Hannah Stewart
Hannah Stewart | October 26, 2018
VP Marketing

The abandoned cart is the bane of any effort at conversion rate optimization – here’s how you can stop it from happening on your website

Received wisdom says that over 69% of shopping carts are abandoned. That’s an immense amount of revenue that gets incredibly close to conversion but falls at the final hurdle. So how do you prevent an abandoned cart?

1. Cart abandonment emails

Whatever you do to try to stop that cart from being abandoned, sometimes your visitor just isn’t ready to purchase. After all, 40% of cart abandoners cite their key reason for doing so as “only browsing”.

This is when you need to have a plan in place to make sure that you bring that visitor back to complete their purchase. The answer: email.

Emails are perhaps the single most effective way of turning an abandoned cart into a conversion. According to research by BigCommerce, an abandoned cart email is worth 282x the value of a simple promotional email.

Putting together one of these emails is relatively easy (read some more tips here) but the scope of what you can achieve with them is huge. Check out this calculator to see how much just a few emails could earn for your bottom line*:

With a strong success rate in terms of delivering a conversion that would otherwise have been lost, it’s worth exploring your options for sending cart abandonment emails. While there are multiple tools out there, one of the easiest ways to ensure the seamless transition between website and email (and hopefully back again) is to use Yieldify. Click here to get a copy of the details on our cart recovery product.

2. Interrogate your shipping costs

Like all good attempts at optimization, you should start with looking at the reasons for abandonment in the first place. You might want to get your own user feedback, but a good place to start is with this piece of research from Statista:

statista facts on abandoned cart reasons

As we can see clearly, one of the biggest reasons we see abandoned carts is shipping. It’s something that many of us can relate to: compiling a cart of items we’ve carefully chosen, only to be shocked at the cost of receiving them.

Start by reviewing how your shipping charges are structured – do you have flexibility here? If you can afford to make a change, this is a critical place to do so.

If you don’t, you can look at the problem from another angle – returns. Most shoppers will want to know that if they change their mind, it’s easy to return the purchase – particularly if it’s a high-ticket item. You can reassure an on-the-fence visitor by showing these messages at the checkout stage, much like Hylete did, to successfully avoid an abandoned cart.

Hylete campaign to stop abandoned carts

3. Optimize the checkout process

It goes without saying that a complex checkout process can turn even the most enthusiastic buyer into an abandoned cart. It’s little wonder that so much time and effort get invested in testing these processes to make sure that shoppers don’t fall at the final hurdle.

Long, confusing forms are among the most common culprits here – 10% of carts are abandoned simply because the process takes too long. This is particularly true for mobile, where forms are harder to complete. Start by making sure that you’re only capturing the information you need and that you’re clear about what you’re asking for. Simple conversion rate optimization tactics such as showing progress bars to indicate how far the user needs to go can be great ways to make the process less painful.

If it’s an option, you can also consider removing another barrier to entry: creating an account. In an age of increasing wariness about data privacy, consumers can be easily put off the checkout process by feeling like they need to sign their lives away first. In some studies, this has been shown to cause up to 30% of shoppers to jump ship. The most obvious option is to create a guest checkout – but it’s not for everyone.

4. Give some flexibility

Consumers have grown to expect more flexibility when it comes to how they buy a product and how they’ll eventually receive it. Where some are willing to pay more for faster delivery, there are many who’ll happily take a discount on list price in exchange for waiting a little longer for their package to arrive.

These considerations are particularly important in the context of the growth in cross-border e-commerce (a trend we talk about here). Different countries have wildly different preferences when it comes to things like payments in particular – and you’ll need to account for these if you want to grow.

A good place to start is with payment options. One of the major trends to emerge in recent years is in ‘buy now, pay later’ options, most prominently offered by Klarna. While these are said to ‘make payday irrelevant’, they’re far from the only way to make it easier for your customer to buy.

Klarna buy now pay later options

Secondly, you can test out offering different fulfilment options. While the likes of Prime Now and Google Express are at the bleeding edge of new innovations in how goods get from warehouse to front door, there are less complex options available to you. Something as simple as in-store click-and-collect – as offered here by men’s fashion retailer M.J. Bale – can help a hesitant visitor towards purchase.

5. Use social proof and trust symbols

Finally, there’s the issue of trust. To ensure that the carefully curated cart doesn’t go abandoned, your customer has to trust you enough to part with their hard-earned money.

Over 58% of abandoned carts happen because of concerns about security. Take the opportunity to show and highlight trustmarks, which can be powerful symbols to help assuage any underlying concerns from a shopper. Here are some of the most recognizable and trusted:

ConversionXL graph on trusted brands

Social proof is also a huge part of earning trust. Showing reviews is a valuable way to do so, and is increasingly easy thanks to tools such as Trustpilot.

Need help getting started?

Making the first steps towards optimizing your checkout process to mitigate against cart abandonment can be daunting. While some changes take longer and involve more testing, there are some quick wins to be had if you know where to look. Get a demo today and we can help you make your first changes within weeks.

*Note that this uplift rate is based on prevailing trends in the market. However, every website is different, so it shouldn’t be treated as a guarantee.