The Ultimate Guide to reduce shopping cart abandonment

by on February 3, 2016 1

Why do customers leave products in their shopping carts?

What makes them change their mind about a particular product?

How can I as an e-commerce website owner ensure customers purchase the items they put in the cart?

If you own an e-commerce website, these questions are probably hovering on top of your head like a giant question mark. Let’s face it, cart abandonment poses a grave threat to anyone who is trying to make a sale online.

According to an article on Business Insider, merchandise worth $4 trillion became a victim of online shopping cart abandonment in 2014. The same report states that if retailers used Digital Marketing effectively, they could have avoided 63% of these cart abandonments.

However, before we tell you about ways to get around this epidemic of shopping cart abandonment let us first understand the meaning of shopping cart abandonment.

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

When shoppers go through items on an e-commerce website, sometimes they add products to the shopping cart and may still not buy the products for various reasons.

In this post, we will understand the reasons for such occurrences. We will also learn ways of tackling this problem better.


Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Why do people abandon shopping carts?

1. Comparative Shopping

People love to compare prices of products. Such comparisons often lead to customers abandoning online shopping carts. Customers end up finding the product that they require at better prices on a different website.


2. Shipping Costs

We have noticed that people abandon shopping carts when either shipping is not free or the cost is perceived to be too high.


3. Lack of Transaction Time

Customers sometimes require time to complete the transaction and end up abandoning the online shopping cart. Items that have limited period offers end up not being purchased because users either forget about it or are unable to produce funds within the timeframe.


4. Unavailability of the Product

E-commerce websites lose customers when a product goes out of stock. In this situation, there is not much a user can do other than waiting for it to be available again.


5. Complicated buying process

Some give up on completing their transaction because the buying process is highly complex. For example, a lengthy form for collecting personal details of the user could have adverse effects on the outcome of the sale. A complicated paying mechanism that expects the user to use credit/debit cards from specific banks could also lead to shopping cart abandonment. Limited payment options is also a big turn-off for customers.


6. Technical glitch

There will be days when the payment gateway crashes, and there aren’t any alternate methods through which the customer can still buy a product. Any technical glitch on the website or the payment gateway can put the customer off.

7. High Prices

Shopping cart abandonment often occurs when the prices of a product are remarkably high.

8. Looking for something else

Sometimes your customer like what your website has to offer but may not be the exact product they want to purchase.

9. Payment Issues

Many times, customers are unable to make payments because the payment gateway is unable to accept some credit/debit cards. Customers end up abandoning shopping carts because of this reason.

10. Website Issues

Users may abandon their shopping cart if your site fails to function properly. If the website has a tendency to crash often then expect users to leave shopping carts without purchasing.

There are many other reasons that result in people abandoning shopping carts. Some of them include the following.

  • Casual Browsing (Online Window Shopping)
  • Decided against buying
  • Concerns about Payment Security
  • Price in Foreign Currency
  • Payment declined

Now that we have understood why customers abandon carts let’s see how we can fix this critical issue.

How do we make customers stop abandoning their shopping carts?

Here are some steps that you can take in your e-commerce site to make checkouts more efficient.

1. Display Images

Viewing images of the product throughout the buying process is a great way to reinforce the idea of that purchase. Providing bright, large or dynamic thumbnails in place of lengthy text describing the products is always a better way to ensure the customer buys the product.

Display Products

2. Authentication Stamp

It is crucial that the customer can see some labeling or a linkable item on the page of the product that ensures the authenticity of the product. This link could provide information of the retailer selling the product and their authenticity policies. This link becomes necessary because the customer will not be able to check the product physically before making the purchase.




3. Secured Purchase Route

Sometimes online shoppers avoid purchasing from certain websites because they are concerned about the level of payment security the site provides. According Get Elastic, an online retailer found 4-6% increase in sales just by placing the security badge on their website. It is also important to check the placement and style of the security identification.


4. Single Page Vs Multi-Stage Checkout

It is a known fact that a single page checkout is comparatively more efficient than a multi-stage checkout. However, there are other retailers who have used a multi-page checkout and have been successful. Even if your website uses a multi-stage checkout, ensure the website clearly mentions the progress of the purchase. This way the customer can keep track of his/her purchase through the progress bar.


5. Removal of Items from Cart

Customers dislike being locked on to the checkout page. Hence, items from the cart should be easily editable. There should also be a link for the client to go back to the page he was shopping on by just clicking on Continue Shopping.


6. Multiple Payment Options

Customers love it when an e-commerce website provides various methods of making payments. Ensure your site offers payment through Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Paypal and Cash on delivery. The audience and demographic you are targeting will be the deciding factor for the payment options you provide. For example, a student will not own a credit or debit card to make payments and would probably opt for the Cash-on-delivery option.


7. Customer Support

A toll-free number and a chat box will reinforce the trust that customers are looking for before purchasing a product. The questions and doubts they could be having about the product or the payment option they choose are addressed immediately.

8. Avoid having many Registration forms

Customers hate it when they have to register to a website just to purchase something from it. We understand registered users increases your customer database and makes it easier for you to target those users again, but if you lace registration forms with offers and discounts customers could react to it differently.

9. Free Shipping

Shoppers are more likely to make a purchase from an ecommerce website if it provides free shipping. Depending on your geographical region, this might be one of the most critical factors. For e.g. in India most of the ecommerce websites offer free shipping so if you do not provide it, customers may not buy from your site.

10. Testimonials

Adding testimonials is a great way to ensure that people go through with the purchase process. By displaying testimonials, your costumers can trust your website, and it can help your business grow.

How can you recover customers who have abandoned their shopping carts?

1. Ad retargeting

Retargeting works by keeping a live track of people who have visited your e-commerce site once and then displaying your website’s ads to them on other websites.

For example, if you are surfing on Urban Ladder, and then you leave it and go to a different site like Mumbai Mirror, you will start seeing Urban Ladder ads on it.

This way customers are repeatedly reminded about the products they liked on your site. As the customer sees the ads multiple times, they are compelled to click on the ad and eventually make a purchase on your site.



Retarget 2

2. Email Recovery

If you have the email id of your customers, one of the best ways to get them back to the abondoned cart is by sending them a series of personalized emailers.

The emails must include:

  • Images of the product
  • Guarantee and Refund Policy
  • Reviews and Testimonials
  • A strong call to action button that persuades them to buy the product

Another critical factor for sending emails is the timing.

The first email should reach the mailbox of the customer within 24 hours, the second email in two days, and third within a week.


Image Courtesy: Myntra

3. Remove Hidden Charges

A surprise additional charge at the time of checkout is a complete turnoff for online shoppers, and it leads them to abandon their shopping carts.

The best way to deal with this situation is to add a cost estimator during the checkout process so that shoppers are aware of the final price from the very beginning.

4. Shopping cart readily accessible

Ensure that your customers find it easy to locate the items they have updated in their carts. Preferably a drop down menu is the most suitable for displaying cart items. A page dedicated to seeing items in the cart is not feasible as compared to a Drop Down Menu that is viewable throughout the browsing experience.


5. Minimize Purchasing process

Customers must feel at ease while browsing and buying products from your website. A preferred route would be to minimize the number of pages involved in the purchase of any product.

Most of these multi-page checkouts feature just forms, questions or product specifications and is inevitable as per payment procedure policies. In such a situation introducing an ‘Express payment’ feature where most of the information is prefeeded helps. The ‘Buy Now’ tab in the image below works as the express payment tab.


6. Reduce browsing features

Customers have a very short attention span. If you bombard them with other products while they are in the process of purchasing one, they will probably ditch the product and go back to looking at other products. It is better to limit browsing features during the payment process as it would help customers to focus on the task at hand, which is purchasing.


7. Add Back Buttons

It is highly critical that the customer be given the freedom to browse however they feel. In the attempt to ensure that the customer commits to purchase, we should not limit their freedom, especially the freedom to go back.


8. User Registration Optional

We understand the importance of generating a database of valuable customer information. However, the customer is already burdened with creating an account for every website with innumerable passwords. Allow services such as login using Facebook account, Google+ and other social and email accounts making it convenient for the user to login using one of their already existing accounts.


9. Easy order

Customers are bound to make mistakes while passing through the purchase funnel. Ensure your website allows them to add or remove items quickly from their shopping cart. Provide ‘Remove’ link next to each product in the cart. Add the ‘Continue Shopping’ at the bottom of the cart next to ‘Pay Now.’


10. Highlight sales and discounts

Another way to ensure that the online shopper goes through with the purchase is to attract them with discounts, sales, and other promotional purchase codes. The promotional activity should be time-dependent to encourage a sense of urgency in buying the product. All discounts and sales should be highlighted through online and offline campaigns.


In conclusion, online shopping cart abandonment can be dealt with before it occurs or even after. The idea is to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to re-engage with your customers.

The online shopper has already shown interest in your website by adding products to the shopping cart. All you need to do is use smart and retargeted emails, ads and other points mentioned above to communicate the urgency to check out items from their shopping cart and enjoy increased sales.

Please share with us if you have used any of the above or any other methods to avoid shopping cart abandonment.

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