How to Reduce Your Cart Abandonment Rate

Cart abandonment. The struggle is real.

You know that. We know that. And that’s why we’re all here.

So enough time wasting, let’s figure out how to reduce your cart abandonment rate.

What is cart abandonment?

Cart abandonment is exactly what it sounds like: when a shopper adds something to their online cart but leaves the site before completing the purchase.

It’s the digital form of going into Target, filling up your shopping cart, then just walking out. Weird IRL, but super common online.

How to calculate your cart abandonment rate

Before we dazzle you with some downright dumbfounding statistics, calculating your cart abandonment rate is very easy: take the number of people who actually buy something and divide it by the total number of people who added an item to their cart, including those who bought and those who bounced. Subtract the result from 1 and then multiply by 100 for the abandonment rate.

Say you made 25 sales last month (we can help you increase that number, btw) but you see that 200 total visitors to your site added items to their cart, you take 25 and divide it by 200. Take that result (0.125) and subtract it from 1:

1 – 0.125 = 0.875

Then multiply that result by 100:

0.875 x 100 = 87.5

And voila! Your cart abandonment rate is a dismal 87.5%. So sorry.

Now onto those statistics.

7 out of 10 carts abandoned

Just how common is cart abandonment?

Like we said above, it’s super common.

Statista, the finest of all statistics sites, reports that in 2019 69.57% of all digital shopping carts were abandoned. Imagine, 7 out of 10 carts that are filled don’t end in a purchase.

What’s even more troubling is that that number has been increasing every year since 2014.

And what’s even more troubling is that in March 2020—granted, perhaps the wackiest month in ecommerce history—the global cart abandonment rate was a dizzying 88.05%.

Why do people abandon their carts?

Good question. And the answer—well, “answers” actually—will help you improve your cart abandonment rate.

Independent UX research group the Baymard Institute surveyed nearly 5,000 American adult online shoppers to determine why people abandon their carts. After segmenting out the “just browsing” portion, they determined that by far the most popular reason for abandoning one’s cart is that the hidden costs were too high. Fully 50% of those surveyed responded that add-ons like taxes, shipping, and other fees turned them off enough to abandon the transaction.

The survey results break down like this:

baymard research

There are a ton of reasons a potential customer might pick a product but bounce before they buy. Take a look and, if you see any that apply to your site experience, address them. Like Baymard Institute says, “Unlike the ‘just browsing’ segment, a lot of these issues can be resolved. In fact, many of them can be fixed purely through design changes.”

Which brings us to our first and most important bit of advice on how to reduce your cart abandonment rate…

No secrets

Surprise charges tacked on at the end of a purchase are the No. 1 reason people abandon their carts.

That’s why you need to be transparent about any and all charges. Either include them in user-facing pricing or make it totally clear that there are more fees to come. If you don’t, you risk losing a massive chunk of potential revenue.

Look at what Amazon does: before you even click on a product, they show you how much shipping will cost. Shoppers appreciate that kind of transparency.

Despite what you may have heard, people don’t like surprises. Least of all when it comes to money.

guest checkout

Don’t ask for too much

We all know how valuable user emails can be, but not everyone is dying to hand theirs over. So don’t make it a necessary step to purchase.

This is where the guest checkout comes in.

Remember, people are trying to pay you—if they don’t want to create an account with you, that’s fine, just take the money.

If they enjoy the experience, they’ll be back. Maybe then they’ll set up an account with you. But—as you can see in the chart above—more than a quarter of shoppers who abandoned their carts did so because they were forced to set up an account.

Give them the option to buy as a guest, and watch that cart abandonment rate plummet (that’s a good thing).

KISS: Keep it simple, superstar

We touched on this in our 10 Ways to Boost Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate post, and it’s a good bit of advice for any ecommerce site, no matter what your challenges are.

Keep it simple. Reduce friction. Eliminate obstacles to purchase.

You’ve shopped online before, right? Make the experience on your site one that you would want to have. Make it seamless.

No one wants to go through an epic online journey of a thousand steps just to buy socks.

You might not know it, but Amazon’s a competitor of yours, and their checkout process is a breeze.

Do what they do and keep it simple.

Help your customers out

It’s not so much that they want you to hold their hand, but they want to know that you could. Essentially, it’s about recreating the in-store experience. (Remember stores?)

Shoppers will always have questions. In the past, a friendly salesperson would be able to help them out. But just because real-life salespeople aren’t much of a thing right now doesn’t mean you’re forced to let your customers fend for themselves.

A well-rounded FAQ page is a good place to start: provide your customers a place where they can learn about your shipping terms, your satisfaction guarantee, your refund policy, etc.

But let’s be honest, an FAQ page isn’t exactly replicating the in-store experience.

In this new abnormal, the best way to do that is to have a live chat feature. However, if you don’t have the time or resources to have a rep available 24/7, using an AI-powered chatbot is just as good… and actually better in a lot of ways.

Customers will always have questions and concerns, Giving them answers and reassuring them on their shopping journey will go a long way in getting them to complete their purchase.

save carts

Save everything

Have you ever been on an ecommerce site, put a few things in your cart, then had to bounce for whatever reason? Have you ever gone back to that site only to find that some helpful someone has put your items back on the shelf, leaving your cart empty and your willingness to buy pretty much gone?

Cookies can help.

You know cookies, right? Vox tells it like it is: “Cookies are small files that websites send to your device that the sites then use to monitor you and remember certain information about you.”

Certain information like what you had in your cart. Remove obstacles to purchase.

And another thing! Don’t trap your customers in checkout. They might decide that they will actually buy that diamond necklace they saw a few pages back, so let them. Allow your customer to move seamlessly between checkout and shopping. If they get stuck in checkout, they might just leave your site in frustration, abandoning their cart forever.

Cart abandonment emails

When it comes to cart abandonment, here’s why user emails are so valuable.

Some time after a visitor to your site abandons their cart (remember, 7 out of 10 shoppers do this), you send them a friendly, not pushy, not creepy, gentle reminder that they still have items in their cart.

Use your brand voice to suggest that since there was a time when they wanted to buy, that maybe their heart still feels that way. And be sure to include a link that will take them directly to the checkout.

Digital marketing platform Moosend did some research on cart abandonment emails, and they found some good stuff:

Abandoned cart emails have a staggeringly high 45% open rate.
Of the ones that are opened, 21% get clicked.
Of the ones that are clicked, 50% go through with their purchase.

Say 1000 people abandon their carts on your site, sending these automated abandoned cart emails will net you 47 more sales. That’s 47 sales that had all but disappeared, and which now could become repeat customers.

Abandoned cart emails = amazing.

Don’t abandon hope

At first glance, the fact that 69.57% of all shoppers abandon their carts is enough to rattle even the toughest ecommerce vet. But there is hope, there are ways to turn it around.

So tuck this article safely into your bookmark bar and return to it whenever you need tips and/or strength.

Or get in touch with us directly; we’d be happy to chat through your options.

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