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A Guide to Cart Abandonment

By Emma Foster • Wednesday Nov 18th, 2020

Use cart abandonment campaigns to optimise conversions and communicate with your customers on a more personal level.

The average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.57%.

Let’s put that into context. If 100 of your customers add items to their baskets, almost 70 of them will never complete the checkout process. 

Failing to convince these engaged shoppers to convert is a lost opportunity for online retailers. 

Your marketing and on-site efforts have got them all the way through the buyer’s funnel to the stage where their adding products to their basket, but you’ve lost them at the final hurdle. 

With the amount of time and effort you’ve put into driving traffic to your site and piquing their interest in your products, it may feel disheartening to know most of them will leave without converting. 

But don’t worry. With a clearly defined strategy, you can use cart abandonment campaigns to improve conversions and communicate with your customers on a more personal level.

What is shopping cart abandonment?

Cart abandonment, also known as basket abandonment, occurs when a user engages with your products and adds items to their basket but abandons your site before completing the checkout process.

Let’s take a supermarket shop as an example.

Imagine you’re doing your weekly shop, picking up all your essentials and putting them into your trolley. 

After an hour or so of shopping, you decide to leave your full trolley by the tills and, for reasons unknown to the shopkeepers, walk out of the shop.

This real-life example is perhaps an unlikely scenario, but when it comes to online shopping, potential customers are dumping their baskets last minute and not completing their purchase. 

According to The Telegraph, ‘The average abandoned basket is worth £30 a month, potentially resulting in more than £18bn of lost sales each year.’

Why are carts abandoned?

There are a whole host of reasons why customers don’t complete their purchase and it’s important from a business perspective to understand the reasons for this.

There can be many complications in a buying journey, from technical issues to personal circumstances. The customer may have struggled to access the payment mode or maybe the journey wasn’t as user-friendly as they would have liked.

It can be that the customer felt it was quite a hassle to go through the checkout process, or the services provided weren’t good enough for them, bringing them to discard the idea of buying from the website altogether.

On the other hand, customers might leave their carts due to other factors completely unrelated to the website itself. 

It may have been that the customer was distracted or had to leave for personal reasons. Maybe they were trying to save their money or were waiting until payday. 

Or maybe the abandonment was due to a power failure, internet problems or technical issues out of their control, and caused them to suddenly leave without a warning.

Whatever the reason for abandoning the basket, there is a chance the customer still wants to buy the products, which is where clever basket abandonment campaigns come into play.

Discover more reasons why online shoppers abandon their shopping carts.

How to reduce cart abandonment

There are a few ways to troubleshoot why a customer may be abandoning their basket.

To get the best possible picture, it's best to take a holistic look at your website, evaluating all your touchpoints and messaging.

1. Keep on top of technical issues

If website issues are suspected to be causing cart abandonment, run through the site to detect any flaws which could be holding up the buying process.

Error or 404 pages reduce customer confidence in your site, meaning fewer shoppers will make it through to the checkout page.

Making sure all pages on your site are running as smoothly as possible and load times are minimised will allow customers to easily make their way through the customer journey and not block their path to converting.

2. Create a seamless checkout flow

You want to make it as easy as possible for users to purchase from your site - so don't overcomplicate the checkout process.

According to Baymard, 28% of customers abandon their carts because they had to create an account and 21% didn't complete their purchase because the checkout process was too long.

These figures go to show how pivotal the checkout process is to nudging sales over the final hurdle.

Just by offering a guest checkout option and simplifying your form fields, you can secure these additional sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment.

3. Be clear and transparent in messaging

Messaging is a key definer between sites.

Get it right and you can ensure users return time and again. Get it wrong and shoppers won't complete their first purchase.

When it comes to reducing basket abandonment, your communication needs to be clear and upfront.

Make sure your shipping costs, returns policy and payment options - including credit cards accepted and buy now pay later options - are easy to find and understand to offer customers the reassurance they need to purchase.

4. Use exit intent

Exit intent technology uses mouse movements to detect when a customer is about to leave your site and delivers a Behavioural Overlay with messaging tailored to the customer's position in the buying journey.

In the case of basket abandonment, users are engaged, interested in your products and only a few clicks away from completing a purchase.

To prevent them from leaving, you could offer a coupon code, promote your free shipping or showcase product reviews to act as a form of social proof.

These exit intent Overlays could also encourage the customer to leave their email address to receive a link to their saved baskets. Which leads us to email retargeting.

5. Send cart abandonment emails

Whether the customer has left due to website issues or of their own accord, this is when Email Retargeting comes into play.

This software detects if a user intends to abandon their online shopping cart and offers to email their basket for purchase at a later time. These emails can also offer a discount as an additional incentive to persuade customers to complete their order.

Cart recovery emails are used to create urgency. The user will be asked whether they want to complete their order and if they don’t buy within the given period, the items in the cart will be lost.

Retargeting emails can also include surveys to analyse why the customer left the site in the first place. This offers the business insight into why people may be abandoning their baskets, enabling them to make necessary improvements, as well as strengthening their brand reputation and relationship with potential customers.

Learn more ways to prevent basket abandonment.

To discuss basket abandonment strategies for your business, contact a member of our team on 0204 505 9040 or book a demo.