For an average ecommerce store, shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem. Here's why your store might be suffering from it.
A research study conducted by Barilliance found that the average rate of cart abandonment in 2017 was 78.65%.
Now, that’s a huge percentage!
The very first step to reduce shopping cart abandonment is to understand why customers suddenly change their minds when they like your products and decided to buy from you a few minutes ago.
Since shopping cart abandonment is a major problem for most online stores, an immense amount of research has continuously been conducted to identify its possible reasons and solutions. Here are the results of two such studies conducted by MaxTraffic and Baymard, in 2017 and 2018 respectively:
To help you understand and resolve the major issues that lead to abandonment of shopping carts (and so a low overall conversion rate), let’s discuss the top eight cart abandonment reasons and how you can deal with them:
1. Hidden or Unexpected Costs
The primary reason why potential customers abandon their shopping carts is because of the extra costs they are being charged in terms of shipping or taxes. For buyers, nothing is more annoying than finding out the extra costs at the last step of order placement.
Ideally, you should offer free shipping because it is one of the most important considerations for the majority of online buyers. Free shipping not only helps online businesses to lower their cart abandonment rate, but will also help increasing the number of returning or regular customers.
Worried about the extra cost free shipping will incur you?
Here’s the secret of successful ecommerce stores – calculate the average cost of shipping, add it to the price of the product, and offer free shipping.
Full disclosure of all the rates from the beginning is another way to reduce shopping cart abandonment as well as to earn customers’ trust. Discovering extra costs at the last stage is perceived as deceiving by a large number of customers. If you are not offering free shipping or if there are any taxes that are applicable to a product, make sure it is clearly stated on your website, so the customers know what they would be paying from the start.
2. Long, Confusing, or Complicated Checkout Process
One of the major reasons why a large number of people prefer to shop online than visiting stores is because online shopping is more convenient and quick.
As Frank Sorrentino, the Chairman and CEO of ConnectOne Bank, mentioned in one of his articles published in Forbes:
A long and complicated order placement process that requires customers to spend more than the expected amount of time and effort is a major obstacle in keeping the rate of cart abandonment to minimum.
As a seller, your goal is to make the buying process as short, simple, and smooth as possible. For this, you need to identify all the sources of friction that may be causing annoyance to your potential customers and remove them.
For example, do not force the customers to create an account for placing their order. Provide a guest checkout option as well.
Also, do not ask for unnecessary details or have too many steps in the order placement process.
3. Distrust About Data and Payment Security
Trust is the key factor in the world of online shopping. If people do not trust you, they simply won’t buy from you, no matter how amazing your products are.
From poor website design and outdated layout to missing images and the absence of SSL certificates, there are many factors that can make an ecommerce store look suspicious or untrustworthy.
Since people are required to provide personal and sensitive information (most importantly, their debit or credit card numbers) while placing the order, it makes sense why they want to be sure about the security of their data before buying from you.
There are many ways to increase your audience’s trust on your website. In addition to improving your website design and layout, if they are poor or outdated, make sure to provide enough information about your company and team. Provide your telephone number, email address, and the address if you have any physical store. It will be great if you can also have the bios and faces of you and your team members.
All these seemingly small factors make your website look reliable and can significantly increase people’s trust on your business. People want to know who they are buying from and when you share your information with them, it is more likely that they trust you with their information.
Other ways to increase audience’s trust is by providing customer reviews and highlighting endorsements and product reviews by celebrities or influencers.
4. Long Shipping Time or Non-Availability of Express Shipping
Even if you have been in the ecommerce business for a short period of time, it is highly likely that you have noticed how much customers care about shipping.
When we talk about shipping, the time matters as much as the cost. While free shipping is generally an attraction for buyers, it will be of no value if your shipping time is too long.
In view of the fact that most of us tend to procrastinate, at times, you should expect that a large number of customers would want to get their things delivered quickly. And if you aren’t able to do that, they will simply abandon their carts on your website and will from another seller who is offering quick delivery.
The solution to this problem is quite simple – keep your delivery time short as well as provide the express shipping option.
The good news here is that most customers willingly pay a little more to expedite the shipping process, so use it to your advantage and add an express shipping option to your website.
5. Limited Payment Options
Do you only accept payments via Visa cards?
If yes, then be ready to have lots of abandoned carts every day.
Limited payment options also create a barrier in the online shopping process. Like it or not, digital buyers place their convenience and comfort above everything else. And let’s face it – in the highly competitive world that we live in, it is already very difficult to attract customers and you cannot afford to lose them, especially when they are just one step away from making the purchase.
Provide as many payment options as you can, so customers do not have to leave your website just because they do not have the card that you accept.
6. Unsatisfactory or Very Strict Return Policy
If you have put strict conditions on the return or exchange of your products, such as a very short time limit or asking customers to pay the shipping cost for the return, know that this is likely to increase the rate of cart abandonment on your website.
While it applies to all online sellers, it is particularly pertinent to clothing and shoe businesses, like clothes and shoes sellers, because many a times, people are not sure about their sizes. In such cases, buyers want to make sure that they would be able to easily exchange or return the product if it doesn’t fit them correctly.
The solution is simple – offer an easy return policy. But, you cannot just offer free returns or an unlimited return time just because this is what customers want. You also have to calculate the associated costs for your business.
This requires you to track the number of exchange or return requests you receive in a month for some time, so you can calculate how much it will cost you, on average, if you offer it for free.
Since the trends and consumer habits vary across industries, you also need to determine the benefit you will have in return for providing free shipping on exchanges and returns. Running a test for a limited period of time is a sensible approach. For example, you can try introducing 30 day free shipping on exchange and return and test run it for a couple of months. Then, calculate and compare the costs and benefits to see how profitable the strategy is for you; in terms of increase in sales.
7. Lack or Absence of Customer Support
Is there a live chat option or a customer support telephone number on your website?
Ecommerce websites that lack these features are likely to have more abandoned carts than the platforms where customer support is available all the time. This is because a large number of people have questions or confusions regarding the product(s), delivery, exchange or return or the warranty, and they want to have clear answer for their queries and concern before placing their order. When immediate help is not available, they are most likely to abandon their carts and leave the site without making the purchase.
Add the live chat option and/or provide a customer support telephone number on your website, so your customers can get in touch with you in case they have a query or a concern about your product or processes.
8. Poor Website Performance
If your website takes too long to load, crashes too often, encounters errors, or isn’t optimized for cell phones, you should expect a higher shopping cart abandonment rate.
All these factors unnecessarily prolong the shopping process and irritate the customers. Also, it makes you look unprofessional and dubious.
Keep your website updated and regularly check it for speed and errors on different screens.
When checking the website, make sure you visit all the pages, from the home page and about us to the checkout page. There are many free services available for measuring the website speed, such as PageSpeed Insights by Google.
When it comes to online shopping, your goal should be to provide a quick, smooth, and secure customer experience. Identify things that are or can create friction on your website and take immediate measures to remove them. Simply put, anything that causes buyers to spend more time and/or effort is a point of friction and contributing to increasing the number of abandoned carts on your website. Use the cart abandonment solutions discussed above to ensure your customers have a smooth shopping experience.