For anyone who runs an e-commerce business, shopping cart abandonment is a serious issue. As an online business owner, you need to be aware of your shopping cart abandonment statistics for your website. If you have not heard about this before, a shopping cart abandonment rate is the percentage of shoppers who placed products in the shopping cart but did not complete the checkout process.
On average, 69% of online carts are abandoned by users after putting products into their shopping cart. While shopping cart abandonment is expected online to a certain degree, higher rates of abandonment can lead to a reduction in sales and difficulties in retaining customers.
To understand what you need to do to curb shopping cart abandonment, you will first have to know why customers leave their unpurchased products behind.
So, now that you know the primary reasons, how can you bring these customers back to complete their purchases?
Keep forms simple and simplify your checkout process
Some online stores see forms as a formality in the sales process and they take customers through multiple extensive forms simply to complete a purchase. However, just a simple contact form or checkout form can hurt your chances of getting a prospective customer to do business with your brand. So, never ask too much information of your customers. Instead, choose to ask for minimal information – you may need to get in touch with your customer at the very least. You could also use progressive profiling that asks customers additional questions after they have displayed a willingness to provide further data in exchange for future shopping benefits.
A company that optimises its checkout process is the Cards Against Humanity online store.
Have detailed and flexible return policies
The only thing worse than a bad return policy is the absence of it. Most online shoppers will tell you that the better the return policy, the more willing they are to shop from an online store – and this makes perfect sense.
Online shopping always has a certain level of uncertainty attached to it (especially when you are shopping for clothes and are unsure of the sizes) and the fear of a purchase gone wrong can always cause your customer to change her mind and abandon the cart.
A company that has an excellent FREE return policy – complete with instructions, various return options and the shipping labels already sent to you when you first receive your parcel – is the clothing brand, Zalora.
If you do not already offer free returns or returns at all, chances are that you could be losing prospective customers. You should offer a clear explanation of your return policies. Good return, refund and exchange policies show that you are a brand that offers an awesome customer service experience.
Send abandoned cart notifications
A great way to handle abandoned carts is through notifications. If you have an app like Lazada, Shopee or Sephora, you could probably utilise your push notifications to remind your customer of the item she left in her cart. However, this only works if you have an app and the customer has had it installed on her phone.
Another great way to get your customers’ attention is to send out abandoned cart emails to remind them. Use simple but catchy content with a casual tone. The last thing you would want to do is spam your customers’ inbox with the wrong attitude. There are automation services available that you can use to send out abandonment emails to your customers. Use this at optimal opportunities to market your products and remind your customers about their desired products waiting in their cart.
Here is an example of a series of automated emails you can use to drive them back to complete their purchase:
- 1st email: “You forgot something!” – Trigger this email as soon as they leave your site. This is also called an abandoned cart email.
- 2nd email: “Are you still interested in [insert product they abandoned]?” – Send a question-based email a couple of days after their initial abandonment. Keep your language personal (in fact, as much personalisation as you can give will improve email conversion rates).
- 3rd email: “For a limited time, get free shipping on your [insert product they abandoned]” – Give an offer that’s specifically related to their abandoned product. After all, if they do not complete the purchase, you would have lost the sale completely.
- 4th email: “Free shipping offer expiring on [insert product they abandoned]!” – Add urgency to the buying process.
- 5th email: “You’ll lose your [insert product they abandoned] in 24 hours!” – To add even more urgency to the buying process.
Run a promotion
Many online shoppers abandon their cart if there are no promotions or discounts. A lot of online shoppers look for deals before they make a purchase. And, if they cannot find any exciting offers in your store, they will go somewhere else. Some of the common tactics that allow you to build customer loyalty include:
- Reward points
- Free shipping above a certain limit
- Bulk buy pricing (buy one, get one free)
Once a customer leaves your site, the chances of winning her back are slim. So, to combat shopping cart abandonment, you can showcase special offers through website banners, sidebars, pop-ups or even on the sign-up page (eg, offer a discount for signing up).
Use retargeting ads to bring customers back
If your online customer has the habit of not checking her emails, do not worry, there are still ways to reach her through retargeting ads.
Imagine a scenario where a customer visits your online store, but leaves the website soon after. Retargeting works through cookies or the website data stored on the browser, tracking the web pages you visit. These retargeting ads are mainly used on Google and Facebook, targeting visitors based on location, the number of sessions and specific page views. This allows you to use retargeting ads to remind customers of the product they recently viewed.
While follow-up emails for customer retention are often sent days after the customer has abandoned her cart, an immediate follow up is required for retargeting. Follow up within hours or immediately, if possible, as it is directly linked with high conversion rates.
Narrate a better visual story
With online stores, your customers cannot really see, touch or check the items. When it’s difficult to figure out if an item would be great for them, the chances of them completing a purchase is low. This could be the main reason you see an increase in the cart abandonment rate at your site.
Take this opportunity to add more details to your products to increase conversion rates. You can add multiple pictures of a product from different angles so that customers can get a better visual understanding of how it looks in real life.
Let your images do the talking. If you are running an online clothing or jewellery store, have images of people wearing your products as well.
Have multiple shipping options and free shipping
Another reason a customer may decide to abandon her cart at your site could be the shipping itself. If it does not immediately become clear how much the customer would be paying on shipping and how long it would take for her purchase to arrive, she may go elsewhere. Communicate clearly what your shipping policies are, which methods are available and how much time it takes to deliver items.
An added tip would be offering free shipping to gain more customers. However, only do it to get something in return. You can offer free shipping as an incentive for submitting contact information or you could give free shipping exclusively to people who have given you their contact information. When you have users’ contact information, they can effectively be made loyal customers, increasing their lifetime value and addressing any profit margin concerns you may have.
Alternatively, you could allow free shipping for purchases over a certain amount. Set it so that it’s at the upper range of your average purchase where your profit margins are healthier and can take a hit.