Conversion Rate Optimization: 5 Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping in the physical world is not the same as shopping online. In a brick-and-mortar store, shopping cart abandonment is unlikely. You are not going to abandon your shopping cart because you were distracted by a kitten unrolling a roll of toilet paper in Aisle 4. However, online, cat videos are just a distracting click away!

In the world of ecommerce, shopping cart abandonment is common. Despite the best efforts of ecommerce retailers, users visit sites, begin adding items to their shopping carts, but then leave before finishing their transactions.

How Bad Is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

The answer is: pretty bad! According to statistics, the average rate of shopping cart abandonment is 69.80%. Here are some additional sobering data:

  • The average cart abandonment rate for mobile shopping is over 80%. It appears that mobile users have even less patience coping with an unresponsive web design, a too-long checkout process, and/or unclear shipping details.
  • The travel industry can lay claim to one of the highest shopping cart abandonment rates (well over 80%). Abandonment rates are also very high in finance (77.8%). 

Shopping Cart Abandonment: What Can Be Done?

Shopping cart abandonment is as one of the most critical issues for online marketers to overcome. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that’s impossible to prevent entirely – some shoppers will inevitably desert their carts. However, when it comes to conversion rate optimization, it is possible to improve your site’s abandonment rate. Below are five ways to do so, however if you need a refresher first on what conversion rate optimization is, click here.  

1. Make Sure Users Can Trust Your Transaction Forms

Transaction forms should not be regarded as mere formalities in the sales process. Just because a shopper has been tempted by what’s for sale doesn’t mean they want to take the time to fill out a lengthy form.

Keep in mind that when requesting customers to fill out a transaction form, you’re asking them to trust you with their personal information, including their credit card details. To offset any hesitation on the part of your prospects, trust signals in the form of security logos should be placed in a prominent position close to your forms. 

  • Data indicates that nearly 61% of consumers did not purchase because trust logos were missing. Moreover, over 75% of consumers did not make a purchase because the trust logos were unfamiliar to them. So use trustworthy logos like the ones shown below.

Shopping Cart Trust Partners

2. Include a Progress Indicator on Your Checkout Pages

If you are standing in line at a physical store, you may be asked, for example, whether you have a rewards card or whether you’d like to save 10% by opening one. Such questions should be avoided for online shopping because they are likely to irritate the customer by prolonging the checkout process. 

Consumers prefer having a clear indication of where they are in the sales process. So, include a progress bar on your checkout pages to clearly show your customers where they. The aim is to eliminate the potential for your customer to worry that buying something will take more time than anticipated. Your visitor needs to be assured that they’re almost done and can go on to whatever else they want to do in their daily life. 

A progress indicator should have as few steps as possible. The example below makes it clear that a three-step process is all customers have to go through. 

Crate and Barrel Checkout

3. Provide Thumbnail Product Images Throughout the Purchasing Process

Unless they’re engaging in a serious online shopping spree, most people aren’t about to forget what’s in their shopping cart. However, including thumbnail images of what they’ve placed in their cart is another “grounding” technique that serves to reassure the shopper that the wanted items are being purchased. It’s akin to what happens in a physical store when a shopper can see whatever they’re buying right there in front of them in their cart.

Below is an excellent example of a checkout page. It includes small (but easily identifiable) thumbnails of the items in the customer’s shopping cart. This enables the customer to see exactly what they’re purchasing throughout the entire checkout procedure. The thumbnails also serve to keep the products at the forefront of the shopper’s mind, reinforcing the wish to buy them and reducing the risk of cart abandonment in a moment of hesitation or apprehension. The page also condenses the three-step checkout process into a single page which is much less intimidating than a multi-page process.

Your Order Recap

4. Make Navigation Between eStore and Cart Effortless

Online consumers usually do not decide on a purchase all at once. Therefore, your site should make it possible to find products as efficiently and quickly as possible. So the easier your customers can move between your online store and their cart, the more likely they are to stick with it and actually check out.

However, while making easy navigation between your ecommerce store and a customer’s shopping cart ranks as one of the best ways to reduce customer annoyance during the checkout process, it’s also one of the most difficult to get right. Even giant ecommerce retailers (such as Amazon) constantly experiment with their checkout flows to optimize the checkout procedure and make it easier for shoppers to buy more products.

Keep in mind that many of the principles of web navigation that apply to the rest of your site also apply to your checkout pages. The time-tested web design adage of “the Back button doesn’t exist” rings especially true for your checkout process. If you force your visitor to click “Back”, your navigational flow needs to be redesigned. 

Your customers should be able to easily save and later return to their carts. So offer logical, intuitive navigation options between your products and your checkout pages. The more work you force your prospects to do, the more likely they will abandon their shopping carts. 

5. Make Saving Carts Effortless

When shopping online, consumers expect to be able to return to an ongoing order – sometimes more than once. Making it effortless for users to return to their carts during the shopping process will work toward conversion rate optimization.

Saving a shopping cart should be as simple as clicking a single button. There are so many potential distractions (both in “real life” and online) that you should expect disruption in the checkout process. Therefore, it’s crucial that shoppers can return to their carts later to complete a purchase at a time that’s convenient for them

Shopping Carts Simplicity

Shopping Cart Abandonment – More Thoughts

There are more reasons that cause shopping cart abandonment. For instance, many prospective customers abandon their shopping carts because of unanticipated additional costs, which they didn’t find out about until they reached the checkout page. These costs include shipping, price increases for items in larger sizes, and taxes. We will discuss how to combat these issues and provide more ideas to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate in a follow-up article to this one. So stay tuned and don’t abandon this site!

About Author

Tim has been building, designing, and executing websites since 1999, and joined in 2009. His specialties include online e-commerce consulting, web and business marketing, and project management. With technical and creative savvy, Tim is a born entrepreneur & problem-solver. When not staring soulfully at Google Analytics, Tim enjoys roughing it Apple-free in the great outdoors.

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