Despite offering the best of products or services to their target market, most businesses face the challenge of cart abandonment. Baymard Institute’s study says that the average documented shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 68. 63%.

While most businesses are already privy of this alarming number, most aren’t able to pinpoint the cause behind it and find the right fixes for it. According to a study by Statista for 2016, the following are the top 5 reasons why people don’t complete their purchases:

  1. They were shown unexpected costs at the time of checkout.
  2. They were just browsing through products with no intention of making a purchase.
  3. They found a better price on another online store.
  4. They found the overall price to be too expensive.
  5. They decided against buying the product or found the website navigation too complicated.

cart abandonment reasons

What can you do to stop your customers from abandoning their carts?

While the first answer of most marketers would be to make them an offer that brings down the total cart value, it isn’t really feasible every time.

The next best solution followed by most eCommerce businesses, are creating and executing cart abandonment email campaigns. Yes, they’re known to be highly successful but they try converting the person after he has left the website.

So here are 8 things you can do on your website to reduce your cart abandonment rate drastically:

1. Remove unexpected costs

About 56% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts because they incur unexpected charges at the time of checkout. And no one likes being deceived.

While it is obvious that businesses want to display the best of prices to attract customers, it isn’t really a good idea to wait until checkout to let them know of additional charges if any are applicable. Most eCommerce sites exclude shipping and packing charges to show a price that is appealing to the customer, but add them to the cart total during checkout – resulting in cart abandonment.

Remove all unexpected costs from your website by clearly stating them either on the homepage, via a constant header bar or in the footer – but make sure this information is visible to the visitor.

2. Offer free shipping

With bigger brands like Amazon offering free shipping, it is kind of obvious that online shoppers get put off when a business charges them for it.

According to a post on TechCrunch, free shipping is a major incentive for shoppers to complete a purchase or even buy more from the business. In another study by VWO, it was observed that by merely offering free shipping, businesses could increase average order value by almost 7.32%.

If you think offering free shipping on all your products isn’t feasible, here are a few things you can experiment with:

  • Offer free shipping on a minimum cart value.
  • Offer free shipping on a certain range of products only.
  • Offer free shipping during specific seasons of the year for a limited period.
  • Offer a member program that customers will need to pay a monthly amount towards to get free shipping on all their purchases.
  • Offer free shipping to repeat customers to ensure they remain loyal to your business.

3. Display discounts or money saved clearly

Abandoning shopping carts because they found a better deal on some other online store, is one of the top 5 reasons for high cart abandonment rates.

Now if you’re wondering how you can counter competitive prices, here’s an honest answer – you can’t. There are hundreds of businesses who have entered the eCommerce industry today and each one of them tries to offer attractive prices to attract customers. There is no way to keep a tab on all of them and keep updating your prices.

But what you can do is, display the discounts that you’re offering on products clearly right next to its price. Alternatively, you could display how much a person is saving on the original cost because of your offer.

For example, Nordstrom displays a before and after price to their customers and also highlight what percentage off it is giving on the product. This approach makes the buyer think he is already getting a great price for his purchase.

nordstrom money saved

4. Optimize your website for speed

eCommerce websites have multiple product ranges to display along with high quality pictures and other aspects to offer a seamless online shopping experience to their customers. But no matter how seamless they make everything or how focused they are on creating a real-like shopping experience, most lose out on customers because of a slow load time.

As we mentioned in a post before, the load time impacts your conversion rate directly. About 40% of people abandon a website simply because it took more than 3 seconds to load – and in this case, if your checkout pages load too slow, be sure to lose a customer.

Hence, focus on optimizing your website for a faster speed to avoid cart abandonment. This could include compressing images, minimising files and other techniques that we mention in our previous post.

load time statistics

5. Display local currency

The last time that you had to calculate the price of your product from US dollars to Euros, you probably cursed the website for not being intuitive enough. And that’s a common demand from online shoppers.

You need to make sure your website is optimized to cater to customers from all the locations you’re targeting. Smart eCommerce businesses generally ask the visitor to select which country he is from, to give him a personalized experience.

For example, House of Blouse identified the main countries they were receiving orders from and asks the visitor from where he is right when he lands on their website.

house of blouse localisation

6. Keep the cart always visible

While the visitors always have the option to move back and forth from their cart as many times as they like, having to do so though could be a bit irritating for them. Imagine being directed to a page to check which items you have in your cart, only to come back to the previous page to again find the things you want – tedious.

According to a study by Internet Retailer, allowing the shoppers to view their cart items and total via a drop down menu rather than navigating them to another page, decreases the cart abandonment rate drastically.

For example, Vero Moda shows a drop down cart menu that lets the shopper simultaneously view what he already has in the cart without interrupting his flow. It also allows him to checkout if he thinks the cart items cater to all his needs.

vero moda visible cart

7. Optimize the checkout process

Getting the right order of a customer’s journey through checkout can be challenging. Most businesses here falter because they think of what they want to achieve from it instead. It is important to focus on a potential customer’s thought process.

Customers usually want to know when and where their order will be delivered, post which they expect billing details. Now there are two ways of catering to this need of theirs:

  • Place the shipping form and billing details alongside each other on one page.
  • Create a progress bar that leads them from step to step – shipping information to billing to payment, etc.

The idea is to avoid shopping cart abandonment by providing a seamless, almost natural process to the buyers.

8. Allow cart editing

Imagine having added multiple products from the same range, thinking you would decide on which one to buy later and then, not being able to edit your cart – instant frustration and cart abandonment.

eCommerce businesses need to offer cart editing features to their customers. Be it adding or subtracting items, or simply giving them an option to increase/decrease the quantity of products they want to purchase, this is an important aspect of a shopping cart.

Customers don’t want to feel locked into the checkout page page with their initial choices. So be sure to make it easy for them to make changes.

For example, Snapdeal allows you to add/subtract items from the cart as well as increase/decrease their quantity with simple click functionalities.

snapdeal cart editing

What other cart abandonment fixes have you seen, heard or tried yourself? Feel free to add to this post by dropping a comment in the box below!


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Pavlos Linos

Founder and CEO at Exit Bee. I enjoy working on customer development and marketing optimization. I mostly write about how you can turn more visitors into customers.

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