5 Winning Strategies for Slashing Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

Ariel Geifman
March 24, 2013

There is nothing worse for an online retailer than a high shopping cart abandonment rate. According to Monetate, 8.01% of visitors added items to their cart in Q4 2012, but only 1.42% actually checked out—suggesting that global cart abandonment rate is around 82%. Here are five strategies that you can use to reduce your cart abandonment and increase conversion rates.

option7 1 5 Winning Strategies for Slashing Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

You spend a fortune bringing visitors in; you see them engaging with your carefully curated products… But then, just as you are waiting for them to open their wallet, they leave. There is nothing more frustrating and annoying than a high shopping cart abandonment rate, seeing those engaged potential customers going away. Cart abandonment is here to stay, but there are some things that you can do to save some of those dollars:

1. Do the analysis

Shopping cart abandonment may not only be the fault of price comparison or indecisive shoppers. Some of it may be due to problems with user experience or even due to undetected website errors. Segmenting users who abandoned their shopping cart and looking at their visitor recordings and heatmaps can uncover many of these problems and potentially save users from going to the competition. For example, visitor recording can reveal that international users cannot check-out since they don’t have an US phone number.

2. Create a multi-step checkout process

In a multi-step checkout process, you capture a potential customer’s email address, which allows you to contact him or her by email if they choose to abandon their shopping cart.  Only then, you ask for other details including shipping address and credit card information.

This has two main benefits for lowering shopping cart abandonment rate.  This way if they do not complete the checkout process, you have an email you can reach-out to. Second, it is much less intimidating: instead of one long form, you have a short one at each stage.

3. Offer free shipping

In many cases, the additional cost of shipping comes as a surprise to many visitors during the check-out process. In an era when many online retailers offer free shipping, charging a few dollars extra for shipping may be a point of friction and drive customers to abandon their shopping cart. Therefore, try to experiment with free shipping and see whether the added revenue from lower abandonment rate overweighs pocketing shipping costs.

4. Have a great return policy—and make it explicit

When you can’t touch the merchandise, customers want to know that they’re not going to get stuck with a pair of shoes that don’t fit. You may not need to go as far as Zappos.com and offer 365 day free return on everything. However, even if you have a return policy already, making sure that it is explicit during the checkout process may make it easier for customers to spend the money.

5. Give lowest price guarantee

One of the things that can increase your shopping cart abandonment rate is if customers feel that they need to check out another website or two to make sure that got the best deal. A price match guarantee can give shoppers the assurance that they can check-out now and get the difference if they find lower prices anywhere online.

No silver bullet

There is no silver bullet to lower your shopping cart abandonment rate. Yet rigorous analysis that includes watching visitor recordings, analyzing heatmaps and incorporating other best practices can lower abandonment rate, earning your precious extra revenue. And in the competitive world of online retail, every fraction of a percent counts.

 

 

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17 Comments

  1. Michelle Smith Says:
    March 25th, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Very interesting article. I think though that much of the high shopping cart abandonment rate is due to price comparison. Users are browsing multiple sites at the same time to get the best price.

    Therefore, online marketers should not think about online cart abandonment the same way that they think about physical store shopping cart abandonment. They should focus on reducing it, but they have to take into account that it will be there, specifically if they sell comoditized items.

  2. Ariel Geifman Says:
    March 25th, 2013 at 2:04 am

    Thank you Michelle. I completely agree.

    I think that if you sell electronics or other goods that can be found in multiple online store, people are price grabbers. If you sell more unique items, you are more likely to experience lower shopping cart abandonment rate.

  3. James Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Nice article.

    Most sites I have worked on is between 76% to 82%. I agree with Michelle there is ways to reduce it.

  4. Chris S. Says:
    March 26th, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Point 2, Create a multi-step checkout process, is an interesting point due to normal practice of reducing the steps or input fields to the minimum level, inclusive of passive 3DS.

    I also presume you know the customer, i.e. the email address isn’t part of a guest checkout process – I’d otherwise have thought explicit opt-in would be required, otherwise privacy issues would come into play, particularly within the EU.

  5. Ariel Geifman Says:
    March 27th, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Chris,

    Sometimes you know the customers, but in other cases such as in software, hospitality of other one time purchases you may need to get email as well.

  6. Chris S. Says:
    March 28th, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Ariel, I agree, my point was solely in regards to opt in/out requirement

  7. shirley Says:
    April 4th, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    very interesting article, I think that abandoning the car is given a price war that there is in the online market, although the market is well segmented few cents less will always remain attractive to the eye of customers.

  8. Ariel Geifman Says:
    April 6th, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Thanks Shirley! Shopping cart abandonment online is more common as people are very price sensitive and are trying to get the best deals!

  9. Ibukun Says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 4:52 am

    I totally agree, most customers find it annoying when additional costs creep up. Cart abandonment email marketing campaigns are a great way of wining back those lost sales. Keep the great posts coming.

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