Cart abandonment. Two words that can send shivers up any online business owner’s spine. (Shudder.)
As untouchable as the ecommerce industry seems right now with it’s boom in popularity, it is not without its problems, and cart abandonment is one of the biggest.
So big in fact, that according to Salesforce, 95% of online shoppers using mobile devices abandon their cart, with buyers in the UK being some of the worst offenders.
So if it’s such a common problem, what’s the solution?
Trying to tackle cart abandonment can seem like you’re standing at the foot of Mount Everest. But with a little planning, the right tools and knowing your goal, you can make small steps to overcome this problem over time.
1) Identify spots in your customer journey that are causing the problem
Before you can look at the solution, you first need to identify the problem.
You may know that cart abandonment is an issue on your site, but do you know exactly where the problem lies? Can you pinpoint the exact step that most customers abandon their carts?
To do that, you need to look at your customer’s journey. The linked article by Hubspot does a great job at explaining what this is, and how you can set up your own to help understand what your customers are going through.
Have a look at the steps your customer goes through at the checkout and see where people are abandoning the process.
Have you actually been through your own checkout process yourself to see what it’s like? Put yourself in the shoes of the customer to see how easy it is for them to navigate to the final payment.
Cart abandonment can happen for a number of reasons, with many being out of your control. However, analysing your processes through the eyes of the ‘customer journey’ can be a great indicator of a common problem on your site, particularly at the checkout, that may be causing people to abandon. This can range from slow loading pages, to a lengthy checkout process that puts users off. But of course, this varies depending on the current state of your site.
You can even flip this idea around and look at where the conversion rates are the highest on your site for inspiration. Look at what elements make those processes on your site so successful to help improve the parts that need a helping hand.
2) Make navigation easy – Ensure customers can jump between browsing and their cart
People can be indecisive.
Even if you have the smoothest checkout process in the world, there are a lot of reasons a customer may second guess their purchase just before paying. This issue is particularly present in online retail shopping.
Due to the subjective nature of these items, many customers may be halfway through checkout and begin to question what they’re buying.
Perhaps they’re curious to see if you have any more products that are similar to what they’ve already got in their basket, or something that goes well with the products they’re currently buying. Perhaps you have an offer for free shipping if a customer spends over a certain amount, and they don’t quite meet the quota. They may want to add something else to their cart to qualify.
Whatever the cause, any extra purchases should be encouraged. It can be a tricky balance to maintain however, as you don’t want extra time browsing to distract or confuse the final purchase to potentially prevent it from happening at all.
However, you can support the customer by ensuring the browser saves the products in their basket when navigating the website, so they don’t lose their collection of potential purchases while they still browse, even if they move from mid-checkout to the homepage again.
3) Offer the option to check out as a guest
On the topic of the checkout process, it’s important to give your customer a small variety of options to checkout with, to accommodate their needs and preferences.
This may seem like a silly point to mention, but there are many customers out there that have commitment issues with the ‘sign up’ button, despite the two processes being almost exactly the same.
According to Barilliance:
“22% of cart abandoners do not complete their purchase when they are required to create a new user account, and 28% of all shoppers say that it is a reason why they’ve abandoned carts.”
These numbers shouldn’t be ignored, especially when it can be solved with such a simple fix. Although it’s tempting to require users to sign up to make their purchase, as the data you’ll capture is beneficial to your business, the absence of a guest checkout option could actually cause more cart abandonment and decrease sales long term.
4) Include secure and automatic ways for people to pay at checkout
As we’ve previously established, giving customers different options to checkout with helps avoid cart abandonment by accommodating to different customers needs /preferences.
Including multiple and secure ways to pay on your site can increase your website’s credibility, as well as make customers feel secure enough to make a purchase on your site.
In addition, including popular online payment systems such as Paypal and Apple Pay in your online checkout systems can ensure a quick, smooth and familiar checkout experience for customers.
With the development of faster forms of paying, such as PayPal checkout, creating conversion rates of 88.7%, customers reduce the amount of time spent filling in their bank and address details, as these systems automatically fill in the customer’s data for them.
Having a faster and more automated checkout process only makes it easier and more likely that a customer will follow through with their purchase as it minimises distraction, human error or effort that goes into filling in your details manually.
5) Email follow up
Email follow-ups to help retain customers has become a standard part of ecommerce business practice. However, are you using them in the most effective way possible?
The key is to make these emails feel as personal as possible for the customer.
Sending a generic thank you email or notification is not the most effective way to get your customers attention, or connect with them to do what you want them to.
If an item has been in someone’s basket for a set amount of time (an hour, for example), you can set up a series of automated emails to encourage them to follow through with their purchase.
You can create an email sequence to send to customers to remind them that the item is in their cart, maybe offering a discount off their purchase if they complete the order.
Another example could be notifications warning that the item is ‘selling fast’ or ‘almost sold out’ to encourage them to purchase through fear of missing out.
These sound like they could be quite generic emails, yet they can feel personal with the added touch of timing – making sure they are sent near the time of the abandonment.
In addition, you can personalise the emails to the customer purchase/browsing history, to reflect relevant content and items that you know they are interested in, making them more inclined to go back for a second look and remember why they were interested in your site in the first place.
6) Personalising the website for when they return
There are many different ways you can personalise your website for your customers.
It’s these little things that really show a customer you know and care about them, on top of the encouragement for them to convert through showing them things they’re most interested in.
Saving your customer’s browsing history as well as the items in their cart when they return to the website after abandoning the cart helps speed up the checkout process.
Adding a ‘Recently Viewed’ section to the bottom of your webpage will automatically save what items browsers previously looked at on the site, even if they don’t have an account. Having a constant reminder of items they were interested in enough to click on, will keep these products in the users mind as they continue to browse the site.
Recently viewed items often act as a consistent, persuasive temptation for on-the-fence shoppers who are indecisive about an item they’ve had their eye on.
Adding a function on your site to automatically recommend ‘Other items you might like’ can be time consuming, especially if you have a large catalogue of items. However, this can be a valuable feature.
Having recommended items not only shows the user you know them well and enhances their shopping experience, it also encourages them to browse more of your site for longer. Customers are more likely to purchase multiple items from you if they like what they’re being shown.
Finally, having pop-up offers based on user activity can help persuade them to follow through on their purchase. For example, if there is a ‘3 for 2’ or ‘a buy one get one half price’ offer on your site that a user almost qualifies for, reminding them about it it is a great way to get them to follow your call to action and feel like they’re getting a great deal in the process.
7) Using paid ads to advertise personalised content
Depending on your ambitions, paid adverts can be an intimidating cost, especially when your business is on the smaller side.
However if you want a strong way to stay in your customer’s mind when they leave your site, or generate new leads that may be interested in your products, paid ads can be a worthwhile investment.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, when deciding how to use paid ads:
1. Pick out specific channels/areas to invest in – You need to look at where your target audience is most likely to be. Conduct research to find out if your target audience is more likely to be on a certain social media site such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or if it’s better to have Google Ads on certain websites that match similar interests
2. Set a budget – Work out how much you want to pay and decide what you can and can’t afford
3. Think about how you can personalise these ads as much as possible. The more personalised your adverts are to the browser, the more likely they are to visit your site.
For example, ASOS Facebook ads recommend to you clothes you’ve recently looked at, or that seem to match your style/taste to show you certain pieces you’d most likely want to buy, not just picking any old pieces from their huge catalogue.
Many brands show you targeted ads after they know you’ve been looking on their site as part of their retention strategy. They do it because it works!
Whatever paid ads strategy you pursue, one thing we strongly recommend is to get expert help implementing it. Digital ads platforms like Facebook and Google are EXPERTS at taking your money. Unless you know what you’re doing, it can be easy to burn through your budget and see little in terms of results.
8) Include an online chatbox to help customers through the checkout process
Although most of us are now familiar with online shopping, problems can still occur when trying to check out every now and again.
Similarly, you cannot assume every customer is knowledgeable or confident about buying online, often depending on your target audience.
Technical difficulties may also occur during someone’s checkout process and small bumps in the road are inevitable when running a complex ecommerce site.
However, by adding a chat box in the corner of the customer’s browser, as soon as they experience any issues they can ask a member of your team to help.
This feature can help turn a negative experience into a positive one for the user by providing efficient customer service in real time, as well as avoiding cart abandonment by helping a customer complete their purchase instead of getting frustrated and leaving their cart when they encounter a problem.
9) Make sure your site is optimized for multiple devices
Previously in this article, we mentioned that 95% of mobile users abandon their carts at checkout. So it’s important to ask, how well does your website perform on mobile devices? Or other hardware such as tablets, or even different browsers?
Although many shoppers tend to use the same popular devices such as Chrome on desktop and Safari on Apple, it’s crucial to check your website is optimised on as many different browsers and devices as possible. This helps avoid missing out on sales generated by a confusing or frustrating experience from a user who is trying to access your website on a device it isn’t prepared for.
There are lots of free online tools you can use to check how compatible your site is on mobile devices such as Google search console that will tell you in seconds what state your site is in and what could be improved.
10) Have a strong call to action
How can you expect your customers to check out if they can’t find a way to do so?
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to be clear about what you want your customers to do so they, well, do it.
Take a look at the examples below to see how to to improve your call to action.
The image above shows a small window that pops up in the browser when the shopper adds an item to their basket. They have to find and click the ‘checkout’ button when they want to proceed to the checkout, one step closer to conversion.
But this is a weak call to action. Visually it’s not clear to the shopper what they need to do next. All the text in the box is the same style, colour and size, with no emphasis on buttons the site really wants the user to click.
Why should a customer continue to checkout if the site is not encouraging them to do so? Don’t take a customer’s will to make a purchase for granted.
This example shows a better call to action when an item is added to their basket on the site. Here the next step is made clear, using colour, framing and layout of the ‘checkout’ button to draw attention to it. In addition, the shopper is further encouraged to click the button with the promise of ‘free delivery worldwide’ highlighted underneath it.
This last example is another good example of calls to action in the first step of the checkout process. Like example 2, the checkout button is highlighted in multiple places on the page, framing the order summary.
In addition, there’s a ‘customers also purchased’ section highlighted through size and bold font underneath the basket, with personalised recommendations based on what the user has in their basket. This makes for a stronger checkout process, and optimises profit through encouraging shoppers to buy additional items that may interest them.
In conclusion, although it may seem difficult to know where to begin with cart abandonment, there are many little things you can do to help catch and support your customers all the way to the finish line.
Most of these solutions fall under the umbrella of marketing automation. Meaning that once they are implemented, these processes can be maintained automatically, giving you more sales with less work.
If you’re an owner of an ecommerce business, you may be familiar with some forms of marketing automation. Perhaps you’ve already implemented automation in parts of your business. But are you really making the most of tools that many people overlook and take for granted?
If you’d like to learn more about how marketing automation can help optimise grow your ecommerce business, check out our article 8 Ways Marketing Automation Can Help An Ecommerce Business.
Or if you’d like to learn the basics of what marketing automation is and what it can do, check out our page wtf is marketing automation for more info.
Get in touch today for a free consultation.