7 effective ways to prevent shopping cart abandonment

The user clicks through the store, adds one or more products to the shopping cart and leaves the store without completing the purchase process. Shopping cart abandonment is a typical, cross-industry problem of any online store and at the same time one of the biggest challenges of ecommerce.

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According to the online portal Statista over 88% of online orders end in shopping cart abandonment – in the automotive industry it is even over 96%. According to the Baymard Institute the rate is “only” 68% – a still extremely high figure. For a company, a cancelled shopping cart means the loss of a customer and thus a sale.

Here is the good news: It is possible to reduce the shopping cart abandonment rate significantly. To do this, you should first look at why potential customers abandon a purchase and leave the shopping cart behind.

Reasons for shopping cart abandonment

Potential customers usually abandon the purchase process for one or more of the following reasons:

Unexpected shipping costs

Hidden costs are the main reason that your visitors leave your site without making a purchase -and rank first in terms of both probability and impact. Hidden costs such as unexpected shipping charges cause confusion and disappointment for the visitor, often causing to leave the store at exactly that point.

Long and confusing checkout

Most visitors generally have a short attention span and a multi-stage checkout – especially when a customer account has to be created – discourages many visitors, which often leads to shopping cart abandonment.

Lack of coupon codes

Some customers are constantly on the hunt for deals and discounts. If there is no coupon for a product, they look for it in another store instead.

Customer had no intention to buy, but just wanted to look around

Another very common reason for shopping cart abandonment and almost impossible to counteract: A customer basically had no intention to buy from the beginning, but only wanted to look around, get information or compare prices – and in the end he bought the product in another store, offline or not at all!

Concerns about the security of the payment

If a customer is worried about the security of the payment process, he is of course also worried about his money in general, and this can have serious consequences – namely the cancellation of the shopping cart. The main causes include design flaws, outdated layouts, missing images and no SSL certificate.

No satisfactory return policy

A clearly communicated return policy is just as important – the customer sees the risk of buying a product as significantly lower if it is made easy for him to return the product within a generous period of time.

Did you know that 75% of the visitors have the intention to buy a product at a later date after a shopping basket has been broken? But only 10% actually do so. 

So let’s have a look at exactly what can be done to get customers to complete their purchase, thereby reducing the shopping cart abandonment rate and making more sales.

1. Exit-Intent Popups

One of the best ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment is to create a popup window that appears on the screen when the visitor moves the mouse pointer towards the cross to close the page, or if the visitor has already clicked on it.

This popup allows you to keep the visitor’s attention for a moment and can prevent him or her from leaving the page, for example, by using a special coupon code or promotional discount. So the visitor has a convincing reason not to cancel the shopping cart and make the purchase.

2. Free shipping

One of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment is hidden costs at the end of the checkout, such as shipping costs or taxes.

As an online customer, you have probably experienced this before. You add a product to your shopping cart for 19.99 Euros. When you pay, the price suddenly jumps to 25.00 Euros. So like most consumers, you decide to look for a better offer and never return to your shopping cart.

If you want to charge the customer shipping costs, it is more advantageous to include them in the final price of the product. Free shipping is like a bargain or a special offer for the customer. It is recommended that you communicate this on the main page to give the potential customer a reason to buy from your company.

3. Retargeting Ads

When you add a JavaScript tag, also known as a pixel, to your website, ‘cookies’ are added to visitors’ browsers when they land. You can track this cookie with a retargeting application so that your banner ads appear if and when they search for products like yours again. If this is the case, the familiarity they already have with your site and/or product will increase the likelihood that they will click on your ad again.

A study by Comscore and ValueClick found that retargeting ads are twice as effective as other tactics in getting buyers to search for a specific brand.

Retargeting through email can also be very effective.

4. Scarcity and exclusivity of an offer

Another tactic you can use in the fight against shopping cart abandonment is to create a sense of scarcity or urgency. This means letting customers know that a discount or promotional offer will not last forever.
This plays with the so-called FOMO (‘Fear of missing out’) of the potential customer and it is more likely that they will buy the product (‘Now or never’).

For example, you can use a timer on the website or an indication of the units that are still available. However, caution is advised here: Timers and the like can quickly appear scammy, so these tactics are to be enjoyed to a limited extent.

5. Discounts based on the shopping cart total

Once a customer has reached products of a certain total quantity or price, you can offer an additional incentive to complete the purchase. In many cases, an additional voucher or promotional offer at this point in time is exactly the stimulus your customers need at the checkout.

The great thing about this feature is that you can set the total amount required in your customer’s shopping cart.

For example, you could offer a 10% discount for a total shopping cart amount of 30 Euros, 15% discount for a total shopping cart amount of 50 Euros, and 20% discount for a total shopping cart amount of 100 Euros or more.
Not only do you reduce the number of shopping cart abandonments by offering customers an incentive to complete their purchase, you also ensure that you make as much profit as possible for your company.

6. A wide range of payment options

Paying for a product is the last step in the conversion funnel and it would be a pity to lose the customer now. To counteract this, you should offer as many payment options as possible at the checkout.

Credit card payment is most popular, but other options such as Pay Pal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet should also be offered to keep the shopping cart abandonment rate as low as possible.

7. Clear, simply structured navigation

Your store should not contain any errors, load quickly and have a clear, concise structure. The less the customer has to scroll and click, the more likely a conversion (and the less likely a shopping cart cancellation) is.

The products should be organized so that selection and purchase are easy: A short preview, an ‘Add to cart’ button and a fast checkout reduce the cart abandonment rate significantly.

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