Consumer habits have shifted significantly in the last couple of years and the online shopping trend is still going strong. Despite that brick-and-mortar stores are often better for the “real shopping experience”, you can’t really argue about the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your couch.
For business owners, e-commerce is more about constant work and development to keep the conversion rates flowing. Although maintaining an online store is a good supplement to an existing physical store to increase their reach, in e-commerce, having a brick-and-mortar store is not that important.
Setting up an online store is relatively straightforward but the real challenges start after the launch.
First, you need high selling and valuable products, then generate interest. The next step is to attract traffic to guide customers through the buyer's journey. At the end of the day, every owner wants to reach their final goal which is to persuade the visitors to convert and make their purchase. The problem is when there is large traffic on the website and the vast majority of them churn in the last stage of the conversion funnel.
Most online store owners face the ultimate enemy – abandoned carts – at least once. This is one of those rates that you want to keep as low as possible.
Keep reading this post to learn how to achieve this.
Cart abandonment and its damaging effects
Cart abandonment refers to the moment an online store visitor adds products to the cart but leaves without completing the purchase.
Based on 46 studies on e-commerce shopping and cart abandonment, Baymard Institute statistics documented an average of 69,82% card abandonment across all industries in 2021. On mobile, it's even higher, nearly 75% of users from mobile devices leaving without conversion.
When it comes to the effects of this phenomenon, the first we mention is revenue loss. No doubt, it is painful to lose the money you invested in the products and the business itself. Beyond return on investment issues, there are several other ways cart abandonment can impact an e-commerce brand. Here are some of them:
❌ Inventory management and availability issues because of reserved products.
❌ Slower website speed due to a high level of traffic adding too many items to the cart.
❌ Higher marketing campaign costs.
❌ False data and misled ad targeting resulting in lower ad click-through-rate.
This is how cart abandonment can cost you more than just your revenue. It is inevitable and it cannot be reduced to zero, but you can lower abandoned cart rates if you change your tactics for the better.
What happens after the cart abandonment?
In UK-based research, Statista found that one-third of online shoppers returned later to the same website and bought the item they added earlier after abandoning their carts. It is good to know for store owners who are worried about their conversion rates.
Approximately a quarter of the customers left the online store to purchase the same product from a different retailer. These consumers were the ones who did comparison shopping. They’ve been planning a purchase but wanted to compare different offers before choosing the best for themselves.
Only a few of them abandoned their carts to go and buy the product in a physical store. This behavior is also common among those who are intended to buy but need more information. This way they can compare products and decide before entering the physical store.
5 common reasons for cart abandonment
Unfortunately, a high level of traffic doesn't automatically mean that every one of your visitors will end up purchasing your products.
Some of them may be just planning a future purchase and collecting information or making comparisons, while others are also seeking more education, but they haven't yet reached the transactional phase.
There are several reasons for browsing without intention to purchase, although here are 5 of the most common ones.
1. Hidden or unexpected fees
Online stores are losing many users at the checkout because of high extra fees, like taxes, shipping costs, packaging, etc. The worst thing you can do is to hide the estimated shipping cost from customers as it isn't obvious to everyone. Also, you can't do much about taxes but you can lower shipping fees.
What to do?
As online shoppers can be convinced to buy something with free delivery, consider offering it.
To lower your expenses, you can build shipping fees into the product prices. If you dislike this idea, you can still inform the visitors about the estimated delivery fees next to the products or use calculators before hitting the checkout page.
Keep in mind that open communication is worth the effort!
2. Forced account creation
It is a fact that users who created an account earlier are more likely to make a purchase and the chance gets higher for a repeated order.
Accounts are helping you to get to know users better and maintain good relationships with them. However, a request to create a user account that appears at the wrong time can increase cart abandonment, damage user experience, and result in a higher bounce rate.
What to do?
Offer a guest checkout option, allowing shoppers to purchase without registration. By adding a one-click checkout, you enable users to save time and avoid distractions of signing up, verification and then signing in.
If this doesn't fit your business model, then save account creating requests for the end of the ordering process and ask for only basic data, like e-mail address, password, and their name to make it easier to register.
3. Security issues
If your online shop has even the tiniest signs of security problems, it can increase your cart abandonment rates. If shoppers are not convinced about the high quality of the products, the company's existence, or providing their personal information, users leave the site because of mistrust.
What to do?
Streamline your customer service, allowing people to ask for more information about products or the store (e.g., set up a live chat).
Using an SSL certificate shouldn't be a question when it comes to safety, also adding trusted payment methods like PayPal. Showing real customer reviews is also a good idea if you want to build trust.
If it fits your business model, consider offering a money-back guarantee, it can raise the level of trust as well.
4. Limited payment options
When online shopping started gaining more popularity, customers could choose from paying with cash or using a credit/debit card.
In the past few years, these patterns have changed and now there are many more ways to complete payments – online wallets and cards, applications like PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, or Revolut, just to mention a few.
Lately, it's been more popular to pay in installments, mostly when someone is on a tight budget. This option can be beneficial for both the consumers and the e-commerce brand owners.
What to do?
Offer as many payment methods as possible. This way, the chances that your visitors will find the one they prefer get significantly higher. Think about those who need more financial flexibility, like those who want to stay on budget.
PayPay and Klarna provide "buy now, pay later" payment options, consider offering this at the checkout, too.
5. Poor mobile shopping experience
Mobile devices are now almost more popular and frequently used than desktops. They are smaller, easy to use, and they can be as smart as a computer.
In fact, more than half of e-commerce sales happen on mobile devices, although their conversion rates are still lower than in the case of desktops. That doesn’t mean that you should overlook mobile shoppers’ experience.
What to do?
Aim for a mobile-friendly design, especially at the checkout page.
Some features cannot or are hard to optimize for mobile devices, due to their small screen sizes. Make sure buttons are visible for smartphone users too and try to minimize those plugins and ads that cause slow site load times.
To make checkout simpler, enable autofill, offer mobile payment options, and try to reduce the number of steps. Guest checkout and multiple payment options can improve the abandonment rate in this case, too.
Track and analyze data to reduce cart abandonment
Optimizing checkout can be a solution to lower cart abandonment rates. A low cart abandonment rate is a great indicator that your checkout page is properly optimized.
To achieve this, keep an eye on the overall e-commerce conversion rate. This is the percentage of completed orders which should be compared to the pre-optimized conversion rate. This way you can know whether the optimization was successful or needs more improvement.
Conversion rate optimization can be another great tool for your business. Using a conversion funnel helps you to improve the amount of traffic you want to drive towards the action, in this case, the goal is to make them purchase something. You can optimize the conversion rate at any stage of the sales funnel.
Cart abandonment in online stores is more frequent now than ever. This customer habit costs a lot for website owners and not just money-wise, but can also cause other damaging effects.
To avoid this, learn why it happens and follow the tips above to reduce your cart abandonment rates. Although you cannot reduce them to zero, with some smart tricks and changes you'll be able to lower the number of abandonment carts.
This is a guest post by Csilla Máthé.
Csilla Máthé is the Content Marketing Manager of Capturly, a full-scale online analytics tool that provides online businesses with real business insights simply and intelligibly.
✍️ Want to write for us? Check out our guest blogging guidelines here.