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July 30, 2019

Abandoned Cart Strategies That Recapture Sales

An abandoned cart is costing you money. If you want to grow your business, you can't afford that. Research shows that e-commerce businesses see an average 69.57 percent abandon rate. That is a scary statistic. It means that roughly two out of three shoppers decide to leave your site in the middle of checking out. You can estimate how much money you're losing. Luckily, you can do something to cut down on abandoned carts.

If you want to reduce the occurrence of an abandoned cart, these three topics are the ones you need to know about:

  • Why shoppers abandon carts
  • How you can encourage shoppers to complete a purchase while they're on your website
  • How you can entice shoppers back to the cart after they've moved on

Abandoned Cart Causes

Learning more about why people abandon carts will help you avoid it. Once you know the causes, it will be easier to address abandoned cart issues. Baymard Institute conducted research on e-commerce and identified many reasons why people abandon carts:

  • 55 percent: Extra costs too high
  • 34 percent: Required to create an account
  • 26 percent: Checkout process too long or complicated
  • 21 percent: Total cost not available up front
  • 17 percent: Afraid to enter credit card information
  • 16 percent: Delivery takes too long
  • 11 percent: Not satisfied with the return policy
  • 6 percent: Not enough payment options
  • 4 percent: Credit card declined

Note that shoppers could have more than one reason to leave a cart. Now, let's look at those statistics in categories that will help you take action.

The Checkout Process

Some shoppers might think the checkout process will take too long or is too complicated. That will cause 26 percent to leave your cart. If the checkout process requires shoppers to create an account, 34 percent will leave. Four percent of shoppers leave because the system declines their credit card. We're assuming that problem isn't a result of the checkout process.

In summary, a less than stellar checkout process can cost you 60 percent of your shoppers.

Costs and Payment

Twenty-one percent of shoppers abandon a cart because they can't see the total cost up front. Fees cause 55 percent of shoppers to leave. They think fees make the total too expensive. Those fees could include things such as shipping, handling, and tax.

Some shoppers leave because they don't find their preferred payment option. That reason forces 6 percent of shoppers to stop checking out.

In summary, if you're not managing the cost and payment issues in your cart, you're losing 61 percent of your shoppers.

Website Operation

It's difficult for a shopper to establish trust if your website looks unprofessional. If the website has errors or crashes during checkout, that's another problem. Together, those issues will result in 17 percent of shoppers leaving. Some shoppers won't trust your website to protect their credit cards. That will drive off another 17 percent of shoppers.

In summary, if your website isn't impressive, you'll lose 34 percent of your shoppers.


Shopping online can be a risk. The shopper can't touch or try on the product if it's clothing. Besides that, they can't check the color or confirm the quality of the product before making the purchase. Once the shopper has received the product, they may find that it's not what they wanted. In that case, the shopper will want an easy way to process a return. If your site doesn't have a good return policy, 11 percent of your shoppers will leave.

Online shoppers today want things fast. If your delivery methods are too slow, 16 percent of shoppers will leave your cart.

In summary, you'll lose 27 percent of shoppers if your policies aren't popular.

Make Shopping Easy Before Shoppers Leave

The best way to reduce abandoned cart problems is to avoid them in the first place. These strategies can help you create a great online experience for your shoppers. Shoppers will stay on your website when you make shopping easy.

Reduce the Number of Checkout Steps and Form Fields

Baymard research shows that over time, the average number of checkout steps has increased to 5.42. Most carts have six steps. If you can reduce the number of steps in your checkout, you'll have an advantage. But even more important is what the shopper must do at each step.

According to Baymard, an average checkout has almost 15 form fields. Shoppers can get overwhelmed when they see a large number of fields on a checkout page. Overwhelmed shoppers often leave carts. Here are four suggestions for reducing the number of fields on your form.

  1. Drop optional fields. Keep in mind that "Optional" fields do count. Decide if you can do without that optional information. Think about asking for it after checkout. For example, are you really going to call a shopper on their home, mobile or work phones? Odds are you could remove some or all of those fields.
  2. Hide rarely used fields. You can also make fields that aren't used often a link. For example, a second address line and a company name won't be useful to a majority of shoppers. Remove those blank fields by creating a link that opens the fields when needed. Baymard's testing proved that everyone completing the form noticed the links to hidden fields. This makes the approach a good one.
  3. Use one name field rather than two. A field called "Full Name" lets the shopper enter their name as they think about it. No one thinks of their name in two pieces, first and last. Having a single name field also eliminates one field. And it avoids the situation where people often put their full name in the first name field they see. Then they see the second field. They must go back and remove their last name from the first field, then tab back down to complete the second name field. It's just more time and confusion you can clear away.
  4. Show only one set of address fields. Again, this will make your form look less intimidating. You need a shipping and billing address, but they're usually the same. Use a pre-filled checkbox to let the shopper show that both addresses are the same. If they uncheck the box, the second set of address fields appear.

Offer Guest Checkout

It would be great if every shopper created an account to make them feel like a member of the family. But creating an account slows down the checkout process. It also annoys people who don't want to create an account.

Offer a guest checkout option at the beginning of the checkout process. You can always offer the chance to create an account after the shopper completes their purchase.

Offer a Range of Payment Options

Some shoppers prefer to use PayPal or another third-party processor. Others would prefer to use a credit card. The more payment options you can provide, the fewer abandoned carts you'll have.

Make Costs Transparent

It's frustrating for a shopper to fill out billing information before they know what the purchase will cost. Show shipping costs in the cart, if there are any. If your shipping fee calculation requires a zip code, ask for it in the cart to display shipping costs before the checkout process begins. You can also include taxes and any other fees in the cart total.

Establish Trust

Several factors will determine whether shoppers trust you and your website. Here are ideas for establishing trust with your customers.

  • Shoppers won't stay on a website that isn't running smoothly. Set up your hosting to avoid downtime or slow response.
  • Give shoppers the information they need. For example, publish return policies, and shipping fees and policies. And let shoppers get to know you better with an About page.
  • Make it easy to reach you with as many options as you can support. Options include live chat, a telephone number for customer service, and a contact form.
  • Your site should be secure. Many shoppers will look for the padlock in the address bar. Also, display your security badges. Shoppers want to know that your payment processing is also secure.

Offer Quick Delivery

Offering quick delivery sounds easy. But there are two issues you need to address:

  • Your order processing procedures. You'll need to streamline your order processing procedure. Get shipments started as soon after the order as possible.
  • Shipping methods. You'll need to make the best deals possible with your shippers. You may even need to hold inventory in distribution centers that are closer to your customers.

Establish an Attractive Return Policy

Returns are a fact of life for almost all e-commerce companies. It's virtually impossible for a shopper to make the right choices in every online order. According to UPS, 68 percent of online shoppers review a website's return policy before buying anything. And 15 percent of shoppers abandon a cart when the return policy isn't clear.

Your customers will have more confidence in your company and products if you have an attractive return policy. So, make it easy for shoppers to find your return policy. Don't hide it on a Customer Service page. Make it easy to find, along with your shipping policy.

You can't make a policy that will cost you money, but it needs to be useful enough for the shopper to make it effective. For example, L.L. Bean finally dropped its lifetime guarantee in 2018. It was costing the company more than it was making from its famous boot. L.L. Bean revised its guarantee to one-year, which is still better than many of its competitors'.

Make It Difficult for Shoppers to Leave

Technology can help you determine when a shopper is about to abandon a cart. When that happens, it's your last chance to get them to check out while they're on your website. Use exit-intent popups to make shoppers think twice about leaving. The most effective popups offer a discount or free shipping to get the shopper to commit to the purchase.

Abandoned Cart Strategies: After the Fact

Despite all your efforts, shoppers are going to abandon carts on your website. Here are strategies that will help you recover those sales after the shopper has left your website.

Abandoned Cart Emails

After a shopper abandons a cart, sending an email can help entice the shopper back to complete their purchase. Here are some tips for writing abandoned cart emails.

  1. Create an abandoned cart campaign. You'll need a series of emails to shoppers who have abandoned a cart. Be creative to make the series engaging.
  2. Use social proof. Include a link to reviews for the products that are in the abandoned cart. Good reviews prove that other people like the products.
  3. Don't reinforce all cart items. Many shoppers will comparison shop by putting several similar items in their cart. You can't entice them to buy everything in the cart. The best approach is to choose the top selling item in the cart and highlight its features and benefits. Including ratings and reviews is also effective.
  4. Use your loyalty programs. Many shoppers expect a discount offer in an abandoned cart email. But that may be too costly. Another approach is to highlight how many points the shopper has that they could apply to the purchase. If they haven't signed up for your loyalty program, offer a significant number of points for completing their purchase.
  5. Promote your email list. If you're not getting a response, add an offer to join your mailing list in the last email in the sequence. Evidently, the shopper likes your products. You can offer to keep them informed of new products and special sales. It helps the shopper, and you will need their permission to contact them on other topics.

Web Push Notifications

A web push notification is a message that you can send to visitors to your website. It appears on their desktop or mobile device, even if your web page isn't open in their browser. Web push notifications offer several benefits:

  • You don't need a mobile app. The visitor receives the push notification through their browser.
  • You can reach visitors on their mobile device or desktop.
  • You don't need the visitor's contact details.
  • You know your visitor will receive the message right away.
  • You will get relatively high opt-in and engagement for your notifications.

Some people don't value push notifications. They think that no one will opt-in to receive them. Actually, the opt-in rate is about 5-15 percent. Email newsletter opt-in rates run around 2 percent. The higher opt-in for notifications could be because people are more comfortable when they don't need to supply their personal information. In addition, notifications average an engagement rate of 21 percent. That is much better than the average rate for email, which is 3 percent.

You will need to optimize your notifications to get the best result. Make sure your copywriting is top notch. You have a limited amount of space in a notification and need to grab attention quickly. Push notifications are a perfect follow-up to an abandoned cart.

Use some of the strategies that work for abandoned cart emails. Promote the bestselling items in the cart -- and use scarcity, social proof, and special offers to motivate the shopper to return to complete their purchase.

Retargeting Ads

You can use retargeting ads to remind shoppers of the items they left in their abandoned cart. One way to retarget is to use Google AdWords. Google will show ads for the items in an abandoned cart to your shopper on other websites they visit. Retargeting on Facebook and Instagram is also available.

Revising Conversion Funnels

You can use your traffic analytics to identify and fix places where you're losing shoppers. Your shoppers go through several steps before they reach your shopping cart. You could lose shoppers anywhere along that journey. Knowing when shoppers are leaving, especially at the critical cart stage, will help you optimize your funnel. Improving your funnel can help you reduce the number of abandoned carts you need to worry about getting back.

Final Thoughts

An abandoned cart is an opportunity lost. Too many losses will hurt your chances to grow your business. When a shopper has identified items they'd like to buy, they've made a commitment of time and thought. It's much easier to bring that shopper back to your website than it is to attract a new shopper.

Use the right strategies to stop shoppers from leaving, and to entice them back after they're gone. You'll be in a much better position to increase sales and achieve long-term growth when those strategies are working well for you.

About Eniture Technology

Eniture Technology specializes in helping e-Commerce merchants grow by providing useful information, digital marketing services, off-the-shelf apps that solve common problems, and custom programming services. Please contact us if you need help growing your online business or implementing the concepts presented in this blog post.

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