Abandoned shopping carts occur when a user is browsing online, selecting products to buy and filling their online basket, but then abandoning it before payment.
The equivalent in a physical store would be someone walking around the shop, filling a cart, then leaving it on the floor and walking away, however…
Comparing online shopping to visiting a physical store is fundamentally a flawed concept. Both face entirely different challenges, and both have their own benefits. Some brands are looking to bring the two together in harmony, which can work if it’s done well, but this is only the case when you use both of their unique strengths.
If you’re running a physical shop, you can go to work knowing that every single person that sets foot on the premises is a potential customer. It’s more of a commitment than browsing online, and they can actually see and feel the products. Also, them being on the premises means you can give them fantastic customer service, building up their trust.
The drawbacks? Running costs are higher, and while everyone is a potential customer, they’re also a potential shoplifter…
This is something you don’t need to worry about with an online shop. Running costs are lower, and the potential audience is massive. There’s one huge drawback though, and one which is incredibly rare in real life…the abandoned shopping cart.
Research has shown that around 70% of users will put items in their basket, only to leave and never return. 70%! That is a huge number. So the question is, how do you get these potential customers over the line? Let’s take a look at some of the techniques you can use:
We’ve written an entire ebook on the subject, as it’s that good. Effective retargeting is an amazing way to turn those ‘nearly customers’ into the people who pay. You can learn more about retargeting here, too, but the technique is based around showing ads to those users who have abandoned their carts.
You can show ads reminding them that their cart is saved and still full, or even show them offers to try and incentivise their return. It’s relatively straightforward to do, but is guaranteed to claw back some of this lost revenue.
2. Email reminders
So many of the users which abandon their shopping cart are likely to be customers already, or at least email subscribers. This means if they do abandon, you have everything you need to be able to send them a little reminder.
A quick email to outline what they have in their basket is perfect, as they could’ve simply forgotten that they were going to buy from you. Use a little persuasive language, and maybe suggest stock is running out, and it should be enough to encourage them to finish the transaction.
3. App notification
App download rate is increasing all the time, and more people are using them to do their shopping. This is great news for marketing teams everywhere.
Instead of relying solely on emails, which some people don’t often check, or retargeting, you can also send push notifications directly to their phones. These have a high chance of being seen by the user, and can take them straight to their abandoned cart, once again increasing the chance of getting this customer to make the purchase.
4. Sequential retargeting
Same principle as retargeting, but the aim is to bring the user back with a string of irresistible offers, each more attractive than the last.
So rather than showing one ad, each one in succession shows something different. This could be a series of different, but related products, or it could be discounts increasing in size each time. It can be a very persuasive method, even if it can potentially lower your profit margin a little.
5. Free delivery
It’s been shown that one major barrier for your potential customers is the delivery costs. This is likely because it’s charged in addition to what they were already looking to pay, and it’s one of the last things to come up in the buying journey.
If you remove this hurdle by offering free delivery, the customer is more likely to convert.
6. Multiple payment options
It can be frustrating getting all the way to a checkout online, only to discover that the site doesn’t accept your preferred method of payment. Make sure yours isn’t one of these websites.
Think beyond the various card types too, and look to accept payment via PayPal or invoice, making it as easy as possible for the user.
7. Guest log in
Some users will just want to visit your site once, make a purchase, and leave. For these, if you’re asking them to jump through hoops and sign up to become a permanent member of your website, or an email subscriber, you risk losing them before they’ve spent a single penny.
This is why you should always offer a guest login, so these users can make the purchase without the commitment. You’ll still get their email, and they may well opt in to receive newsletters, but they don’t have to create a full account and you still get their custom.
For any user buying online, there always feels like there could be an element of risk. As the company, you need to reassure them at every stage of the buying journey.
Let them know that they’re making the right decision by shopping with you, and reassure them on every single point which may create uncertainty, from when they’ll receive the product to when you’ll take the money.
9. Keep it simple
The more hurdles in a customer’s way, the less likely they are to complete the buying process. Do everything you can to keep the process as clean and simple as possible.
Don’t clutter each screen with too much info, or endless amounts of attempted upsells. Keep it nice and simple, and allow the user to focus on what they came to your website for.
10. Clear CTAs
This ties in with the last tip, but you need all your calls to action to be super clear. This means copy that’s short and to the point, coupled with a design which stands out without looking out of place.
11. Establish Trust
Trust is probably the biggest barrier any online service or retailer faces. People are naturally wary of paying for things online, and although that is becoming less of an issue, you still need to take steps to ensure they trust you.
One really effective way to do this is to use logos of companies which you work with, as well as how payments are secured. Customer testimonials help a great deal too.
Basically, anything to show that your brand is trusted by both customers and partners alike will generate a certain level of trust.
12. Progress bar
There’s nothing worse than trying to make a simple purchase, only to have to go through page after page after page before getting to complete everything. This, of course, can lead to abandoned shopping carts.
A progress bar is something that can really help to prevent this. It lets the user know exactly how far they have to go in the buying journey, so that task never seems never ending.
13. Guarantee the purchase
This goes hand in hand with general reassurance, but let the customer know that making the purchase is by no means the final step.
Offer guarantees, or a generous return policy, and the user is far more likely to make the purchase, as the risk is significantly reduced.
14. Clear pricing
One thing that leads to a huge amount of abandoned shopping carts is unclear pricing. If the customer gets to the last step, only to discover additional taxes or delivery charges, it will likely be enough to put them off entirely, or at least look elsewhere.
Be clear in your pricing from the very first step, so the price they see in the basket is the absolute final price.
15. Optimised loading
There are few things more annoying than a website that slows to a crawl at crucial moments. If it’s bad, then it will simply drive potential customers away. They’ll back out, and go somewhere else.
You need to make sure this doesn’t happen on your site, which means making sure everything is fully optimised for every platform.
16. Non intrusive basket
Showing the basket on screen serves as a great reminder for the customer of what they’re looking to buy, and where to go when they’re ready to spend.
Some sites overdo it though, and it’s an easy mistake to make. Instead of letting the customer enjoy their shopping experience, they try to drive the customer towards the checkout by making the shopping basket the focal point of each page.
Don’t be one of those websites. Have the basket there, but small enough so as not to be intrusive. Then it’s more likely that the user will fill it up even more.
17. Easy path to check out
So, your basket is non-intrusive, yet visible. A good start. However, one thing that needs to be super clear all the time is how to get to the checkout.
This doesn’t mean making a huge button, or a big flashing banner, but just make it clear that the checkout is just one click away. It helps to make it more clear after they place each item in the basket, too.
18. Use images
When showing the basket on screen as the user browses through your other items, try to have a small thumbnail image next to the product names which they’ve chosen already.
Not only is it more likely to stick in the user’s mind, but it can also give them a little inspiration as to what other products could go with what they plan to buy already.
19. Save the carts
If the user does abandon their shopping cart, even after all this hard work you’ve put in, and they accidentally don’t save it, fear not! As long as they don’t delete their history and cookies, you can keep all of their items for them, so if and when they come back, they can go straight to the checkout.
While abandoned carts are a huge problem for any ecommerce business, there are so many ways to mitigate and to recover the potentially lost revenue. Retargeting in particular is really effective.
Realistically though, you should aim to be using as many of the tips mentioned as possible. It’s all about making the buying journey as easy as possible for the user, and that should reduce the amount of abandoned carts, and drastically increase your revenue.