67% of Shopping Carts are Abandoned – Stop your Customers from Leaving

by David Rekuc on December 18, 2013

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In 2013 a staggering $1.7 trillion dollars will be left in shopping carts.  With 2 in 3 desktop users abandoning their carts, there’s a staggering amount of revenue left on the table.  If you’re looking to boost your site’s conversion rate, it’s best to focus on optimizations as close to the purchase as possible.  Here are a few tips to help streamline your checkout process (or any conversion funnel):

Use Clear Calls to Action

Studies have shown a reduction of abandonment rate as high as 33% when using large, direct call to action buttons.  But, making the important buttons bigger and brighter isn’t the only way to make a checkout process more intuitive. Make sure to make the path from the beginning to end as intuitive and as frictionless as possible.  As a layman friend of mine put it “Make everything the least amount of work possible for me.”

Make Help Easily Accessible

Make it easy to find help.  Crazy easy.  Online, when there are a thousand other options to buy from, it’s even more important to make finding help as easy as possible.

If your customer does, for some reason, find a snag in the checkout process, make sure they can easily and quickly find the help they need.  This means tooltips for items that are typically questioned, a readily accessible and well-written FAQ, prominently displayed return policy, easy-to-find customer service information, and ideally a live chat feature.  Cheap, easy solutions like Olark make it easy to get started offering live chat on your site.

Many customer service teams find the thought of providing live chat frightening, but studies have shown a drop off of 50% workload for providing online-only support.  If you fear the burden that a live chat feature might bring, then phase it in by only showing it to a portion of your audience.  A/B testing tools can help you roll out this enhancement to a portion of your visitors.

Use a Reduced Checkout Navigation

When your site’s visitors make it to the checkout process, make sure you reduce the number of distractions.  One way to do this is a smaller navigation with limited options is a good idea to keep your customers focused on making their purchase instead of being distracted by deals or other categories.  A great example is the Macy’s navigation.

This is the primary navigation for Macy’s when browsing their store:

Primary navigation for Macy’s when browsing

This is the primary navigation for Macy’s when browsing their store.

You can see that once you’re in the checkout process, Macy’s focuses only on providing help to finish the checkout instead of their products and categories.

Primary Navigation for Macy’s when checking out

This is the primary navigation for Macy’s once you’ve entered the checkout process.

This example focuses on the navigation change, but the rule of thumb for checkout is that “Simplicity rules.”  Make this experience as frictionless as possible.

Allow Guest Checkout

At this point in time, the idea of a guest checkout is nothing new.  But, eCommerce merchants continue to make excuses for why their site is unique and should require users to register.  If you haven’t experimented with guest checkout, you don’t know the real value that it can drive for your store.

Removing the need to register and letting the user know they had the ability to register during the checkout process, one company realized $300 million dollars in increased revenue.

Retarget Abandoners

No matter how well optimized your checkout process is, people are going to put items in their cart and abandon.  It’s just going to happen.  However, that doesn’t mean the sale is lost forever, just delayed.

Make sure you’ve got a solution to send abandonment emails to bring your logged in visitors back to the site.  A recent study showed these emails being worth $17.90 per email sent.  That’s a staggering ROI for such a simple concept.

With Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter all being ad networks that support retargeting, your reach and frequency with display ad retargeting is increasing.  Make sure your shopping cart abandoners are their own segment in retargeting and treat them special.  They’ve shown a serious interest in your products and may only need a little incentive to finish what they started.

Measure and Optimize!

This article outlines some good practices to reduce your cart abandonment, but the reality is, each site is slightly different.  Figuring out the nuances that makes your checkout process as easy as possible requires measurement, feedback, and experimenting.  Make sure you’re doing all three.

One of the reports I look at is a funnel visualization of my checkout.  Use your Google analytics to set this up by creating a checkout funnel. Tracking where people are dropping off in the checkout process helps give you an idea where to focus your optimization efforts.

See our full infographic below for more tips on curbing shopping cart abandonment.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Ok, now let’s hear from you.  What bothers you when you checkout online?  Do you have any experiences implementing changes that helped your site’s cart abandonment?  What’s the most convenient feature you’ve come across when checking out online?

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Arleen
Twitter:
December 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I agree with you that cart abandonment is so important as that is business lost. The fact that a person took the time to get that far in the first place means they were serious.

We have taken a couple of steps to improve this. When a person creates an account we are able to see it. If the order does not come in, I have someone who contacts the person to see what we can do. This also gives us the opportunity to offer a discount coupon if they purchase. We have turned it into a marketing tool..
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Arleen,
Thanks so much for sharing how you handle shopping cart abandonment for your business. Do you contact them using email or via phone? Do you ever run into an instance where the person balks at being contacted?

Recently, I filled a shopping cart on CVS.com and I abandoned it. (I can’t remember now if I had expected to receive a bigger discount or if my order didn’t qualify for free shipping.) The next day, I received an email from CVSwith a code to receive an additional $5 off if I completed the process. I waited a couple of days until I received a new promotional offer that was available online only. I went back, used that discount, the $5 coupon and qualified for free shipping. So, I was happy and CVS is getting some free word-of-mouth advertising from it. 🙂
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Arleen
Twitter:
December 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Sherryl- We call the customer and when we can’t get a hold of them send out an email. I have never had anyone irritated that we contacted them. We are usually offering them something so it is hard to be mad at that. I feel if the customer has gone to the trouble to register, they were interested.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Thanks Arleen. That’s good to know. It’s always beneficial to hear from someone who can speak from experience.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

silviu
Twitter:
December 21, 2013 at 5:52 am

Hi David,

The idea of a guest checkout is one of the best idea possible. It really increases the chances to make a sale.

Now, creating a sales funnel and making it short and easy to navigate is just half of the process. The other half is the measurements and the analysis of prospect’s and customer’s behavior.

I think Google analytics is the best free tool available to do that, indeed. Adding some pieces of code on your ecommerce site and setting up goals will allow you to see if everything goes nice and smoothly during the checkout.

Google analytics allows you to see if there are any roadblocks on the road to the sale. If you see most of the potential customers leaving at a particular point during the checkout without closing the sale, then you will know there is a problem there and you can make the necessary changes.

Useful post. Thank you very much

Have a wonderful day
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I agree with you totally about the guest checkout Siliviu. Anything that makes it easier for the potential customer to complete the transaction can only help.

I always appreciate the fact that you mention the importance of analyzing your data. One of the things that popped into my mind is analyzing different landing pages and PPC ads as well. How visitors arrive and exit definitely should be tracked.

Thanks so much for weighing in on this. You have a wonderful day too!

Tim Bonner
Twitter:
December 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Hi David

I’m not keen to register to a site unless I’m going to be buying from them often. It makes sense to offer a guest option.

I’ve experienced a few shopping carts which have crashed when I’ve been ordering something. That is my worst nightmare.

You don’t know whether you’ve bought something or not. I wonder sometimes how much companies actually test the shopping carts themselves.
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Dave Rekuc
Twitter:
December 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Tim, you’d actually be surprised how many merchants don’t thoroughly test their checkouts. I actually had a company I did an analysis for, where I found a bug in their checkout that completely prevented certain users from checking out. They fixed it and their conversion rate went up about 20%.

Great point about the testing. Thanks for the comment.
Dave Rekuc recently posted..$1.79 trillion abandoned in shopping carts – stop your customers from leaving [Infographic]My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 20, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Tim,
A few months ago, I accidentally made a duplicate purchase. Before I even had a chance to contact them or my credit card company, the website owner contacted me and deleted the transaction. So, the site definitely had a glitch but the owner was so efficient and gracious that I wouldn’t hesitate engaging his services again. Thankfully, he was online at the time and we had communicated but that is a very unsettling feeling.

I too wonder how well some shopping carts are tested! Thanks so much for dropping by and for the RT. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Lisa
Twitter:
December 19, 2013 at 4:32 am

David, there is nothing worse than HAVING to sign up for an account on a retail website. Having an option is a great way to handle it. I would also say to know about the shipping costs beforehand. If they are very high I would likely leave the cart full and not return. Great points on the infograph!
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Dave Rekuc
Twitter:
December 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Lisa, glad you enjoyed the read. Those are perfect takeaways, no one likes being forced to register or pricey shipping!
Dave Rekuc recently posted..$1.79 trillion abandoned in shopping carts – stop your customers from leaving [Infographic]My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 23, 2013 at 9:03 am

Lisa,
Thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed Dave’s infographic on shopping cart abandonment. I completely agree with you about leaving your cart without completing the purchase. High shipping costs definitely can cost a business sales.

Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
December 18, 2013 at 11:07 am

I agree that when I visit a new shopping site and they require me to register first it drives me crazy. If it’s something I really want to buy I’ll go through the process but it doesn’t leave a good feeling about the merchant. The reality is you have to register when you check out anyway because they need your address, etc.
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Dave Rekuc
Twitter:
December 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Jeannette, you’re so right, the guest checkout is almost entirely about perception. The difference between a guest account and a registered user in an eCommerce system is usually just the password field. But, just like you said, you get a negative perception about the merchant that forces you to register.

Thanks for reading and leaving a thought provoking comment!
Dave Rekuc recently posted..$1.79 trillion abandoned in shopping carts – stop your customers from leaving [Infographic]My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Jeannette,
Having to register on a site to make a purchase aggravates me to no end. I appreciate when sites let me sign in as a guest. As you say, they get our name, email address and mailing address anyways. I especially avoid sites that want to keep my credit card on file for the next time. There is no way that I’m agreeing to that.

Thanks so much for dropping by and joining the conversation.

Majharul Hossain
Twitter:
December 18, 2013 at 10:29 am

Many people are testing total estimated cost of their products (along with shipping cost) going through shopping chart of different eCommerce sites. After verifying, they simply leave shopping chart.
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Dave Rekuc
Twitter:
December 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

Hi Majharul, that’s definitely true that no matter how good you make your checkout, some people will still be looking at the price and abandon. Shopping cart abandonment will never be 0%, but even small gains in reducing shopping cart abandonment make a big difference in sales. So, it’s still incredibly important to try and reduce that abandonment.

Thanks for your feedback.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Hi Majharul,
I’m sure that you’re right about people abandoning carts when they see the shipping cost. That has to be one of the reasons that so many vendors offer free shipping. Thanks for taking the time to join the conversation.
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