Online retailers face many challenges. Conversion rates, website design, customer satisfaction, and more all influence the success of an online store. The lifetime of a business is always influenced by how well it can overcome all the hurdles involved, so smart entrepreneurs stay on the lookout for every solution they can find.
Of course, each business is unique. The specific challenges you face will often depend on your industry, target audience, business model, location, and other factors. But there’s one obstacle that every eCommerce website faces, no matter the size of the business and no matter how successful otherwise: shopping cart abandonment.
Shopping cart abandonment is when a customer puts products in their online shopping cart but then leaves the website without completing the purchasing process. Every year, billions of dollars are lost to abandoned carts, and it may surprise you to learn that eCommerce market statistics show that a shocking average of 74% of all online shopping carts is abandoned. This number has increased from 68% over the last few years, likely because competition continues to grow and customers are presented with ever more choices when it comes to where they shop. The world of eCommerce has expanded so much that customers can afford to be very picky, so it’s easier than ever to lose them — even when they’ve already loaded their cart with products.
With customers abandoning just shy of three-quarters of all online shopping carts, it’s clear that cart abandonment is one of the biggest problems faced in eCommerce today. Like other challenges, businesses need to take a proactive stance toward preventing cart abandonment in their online stores, and the first step in that process is to understand why it happens. Unfortunately, there’s no single solution because customers abandon carts for all sorts of reasons. Fortunately, tools and strategies exist to help you counteract the various causes of abandoned carts.
The fact that there are so many reasons for cart abandonment means that you need to take multiple approaches to reduce it. Let’s discuss the 7 main reasons behind shopping cart abandonment so you can get started on implementing solutions.
1. Pricing Discrepancies
A pricing discrepancy occurs when a customer arrives at checkout and the total for their order is higher than expected. This usually happens when the shopping cart only displays the base price of the items and a subtotal, without adding the additional charges for tax and shipping. Even the most experienced online shoppers can forget about these charges until they appear during checkout!
You can alleviate nasty surprises by implementing real-time tax and shipping calculations in your shopping cart. Another option is to provide free shipping if your business can afford it. Alternately, offer free shipping once a certain minimum order total is reached. Customers will often purchase an additional item if it means they can get free shipping, which has the side benefit of raising your average order value.
2. Confusing, Annoying, or Difficult Checkout Procedure
Some customers abandon their carts because they run into problems while checking out. These types of issues can be caused by bugs in the shopping cart software — for example, the checkout page loads very slowly, making the customer wonder if their order even went through. Another cause is the poor layout of the checkout form, which can cause customers to overlook important text fields and forget to fill in part of their information, only to discover they’ve missed a required field. Other checkout mistakes factor in too, like forcing the customer to enter redundant information or splitting checkout over multiple pages unnecessarily.
To prevent customers from getting fed up with checkout, streamline the process as much as possible. Use modern eCommerce software hosted on a reliable server that provides both bug-free stability and speed. Instead of making them enter their address twice, provide a checkbox that lets the customer indicate their billing and shipping addresses are the same. Use a page layout that makes the required fields obvious (and doesn’t force the customer to start over if they do make a mistake). If your shopping cart software supports it, consider using a single-page checkout as well.
3. The Customer Doesn’t Trust the Website
With huge data breaches happening to large, long-established enterprises like Target, online security is on everyone’s mind. Customers can be fearful of having their information stolen and balk at entering it on a website. The only way to assuage these fears is to give them confidence that your site is safe.
Google Reviews, trust badges, full-site SSL encryption and more will all make your customers feel that your online store is safe from hackers seeking to steal their information. Operating your online store on your own domain name rather than a subdomain, and with no redirect at checkout, is another confidence booster as it gives your business an air of legitimacy. You can also implement extra payment security like Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode.
4. The Customer Can’t Use Their Preferred Payment Method
While credit cards remain the most popular payment method for shopping online, more options are becoming available and some customers will strictly prefer one payment method over another. It’s common today for an online shopper to have money sitting in PayPal or another service, and if they can’t access the funds for their purchase on your store, they’ll turn away.
Depending on your target customers, look into accepting multiple payment methods at checkout. PayPal, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, and popular local services are all possibilities. Some payment providers will even pay you immediately while giving customers financing options, meaning higher sales for you. You can also implement Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and other providers that let customers use their already-saved information. These payment methods save another step by allowing customers to check out with the tap of a button rather than needing to tediously enter information. Trust is increased too, as customers will appreciate not having to enter their information directly on your site.
5. The Customer Found the Product Elsewhere at a Lower Price
You can be sure your customers are checking your prices against those of your competitors. In fact, some customers fill carts on multiple competing stores as a method of comparing the total price of their order. While trust, shipping time and costs, and other factors do come into play, the customer’s decision often comes down to the price of the actual items.
This is where price-matching software like Prisync really shines against cart abandonment. If your prices are monitored and changed to match the landscape of your competitors, you’ll never have to worry about being undercut by another store. You’ll be able to use competitive pricing while staying within your store’s costs. If you can offer a better deal to customers who are actively comparing their cart total on your store with another, it’s your competitor whose cart will be abandoned — not you.
6. The Customer Has to Log In to Buy
The average internet user already has multiple logins and passwords to remember, and many people are reluctant to create yet another. The prevalence of passwords like “123456,” “password,” “letmein,” “qwerty” and other most common passwords tells you that millions of people just don’t want to bother. If a website demands registration with password requirements (like “at least 12 characters with one uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, and special character”), many users will just give up. They’d rather use a simple, weak password than take account creation seriously. If a shopper runs into a registration requirement when they go to check out on your store, chances are they’ll abandon their cart.
Unless your business model absolutely relies on membership at your site, always allow customers to check out as guests. You can still require an email address to send them to order updates. Instead of making them log in or register at the beginning of checkout, offer them the opportunity to create an account at the end of the process — many shoppers will go through with it, even if they weren’t willing to do so earlier on. This is because they’ve already decided to become your customer and entered their information so they may decide at the last minute to make an account just for their own convenience.
7. The Customer Got Distracted or Forgot
The internet and life, in general, are full of distractions. A customer could be about to complete their order, but then the phone rings or dinner is ready, or the power goes out. Unfortunately, this sometimes means the customer forgets to come back and check out on your store. Forgetfulness also comes into play when a customer loads up their cart but then decides to wait on the purchase (perhaps until payday), and then it slips their mind. Anything can happen!
The simple fact is that people lose attention and forget things. This is possibly the most complex reason for cart abandonment, just because there are so many potential causes, but it’s also one of the simplest to address. A cart recovery email campaign can remind shoppers and entice them back to finish their transactions. This consists of timed emails automatically sent to customers when they abandon a cart. Sometimes just a single email a week later can do the trick, and if you toss in an exclusive discount, that gives you an even bigger chance to draw them back — even if it’s just 10% off.
Create Your Cart Abandonment Prevention Strategy
Since cart abandonment has so many root causes, your strategy needs to approach it from every angle. The first requirement is knowledge of these causes and how to deal with them. Then, it’s time to look at your website and identify areas for improvement. Is your checkout slow? Are your customers being surprised by shipping costs? Are there popular payment methods you’ve overlooked? Ask yourself these questions and the others raised in this article.
Shoring up your eCommerce website’s weaknesses isn’t all there is to it, however — you can implement tools like price-matching software, abandoned cart recovery emails, guest checkout, and more. Your overall goal is to create the most convenient, best-priced online store in your industry with a streamlined checkout that takes down all the barriers between your customers and their purchase. Put your abandoned cart prevention strategy into play and you’ll stop leaving money on the table.