How to Keep Online Shoppers from Abandoning Their Carts

Are your online customers abandoning their online shopping cart before they complete their purchase? If so, you’re not alone. Here are several things you can do to reduce lost sales.

Are your online customers abandoning their online shopping cart before they complete their purchase? If so, you’re not alone. Abandoned shopping carts are a common problem. According to a 2019 Baymard Institute report, the average reported shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.57%. That means that if your site is typical, over two-thirds of the customers who start to place an order on your site may be leaving before completing their purchase.

The reasons consumers and businesses buyers abandon shopping carts are varied. High shipping costs and comparison shopping are two common reasons. In B2B sales, the person who initially looks for a product and puts it in a cart may be researching the cost and other details for their boss.

Other reasons for shopping cart abandonment include the buyer’s desire to find more information about a product or to read reviews; a last minute decision to search for coupons; or the site “timing out” (forgetting what was entered in the shopping cart) because the shopper had to answer a phone call or got interrupted in some other way. Shopping carts that force a shopper to register before allowing them to make a purchase, or that are set up in such a way to make it difficult to see what you’ve put in the cart or find the “checkout” button will also cause online shoppers to leave without completing their purchase. 

Although some of the factors that cause shoppers to leave your site without completing a purchase are beyond your control, there are a number of steps you can take to lower your shopping cart abandonment rate. Here are several to consider.

  • Make sure your shopping cart isn’t confusing to use. Can customers easily find the add-to-cart button? Can they easily find a way to view their cart when adding multiple items, and how to check out when they are ready?
  • Don’t force customers to register in order to make a purchase. If you do have a registration system as part of the cart, be sure there’s a way to opt out of registration and still complete the transaction.
  • Do offer shoppers a way to save their cart so they can come back to it if they are interrupted or want to leave for some other reason.
  • If practical, offer free shipping or free shipping to one location for purchases over a set dollar amount.
  • If you do charge a shipping and handling fee, keep your fees as low as possible by negotiating discounts on packaging materials, streamlining fulfillment procedures, and using the shipping company with the best rates for the volume of shipping you do and the weight and locations to which you are shipping. 
  • Make it easy for shoppers to estimate the shipping cost before they put their order in the shopping cart
  • Post information about expected delivery times. Customers want to know how soon after they place an order their merchandise will ship, and what the expected delivery time will be.
  • Make sure your company name, location, hours of operation, and a telephone number are clearly visible on every page of the site. Customers who buy online often want to call the company to ask questions or even to make sure the company is “real” before entering credit card information online.
  • Make the phone number you list on your pages a click-to-call number. That way smartphone users will be able to quickly call you if they want more information or want to place the order over the telephone.
  • Provide multiple payment options. Yes, certain credit cards charge merchants more to process, than others, but by refusing to accept them, you could very well lose the sale and the customer plus any money you spent on advertising to get the customer to find your site.
  • Provide a way for customers to print an order form, submit a purchase order, or mail in a check. This is particularly important if you sell to businesses.

Sometimes there’s little you can do to stop a customer from abandoning their cart. They may be just in the research stage and not ready to buy. Or they may have been interrupted while they were shopping and just closed their browser.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can still save the sale. If the shopper has left their email address when they were looking at your store, you can follow up with an email. Or, if they’ve signed up for your newsletter or email list, you can keep in touch with them on an ongoing basis, sending them information, coupons or other reasons to buy from you.

But even if they haven’t given you an email there are ways to remind the shopper to come back and buy your products.

One way is to show them an exit popup as they are about to leave the site. The popup can offer them a slight discount, or a special offer bundling what they were going to buy with another product, or offer other incentives to complete their order today.

Another method is through remarketing to the shoppers with ads for the product they abandoned after they’ve left your site. You can do this easily on Facebook and with Google Ads. Google explains the process here. Instructions for Facebook are here.

However you do it, it pays to work at recovering the sales from those abandoned carts. It improves your ROI from product ads, and once a customer buys from you once, it’s easier to get them to buy a related product or reorder in the future.

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