By Ivan Kot, Itransition
Cart abandonment has long been the bane of eCommerce, and the 2020 pandemic has only made it worse. Since the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, online customers have created 46.8% more baskets than in the comparable period a year earlier. Over that time, the abandonment rate has gone up by nearly 10%!
But why do online users bother filling up your cart if they don’t buy anything in the end? The reasons are many. First up, there are eCommerce visitors who never intended on buying anything. For these online window shoppers, placing items in the cart is half-pastime half-stress relief, a short-term mood lifter that’s become more popular in the lockdown reality.
However, most other reasons behind lost sales — from misleading web navigation and lengthy checkout to unexpected fees or unbearably long delivery times — have to do with negative eCommerce experiences. Therefore, they can be solved on the retailers’ end, many of whom turn to eCommerce solutions that help radically reduce the cart abandonment rate. How? Let’s find out.
Streamlining The Buyer’s Experience
If online shoppers give up on the home page, there’s a good chance that something went wrong on the user experience’s side. Starting from the ground up by analyzing your online store implementation will help you spot common issues that might deter visitors and make them fall back on their shopping plans.
By the rule of thumb, the journey from cart to order confirmation should be as short and seamless as possible. To make it so try to:
- Speed up your site. Long loading times irritate buyers and divert them from the purchase. There are many techniques to avoid it. Try decreasing image sizes, using smart caching, and optimizing your database. Remember to apply these enhancements across all channels, online and mobile.
- Simplify steps to checkout. Provide the ultimate encouragement to visitors (especially to impulse buyers) by reducing the purchase cycle down to a single step. This can be attained by implementing an instant one-step checkout solution that uses auto-detect, auto-complete, and other tactics to integrate order review, payment, and shipping.
- Make navigation effortless. A neatly organized layout helps visitors quickly achieve what they came for — making a purchase. Get rid of any distractions to keep your customers focused on this goal. Minimize headers and footers, remove unnecessary links, and clearly display prices. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the navigation flow.
Tackling Common Customer Turn-Offs
Researchers from Baymard Institute surveyed reasons for cart abandonment specifically at checkout. Almost half of the respondents admitted that they don’t finalize the order because the added costs, such as shipping or taxes, turn out to be too high.
What to do in such a case? If you can’t offer free delivery, communicate the shipping fees clearly and early, preferably on the landing page. If you ship internationally, greet customers with a custom welcome popup detailing country-specific costs or minimum spend required for free shipment, all in local currencies. Be transparent about any extra charges and services, e.g., returns and exchanges.
Another 24% of the surveyed buyers explained that they resigned from the purchase when asked to create an account. It’s understandable — consumers receive dozens of newsletters every day, and they don’t want to be troubled with more spam. Besides, compulsory registration adds another step to the buying procedure and may discourage those anxious about data privacy. To address this concern, offer your shoppers the option of guest checkout; if they find the overall shopping experience smooth, they will be much more likely to come back and sign up anyway.
Leveraging Smart Ecommerce Features
For many customers, shopping carts serve as a wish list or storage space for items they may or may not buy some time in the future. There are several ways to revise this approach and make carts convert.
One solution is to add a dedicated wish list functionality. It allows customers to save products they like for later and return to them whenever convenient. Persistent shopping carts work similarly but they keep track of abandoned products and store them long-term.
When items remain in the cart for a given period, automated push notifications and email reminders prompt undecided buyers to get them. Thanks to the cross-device cart regeneration technique, when shoppers open a reminder message, they are redirected to the cart from any device, even if different from the one used in the initial visit.
Integrated eCommerce solutions use a whole range of other inbuilt features that raise online stores' efficiency by connecting customer experience across all platforms and devices:
- Product comparators assure hesitant shoppers that they made the best choice money-wise.
- Profile-based personalization tailors each visitor’s experience to their unique preferences and suggests merchandise they might like.
- Visual cues prompt visitors into action. One instance is the checkout progress bar that shows buyers that they are getting closer to finalizing the order.
- Trigger popups based on basket value. They may feature personalized giveaways and incentives to compel visitors to buy.
- AI-powered chatbots assist shoppers at every step of their visit and navigate them toward the purchase completion.
Sprucing Up eCommerce Content
The primary function of product descriptions is to inform but their ultimate goal is to persuade. Do you sell DIY tools? Offer visitors suggestions on how to use them to reinvent their homes. Fashion? Show how a particular item complements other pieces of apparel you sell. Homewares? Include photos of interiors featuring your products.
By the way, pictures of items are essential, but you don’t need to stop there. Go one step further and add product videos or even a 360-degree viewing tool to show your products from their best side.
Finally, don’t forget that the opinion of other shoppers has a huge impact on buying decisions. Encourage customers to leave reviews and ratings and display them in a prominent place. Also, make sure to respond to any negative feedback. This way, you will demonstrate your openness to discussion and willingness to improve.
You may be tempted to think that if a customer has made it to your online store, your marketing has done its job. Yet, the scope of shop cart abandonment proves that many to-be shoppers still need an extra spur to complete their orders.
A high cart abandonment rate is not a reason to abandon all hope for bigger sales. Instead, consider it as an incentive to improve your eCommerce site. Provided you use the right tools and methods, you can build a truly connected, consistent, and smooth online shopping experience. In no time, it will help you recover revenue from abandoned carts.
About The Author
Ivan Kot is Customer Acquisition Director at Itransition, focusing on business development in verticals such as eCommerce, Business Automation, and cutting-edge tools such as blockchain for enterprises. He began his career as a developer, taking different positions in both web and mobile development projects, and eventually shifted focus to project management and team coordination.