

A/B testing is a crucial part of the eCommerce conversion strategy. It helps you decide what’s working, what needs improvement and consequently reduce cart abandonment rate. 

However, don’t depend entirely on tools. Experience it yourself. 

Make sure to use your eCommerce store and follow similar paths as your customers. 

Browse, add products to the cart, fill out each form, and complete each field. 

This will help you determine challenges on the cart page. You will be able to answer questions on font reliability, product image view, and more.

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Conclusion

By going the extra mile with these lesser known strategies, you can reduce cart abandonment rate and improve the sales for your eCommerce store. It's time to start executing what suits your online store!

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