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Alexander Bickov
Alexander Bickov November 29, 2022

Shopping cart abandonment is one of the most common problems faced by eCommerce stores. Indeed, 69% of online shoppers who add products to their carts leave before completing their orders.

A high shopping cart abandonment rate can have many damaging effects on your online store: it reduces conversion rates, increases customer acquisition costs, and ultimately means losing sales. However, the good news is that with the right conversion rate optimization (CRO) tactics, you can reduce cart abandonment and recoup more of that marketing investment. 

If you want your eCommerce business to succeed, you must turn more shoppers into paying customers. In this article, we’ll explore why customers abandon shopping carts without purchase and how you can lower your cart abandonment rates to help your online store thrive. 

What Is CRO?

Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of creating and optimizing the conditions on a website to increase the percentage of users who perform the desired action. Desired actions include bringing in leads, sign-ups, or eCommerce sales.

CRO is crucial because it allows you to lower your customer acquisition costs, increase revenue per visitor, get more customers, and grow your business. You can think of it as the process of understanding what drives, stops, and convinces your users, so you can provide them with an experience that makes them convert. 

What Is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

The term is typically used in eCommerce to describe a situation where a customer begins the checkout process but fails to complete the purchase. 

You can calculate the cart abandonment rate of your eCommerce store by dividing the number of completed purchases by the number of shopping carts created. Then, subtract the value you got from 1 and multiply by 100. 

Cart abandonment rate = 1 – transactions completed/shopping carts initiated * 100

The average abandonment rate varies across industries, but it is generally highest in the travel and hospitality industry, reaching as much as 89%. A high cart abandonment rate can be a strong indicator that there are certain issues in your online store that prevent shoppers from buying and that reducing checkout abandonment should become one of the priorities for your business.

What Causes Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Understanding the main reasons why customers fail to make a purchase on your eCommerce site will help your business find appropriate solutions. Here are some of the most common causes of cart abandonment:

1. Complex Checkout Process

Almost 21% of customers abandon a purchase if the checkout process is too complex. In today’s world, people expect everything to be as fast and as simple as possible. A long and complicated checkout process with too many steps and form fields can create friction and prevent users from placing orders. 

2. Poor Shipping Policy

Around 61% of buyers are likely to cancel a purchase if they don’t find the option to choose free shipping. The unexpected shipping costs at checkout can make customers re-evaluate buying decisions and abandon their carts.

3. Mandatory Account Creation

Up to 37% of customers will abandon a cart if they’re required to make an account to complete the process. Adding this extra step can slow down the checkout flow and create undesirable obstacles to purchase. 

4. Available Payment Options

Online shoppers expect fast and easy payment processing, and 56% of customers want to see multiple payment options. The absence of desirable payment methods, such as PayPal, credit/debit cards, cash on delivery, or Google Wallet, may cause cart abandonment. 

5. Page Load Times 

If your website crashes and has a slow loading time, it will directly influence customers’ experience on your eCommerce site and willingness to make a purchase. Site errors contribute to a sense of insecurity and can keep people from completing the purchase. 

Quantitative tools, like URL shorteners, can help you collect numerical data to track what is happening on your website.

6. Comparison Shopping

Nowadays, customers can visit many sites online and compare the prices of the products they’re interested in. Often, shoppers browse multiple sites selling similar items and add them to carts to find the best deals. 

7. Lack Of Trust

It takes time for first-time visitors to trust your site with their credit cards. Customers might be afraid of filling out transaction forms and providing personal details such as phone numbers and email addresses to sites they don’t trust. The only way to build trust is by prioritizing data protection and security at every touchpoint.

10 CRO Tricks To Reduce Cart Abandonment

By reducing shopping cart abandonment rates, you can dramatically improve the revenue and profit of your business. Here are some CRO tactics that don’t require a large investment and will help you improve the customer experience on your website, resulting in more sales.

1. Work On Your Speed

Many people choose online shopping because it’s quick. If you want your visitors to stay on your site, explore your offers and make a purchase, you have to quickly provide them with the content they’re looking for.

Slow site speed can negatively influence the user experience on your eCommerce website and encourage shoppers to look elsewhere. Ensuring that every page on your site loads fast will help you keep your bounce rate low and avoid irritating your customers. You can do that by setting up an ongoing page load speed testing process, optimizing pages that load slower than three seconds, and always working to drive load speeds down to a minimum, both on desktop and mobile.

2. Offer Different Payment Options

Not every customer wants to use a credit card when it comes to online shopping. Some may prefer a digital wallet, a debit card, or even cash, and if they don’t find their preferred payment option, they will likely leave your website. 

Offering flexible payment options will help you optimize conversions and avoid losing customers. For instance, you can use shopping apps like PayPal and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay. You can also offer buy now and pay later options, such as shop pay installments, Klarna, and Four. 

Offering different payment options reduces shopping cart abandonment

3. Improve The Mobile Experience

72.9% of eCommerce spending happens on a mobile device. At the same time, mobile cart abandonment rates are noticeably higher than those of desktop users. This implies that designing and optimizing your checkout for smartphones and small screens is extremely important when it comes to reducing cart abandonment rates.

Think like a mobile consumer, remove friction points, and simplify the customer journey. Avoid too many form fields, small buttons, and loading screens. Creating such a responsive and mobile-first design will help you convert your visitors and significantly boost your SEO.

A good design enriches the mobile experience

4. Persuade Visitors With Exit Popups

An exit-intent popup is displayed when the system detects that a user is about to leave the page, i.e., abandon the cart without completing the checkout process. The displayed popup should be designed to persuade your visitors to complete the purchase. For example, you can use a popup to offer a special discount code or free shipping to motivate the shopper to complete the payment. 

Exit Popups greatly reduce shopping cart abandonments

5. Send Follow-up Emails

Another way to reduce the shopping cart abandonment rate is by sending follow-up emails to customers who haven’t completed their purchases. The open rates for abandoned cart emails are comparatively high – the first message in your email sequence can receive an open rate of up to 63%

Use these emails to remind your customer about the unfinished purchase and give them the ability to pick up where they left off. You can also offer a small discount to entice shoppers to revisit their purchases.

Follow-ups mails to remind users to complete the purchase.

6. Communicate better with Push notifications

People often add a lot of items to their carts while browsing an eCommerce site. But they often leave the mobile shopping platform without completing their purchase, usually because they get distracted by the endless push notifications and messages coming through on their mobile and web devices.

Using a push notification to remind these potential customers about their abandoned carts makes them willing to open the app again and complete their purchase. Different push notification templates could also be used as a way to remind customers about expiring deals on the items in their carts or inform them about upcoming sales and additional discounts that are applicable to their shopping carts. 

Push notifications reduce cart abandonments and also increase user engagement on the shopping platform.

7. Include Clear CTAs 

Your customer’s path to purchase should be as clear and simple as possible. If your visitors get lost or confused on your site, they are more likely to leave. A great way to reduce your cart abandonment rates is by including a clear desired next action. 

For example, when a product gets added to a cart, make sure your most prominent CTA is the ‘Proceed to checkout’ or  ‘Buy now.’ Try telling the visitors what to do by using signs such as arrows or offering a one-click checkout option for an even smoother experience.

Clear CTAs bring down the rate of cart abandonments

8. Use Testimonials and Social Proof 

Social proof is a phenomenon whereby people look at the behaviors of others to decide how to act. When it comes to online shops, potential buyers trust the reviews of other customers as much as they would trust a word-of-mouth recommendation. Testimonials from satisfied customers, third-party reviews, and ratings can help build customer confidence and minimize the sense of uncertainty, which, in turn, can motivate them to complete their purchase.

You can implement a variety of social proof methods on your eCommerce site, such as user reviews, ratings, testimonials, and social media clips. Don’t overlook the value of video reviews and testimonials. Place reviews and testimonials throughout your site, especially on product pages and sales pages, to increase conversions.

Reviews are a great example of social proofs and testimonials

9. Add Trust Signals

Lack of trust is another important reason why visitors abandon shopping carts without completing the purchase. Being able to earn customer trust can be an important competitive advantage for your business. 

Some steps you can take to build trust with your customers are:

  • Ensure responsive customer service
  • Use trusted payment processors, like Paypal
  • Clear refund and return policies
  • Transparent pricing and additional costs
  • Privacy and data protection policies 
  • Trust signals, like security badges and compliance logos.

Clear refund and return policies build trust in customers

10. Trigger Scarcity and Urgency

Customers are more likely to complete the purchase if they feel like they might miss out on a product if they don’t buy it now. To reduce the abandoned cart rate, trigger scarcity and urgency by highlighting how many units of a certain product are left, how many people have bought it in the last 24 hours, and by adding a countdown clock to highlight sales and special deals. When customers feel like they may lose out on a good deal, they may go ahead and complete a purchase.

To read more on how to maximize profit from your eCommerce platform, download Future of Gamification Guide : Ecommerce Edition, 2022 guide.

Wrapping Up

Abandoned carts are an inevitable fact of eCommerce and can lead to lost sales and revenue. However, there are a lot of techniques that can reduce the shopping cart abandonment rate onsite and minimize factors that drive online shoppers away. It’s all about catering to shoppers’ needs and making the entire process as simple and effortless as possible.

By optimizing customers’ path to purchase, removing barriers, and making online shopping a hassle-free experience, you will be able to reduce shopping cart abandonment whilst, at the same time, increasing your sales.

About the Author

Alexander Bickov

UX designer, creative thinker, and problem solver with 15+ years of experience in digital product design and growth marketing. He is a strong believer in the power of design and its ability to provide meaningful and emotional connections. His main goal is to connect people and products using strategy, creativity, and technology. Alex is writing stories and lessons he learned as a designer and entrepreneur about human-centered design, product design, design systems, inclusive design, rapid prototyping, and user research.

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