Strategies to Reverse Cart Abandonment

Cart Abandonment Rates

If your online shopping carts are having "abandonment issues," you're not alone. According to a recent research, cart abandonment rates have been steadily increasing every year. In 2011, 69% of carts were abandoned; in 2012, 72%; in 2013, 74%. By the end of this year, well over three out of every four shopping carts will be abandoned, totaling over 4 trillion dollars worth of merchandise.

But there is a flipside to this depressing prognosis. 75% of shoppers who abandoned carts said they plan to return to the site to make a future purchase. 63% of abandoned carts are recoverable by online retailers using savvy strategies.

Increase Conversion Rates by Lowering Abandonment

What we learn from the statistics above is that cart abandonment is often not a final decision. When viewed as part of the buying cycle, like buyers who research competitors, the abandonment issue becomes manageable. Our goal, then, is twofold: lower the initial abandonment rate and raise the reclamation rate on abandoned carts.

Reducing Abandoned Carts: 7 Proven Strategies

Here are some tips that have been proven effective strategies to increase conversion rates.

  1. Offer free shipping and price guarantees: with the success of companies like Zappos and Best Buy, it's obvious that free shipping and price guarantees are definitely selling features that help to persuade shoppers to complete the sale. By offering these promises, your customers may feel less of a need to check pricing on other sites.
  2. Build trust: customers, especially first-time customers, subconsciously look for reliability. You can project your trustworthiness by showing contact information (phone number, live chat, etc) on every page. Include trust icons such as Paypal, customer reviews, testimonials about the products you sell, and show as much information and as many pictures and videos as you can.
  3. Create Urgency: Adding an element of urgency in the process can be as easy as adding a "only 6 left in stock" message like Amazon does.
  4. Simplify Checkout: Checkouts should be as simple as possible. Make sure yours has the fewest number of steps and requires the least amount of information. For example, users should not be required to create an account in order to buy from you (you can prompt them to register after the sale is complete).
  5. Improve the Process: Technical elements must be optimized in addition to design and usability features. For example, make sure your pages load quickly, optimize your site for mobile transactions, make shopping secure with SSL certificates and https.
  6. Be Helpful: Test all of your error messages to ensure that the "average" user can understand how to solve the problem. Messages should not be written so that only programmers can comprehend them. Also, always show customers how far they are in the process (and how much further - hopefully, not much - is left).
  7. Upsell at the end: If you use upselling techniques, do so at the end, to keep customers focused on completing their order.

By following these 7 tips, your cart abandonment rates will be reduced. But, to further increase conversion rates, follow the strategy for improving the reclamation rates too.

3 Ways to Improve Reclamation Rates

It is a fact: customers will abandon shopping carts. Reducing the abandonment rate is great, but doing so while increasing the reclamation rate is much better. Here are three more tips that are sure to help:

  1. Save for Later: Though it may seem counter-intuitive (doesn't "save for later" encourage abandonment?), adding this option increases reclaim rates. When we view cart abandonment as a natural part of the buying cycle, adding this option encourages customers to reclaim their carts and complete the sale.
  2. Remind with a Discount: Emails sent 3 hours after a customer abandons a cart average a 40% open rate and a 20% CTR. These rates, amazing on their own accord, can be further increased by adding a discount coupon code for completing the purchase.
  3. Retarget: Brilliantly targeted ads work. After shopping children's shoes on Zappos and abandoning a cart, a user who logs into her Facebook account is reminded.

By combining the strategies for reducing abandonment rates with those of increasing reclaiming rates, your "abandonment issues" can be laid to rest.

Use A/B Testing & Customer Experience Mapping

The last piece of this puzzle, like with so many other usability issues, is to remember to test every change made to every page or funnel. What seems totally logical and what has been proven to work on other sites may not work in practicality on yours. The only way to know is to test every change you make. A useful way to do this is by using a combination of A/B testing and in-page customer experience mapping. Check out our previous blog post where we cover this issue in greater detail.

Online Behavior © 2012