There’s no doubt that abandoned shopping carts are a major problem for online retailers. There are many reasons for those carts being abandoned. And it’s important to know these reasons and understand them to mitigate this problem.
Research has put shopping cart abandonment at about 68 percent to a massive 83 percent, depending on the sector. Unsurprisingly, fashion is the sector which most often enjoys a completed purchase while finance products are most often left in carts. This is obviously a problem for retailers as they’re losing out on scores of online purchases on a daily basis.
When browsing doesn’t turn to buying
The obvious question then is, why aren’t shoppers completing their purchases? Why are they leaving items in their carts without clicking that important “checkout” button? Research has found that the reasons for abandoning shopping carts generally focus on two areas: the process of shopping being too complex and the price not being quite right. Here are the reasons people use most often for abandoning their carts:
- Unexpected shipping costs
- Having to create an account
- Just conducting research
- Concerns about payment security
- Long and confusing checkout process
- Couldn't find a coupon code
- Long shipping times
Source: Baymard Institute
Turning browsing into buying
The single biggest reason for cart abandonment is when consumers are faced with unexpected costs at checkout. It’s incredibly frustrating for consumers to have budgeted a certain amount for their purchase only to be slapped with exorbitant shipping costs. All too often, after adding an item for R80 to their shopping cart, they’re asked to pay an additional R50 for shipping. Suddenly that R80 item just doesn't seem that necessary. Luckily, here in South Africa, we don’t have to deal with the added taxes that those in some other countries face.
Local retailers have attempted to solve this problem by offering free delivery when cart items total a certain amount. Consumers add items that they’d be buying anyway, like toothbrushes or socks, to their carts to meet this amount. Or this often leads to consumers adding non-urgent items to their cart over a period of days, weeks or even months until this total is reached. The downside to this approach is that the item may be sold out by the time they’re ready to turn browsing into buying.
For the other reasons, there are, luckily, several ways that online retailers can ensure these transactions are not lost.
Before cart abandonment
Online retailers need to do everything they can to improve the shopper’s experience while on their site. This includes making sure the account creation and checkout process isn’t overly complicated, the website is error-free and fast-loading, credit card safety reassurance is displayed prominently and sufficient payment methods are offered.
By taking these concerns into account when building your online store, your customers’ experience will automatically be improved, making them more likely to purchase without choosing to abandon their carts.
After cart abandonment
One of the most effective ways to target customers who abandon their carts and leave your site is for retailers to implement remarketing. This ensures adverts and photos of the product they’ve added to their cart will follow them around on their online clicks.
Another, equally effective, option is an email recovery campaign. A customer must, of course, have been logged into their account. A series of emails should be sent out to remind customers of their almost-purchases. The first email should be sent out within a few hours, the second a day or two later and the third after a week or so. The emails should include photos of the almost-purchased products, testimonials from satisfied customers, an offer of assistance and a strong call to action to complete the purchases.
It’s likely these different strategies will assist with ensuring a large portion of these transactions are completed.