A list of cart abandonment solutions that can also improve your bottom line
Shopping cart abandonment is a very real and costly part of online retail for businesses worldwide. Getting users visit your website, peruse your products and add them to their shopping cart is only half the battle — you then still need to get them to proceed with the checkout process, which entails them providing personally identifiable information (PII) and financial information.
This is where a lot of businesses find their traffic comes to a screeching halt. In fact, the Baymard Institute, which conducts original large-scale research studies on eCommerce user experience (UX), shares that the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.57%. This means that nearly 70% of all users slam the breaks and don’t go past Go and don’t stop to collect $200. They leave their abandoned carts or abandoned baskets behind and move on to other sites — likely some of your competitors — to make their purchase(s).
Monopoly game references aside, you may be wondering why online shopping cart abandonment such a prevalent issue. Moreover, what can you do to reduce cart abandonment?
Start by Analyzing Your Site’s Checkout Flow and Where Users Drop Off in the Process
Creating or reviewing your site’s checkout flow and user experience is an important first step. After all, if you don’t know what’re going wrong or where drop-off is occurring in the checkout funnel, how can you hope to address it?
The Fogg Behavior Model is a great way to approach mapping out the checkout workflow. This model serves as a framework for designers who want to understand what enables or stops people from completing an activity and how technology is used to alter that behavior. It shows how behavior is the result of three specific elements — motivation, ability, and prompts — coming together at one moment. Essentially, Behavior = Motivation, Ability, and Prompts (B=MAP).
In a nutshell:
- Motivation refers to a person’s desire for something — it’s a sensation, anticipation, or sense of belonging.
- Ability refers to their ability to perform an action or complete a task — for example, the level of difficulty or complexity involved with completing an online order).
- Prompt refers to a trigger or a call to action — it’s what gets the person to do something. This could be a facilitator, a spark, or a signal.
Motivation and ability don’t have to be equal — one can be traded off for the other, meaning that if motivation is high, then ability can be low and vice versa.
For example, when your company sends a product promotional email, it’s both a motivation and a prompt. The ease of use of your checkout process is the ability. When people read (or skim) the email and click on the link to your product page, they’ll look at the photos and review the product information and any reviews.
This means your checkout workflow could look something like this:
- The user clicks on the email.
- They read the product information and add products to cart.
- They log into their account on your site or create a new one.
- They complete the checkout information and make their selections (such as shipping options, insurance, etc.)
- They press the “purchase/buy” button to place their order.
The more steps you have, the more opportunities users have to exit the checkout process and engage in checkout abandonment. This is why it’s best to streamline as much of the process as possible to provide users with a better UX. One way to see where users may be running into issues is to identify where they most frequently stop in the checkout process.
Identifying Where Users Drop Off in the Checkout Process
Part of reducing or eliminating shopping cart abandonment is knowing where visitors enter or leave your website. Google Analytics is an invaluable tool when it comes to assessing where site visitors enter your site, what pages they look at, and how long they stay. Using heatmap software such as HotJar and MouseFlow also can be useful in identifying what content or site elements specifically that they tend to engage with the most. These tools enable you to use and analyze heatmaps, funnels, form analytics, user feedback, and more.
Once you’ve identified where people drop off in the checkout process, then you can make adjustments to address any impediments. This will help you reduce cart abandonment issues and, ultimately, improve your bottom line and increase revenue.
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Cart Abandonment
There are several steps you can take to help decrease instances of checkout abandonment and help move the needle when it comes to sales. Many of these cart abandonment solutions involve calling attention to the benefits your company offers that your competitors don’t (or what you’re just doing better in general):
Highlight Your Company Guarantee
If your company offers a guarantee — satisfaction guarantee, 30/60/90-day guarantee, fulfillment guarantee, price match guarantee, etc. — be sure to let your customers know about it. Guarantees are shown to increase conversions and sales and also help to increase customer trust and confidence. As far as we’re concerned, if it’s a selling point and it can help drive conversions and business for your company, shout it from the rooftops.
Call Out Free Shipping and Discount Opportunities
Do you offer free shipping? Tell your customers about it. Free shipping is a huge selling point for B2B and B2C customers alike and is a great way to reduce shopping cart abandonment. Whether it’s free shipping for every purchase or for purchases over a set amount, promote the crap out of it. People love free because, psychologically, the concept is associated as something positive and not having a risk. As such, it can actually persuade them to purchase more items just to qualify for the free shipping.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that “75 percent of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50.” Furthermore, research from AlixPartners shows that free shipping impacts not only their decision to make a purchase, but where they look for products. Some customers are even willing to spend a bit more on a product if they are offered free shipping. As such, free shipping could be what gives your business the edge over another company. But, if a customer isn’t even yet to a point where they’re wanting to commit to a purchase, then it may not be as effective as other methods (meaning free shipping should just be one of several approaches you implement to reduce shopping cart abandonment).
Highlight Your Shipping Speed/Expected Delivery Dates
In addition to free shipping, does your company over same-day delivery or next-day shipping options? If your answer is no, we’d suggest you change your tune quickly. In an era of Amazon and Netflix, people don’t want to wait several days or even weeks for a delivery. It’s all about instant gratification — they want what they want, and they want it now. A report by Alix Partners shows that consumer behavior is continually evolving and their delivery expectations are becoming increasingly demanding. The average consumer expects to receive their delivery within 4.5 days — this number increases to 3.8 days where Amazon Prime customers are concerned.
Want to offer shipping tracking codes for shipments? Perfect. Be sure to highlight this benefit as well on your website and in your marketing messages. People like having information at their fingertips — knowing where their shipment is in route is the cherry on top.
Place Site Seals in Prominent Locations
There’s a song that comes to mind from a popular musical: When you’ve got it, flaunt it. Although the example from the musical refers to a flaunting one’s talents or physical assets, the same can be said about your website and your security assets. When you have great security features in place, it doesn’t hurt to be proud and showcase them on your website as a selling point.
A site seal from a reputable certificate authority (CA) shows that you care about data security. By showing them that your site is secure, you’ll build consumer trust and make them feel more comfortable, which means they’ll be more likely to provide their personal information and financial details and follow through with the checkout process.
Force Security Indicators
The use of SSL/TLS certificates is no longer optional; it’s a necessity for every business with an online presence. We understand that SSL certificates aren’t sexy and are par the course for every website, but what is sexy is not having your website punished by Google for being “not secure.”
HTTPS is an integral component of every successful website. In the most basic sense, it informs users that their information is secure. For more tech-savvy users, it communicates that the connection between their web browser and the website’s server is encrypted using an SSL/TLS protocol. This protects their in-transit data from eavesdroppers and man-in-the-middle (MitM) attackers.
Ultimately, users want to know that their information is safe. Seeing the padlock icon, green address bar, and other security indicators reassures them that their information is secure and encrypted. Having that security-first mindset helps you to prevent users from engaging in shopping cart abandonment
Reduce the Number of Form Fields and Clicks
Companies want to collect as much data as possible about their customers for marketing purposes. However, there’s a very fine line between what’s necessary and what’s excessive concerning data collection. Customers don’t want to spend the next year filling in form fields just because you want their data and information.
Limit the number of fields they need to complete to minimize and simplify the process by only asking for the information you actually need.
On the same topic of streamlining processes, customers want to get to the page they want to access quickly. Simplify the path in terms of your navigation — get them where they need to go in fewer clicks. If someone has to go through five, 10, or even 20 clicks to reach a product, that means that they have as many opportunities to exit the checkout process and make their way to a competitor’s website.
Identify and Eliminate Friction Areas
Simply put, friction is a killer for eCommerce. OptinMonster says that shopping cart abandonment is responsible for $4.6 trillion in lost eCommerce sales annually, and BrainTree reports that overly complex checkout processes cause 25% of customers to abandon their purchases. By reducing areas of friction in the checkout process, you can help decrease the number of people walking away from their virtual shopping cart.
Some ways to reduce friction and avoid shopping cart abandonment include:
- Enabling guest checkout — Not everyone wants to have to create a login for every website they visit when they only intend to make a one-time purchase. Don’t force them to do so. They may choose to make a purchase from your website over a competitor simply because you give them that freedom.
- Offer great website security — The more secure your website is, the more comfortable people will feel using it for financial transactions. With companies increasingly finding themselves in headlines due to data breach issues, we can’t emphasize this point enough.
- Offer multiple payment options — It’s no secret that people like having options. Not everyone feels comfortable using a credit card on a website, and others may not have (or want) a PayPal account.
- Make your website responsive — Gone are the days of users making purchases from their desktop and laptop computers only. The world is growing more mobile every day, and people want websites that allow them to make purchases using mobile devices.
- Abiding by the KISS rule — Keep It Simple, Stupid. As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to simplify the process and not make it overly complicated.
Sam Patel is the content manager at Cheap SSL Security, a company that connects eCommerce businesses with the website security solutions they need, including SSL/TLS certificates and code signing certificates. Learn more about CheapSSL Security and how we help you provide a better user experience and reduce shopping cart abandonment.