Learn Marketing Techniques & Strategies From The Experts That Will Leave Your Competition In The Dust

By Ata Khan | January 7, 2020

Struggling to reduce your eCommerce shopping cart abandonment rate?

 

You’re not alone. In 2018, the average global shopping cart abandonment rate stood at 74.58%.

 

Shopping cart abandonment is when a potential buyer initiates a checkout process, but doesn’t complete the transaction.

 

This usually happens for a few reasons but the main one being not following eCommerce best practices to capture the attention of their buyers.

 

Fortunately, there are some reliable techniques that can help reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate.

 

Keep in mind, even a small decrease in shopping cart abandonment rates can result in huge revenue lifts. You should constantly be testing your funnel and squeezing as much out of your traffic as possible.

 

So let’s get right into it. Here are 21 ways you can increase your shopping cart conversion rates right now!

Use Progress Indicators on Shopping Cart

 

When shopping at local supermarkets, buyers have complete control over the process.

 

They know all the steps they need to take to purchase something – enter the shop, locate and gather items in their carts, bring them to the POS, and then pay.

 

By examining their surroundings, they can easily anticipate the time it’d take to complete the process.

 

You can provide the same ‘sense of control’ to your online customers by adding progress indicators in your checkout process.

 

A progress indicator bar (or list) shows all of the steps that a buyer has to go through to complete their transaction – all the while indicating the step they’re at – like so:

 

Use Progress Indicators on Shopping Cart

 

Here are some benefits of adding a progress indicator:

  • Instantly makes your buyer understand the checkout process (and anticipate the time it’d take to complete the transaction)
  • Shows the buyer which step they’re at (which could increase the willingness to continue)
  • Reduces chances of the buyer abandoning the shopping cart

 

It’s easy to add a progress bar on your website. To do so, you can follow these tips:

  • Break down your checkout process into multiple steps that are easy to understand (for example, Add to Cart > Shipping Details > Payment > Track Order).
  • Use a plugin or component to add the progress indicator bar (such as Progress bar in Shopify).
  • Use Javascript to create the progress bar from scratch.

 

With the help of a progress indicator, you can simplify your website’s transaction process and ultimately, increase conversions.

 

Make it Easy to Save Carts

 

When shopping online, buyers tend to jump from one tab, or app, to another.

 

Unlike traditional shopping, buyers can easily compare prices of two or more stores by filling their carts, and then proceeding with the best option available.

 

On top of that, they may be multi-tasking, which means they can get distracted easily.

 

In any case, you must provide your buyers with the convenience to return and pick up where they left off.

 

If the data is lost once the buyer returns, they might just give up on the transaction altogether, and you’ll end up losing a sale.

 

This can either be done by using a cart with an auto-save functionality, or allowing users to save the contents of their carts manually.

 

Some popular extensions/plugins that provide these functionalities include:

 

Some platforms – such as Magento – have this functionality built in. However, you may have to set it up and configure it.

 

Needless to say, you can lower your shopping cart abandonment rate by making it easier to save cart items.

 

Leverage Retargeting to Target Shopping Cart Abandoners

 

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to not have some kind of shopping cart abandonment rate. At times, regardless of what you’ve implemented, users will abandon their carts.

 

However, just because you lost a sale, doesn’t mean you lost the buyer.

 

By using retargeting campaigns, you can target the same visitors and retrieve those potential sales.

 

If you’re not already leveraging retargeting (or remarketing), you’re missing out on some big sales. Customers who see retargeting ads are much more likely to convert.

 

So, how do you create a retargeting campaign? Here are the steps:

  • Choose platforms to display retargeting ads (Google Ads and Facebook Ads are the most common ones).
  • Add tracking pixels/tags on your website (such as the Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics).
  • On the ad platforms, create segments/audiences for abandoners (for instance, you can have a segment for people who visit specific pages, such as a product page or the checkout page itself).
  • Create ads on special offers that target those segments/audiences (for example, you can offer discounts to people who make it to the checkout page, but don’t complete the transaction).

 

With the help of retargeting, you can recapture lost buyers with ease.

 

Include a Strong Call-to-Action to Checkout on Various Pages of the Store

 

While filling up their cart, a buyer may get distracted and forget about their on-going transaction.

 

A great way to tackle this problem is by adding compelling calls to action as reminders across the website.

 

Whether it’s the homepage, a product/category page, or the checkout page itself – you should include a CTA (or two) to remind the visitor that they have items in their carts, and lead them to the checkout page (or compel them to continue shopping).

 

This CTA is a perfect example:

 

Strong Call-to-Action

 

Here are some tips on creating and placing checkout-CTAs on your website:

  • Use strong and detailed copy, like in the example above.
  • Maintain the tone and messaging of these CTAs throughout the website.
  • Make CTAs for different stages of the checkout process.

 

These CTAs can nudge your buyers in the right direction and help close more sales.

 

Provide Seamless Navigation Between the Store and Shopping Cart

 

Another major culprit behind shopping cart abandonment is ineffective and non-intuitive navigation.

 

The easier it is to navigate between the store and the cart, the more likely it is for a prospect to convert.

 

Buyers should be able to add or remove items to and from their carts – without being completely distracted from the store.

 

The simpler the navigational flow of the website, the better the user-experience.

 

Here are some of the best ways to ensure seamless navigation:

  • Divide items into a reasonable amount of categories.
  • Remove the need to press the ‘back button’ to update the shopping cart (for example, place the shopping cart to the right, left, or top of the page, which updates in real-time).
  • Allow buyers to save their carts and continue shopping later (or have an auto-save feature in place).

 

Remember – the goal is to reduce the efforts your buyers have to make to purchase something on your website or app.

 

Use Exit-Intent Popups

 

As the name suggests, exit-intent popups are special overlay-messages that are displayed when a visitor moves their cursor towards the address bar (usually signaling that they’re leaving the website).

 

These messages include offers that compel the user to stay and/or continue shopping.

 

This exit-intent popup is a great example:

 

Use Exit-Intent Popups

 

Think of these pop-ups as a last attempt (besides retargeting) to re-engage a potential buyer who’s about to slip through your fingers.

 

Here’s how you can create an effective exit-intent popup:

  • Create a special offer (could be a discount or a lead magnet, such as a free eBook).
  • Use a service that specializes in providing exit-intent popup scripts and templates (such as WisePops, Poptin, etc.) or use a plugin (such as Exit Popup for WordPress).

 

By using exit-intent popups, you can significantly increase your conversions and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.

 

Use as Few Pages as Possible to Complete the Transaction

 

Having a progress bar indicator doesn’t mean that you can make the buying process as long as you want.

 

While breaking the entire journey down into multiple steps can be helpful, make sure not to overdo it.

 

This means keeping the entire transaction limited to as few pages as possible.

 

In fact, according to Baymard Institute, 28% of online US shoppers stated “Too long or complicated checkout process” as a reason for shopping cart abandonment.

 

There’s no one-size fits all breakdown of the checkout process. However, the following steps should work for most websites:

  • Shipping details
  • Payment details/checkout
  • Thank you/Track order page

 

Another method is to have a single page – broken down into multiple sections – instead of having separate pages.

 

Again – it’s all about making things as simple and as quick as possible for your buyers.

 

Include Thumbnails of Shopping Cart Items Throughout the Shopping Cart Process

 

It’s possible for a buyer to forget what they’ve added to their shopping cart, halfway through the process.

 

This could result in abandonment.

 

Therefore, it’s crucial that you display the contents of the shopping cart at every stage of the checkout process.

 

Displaying only the names of the items no longer cuts it – you should also display thumbnails, as well. Take a look at this screenshot, for example:

Thumbnails of Shopping Cart

Adding thumbnails to items can:

  • Motivate buyers to proceed to the end of the checkout
  • Give buyers an overview/assurance of what they’re about to purchase
  • Unify the acts of browsing and shopping – resulting in a smooth user-experience

 

Most eCommerce platforms come with this functionality built-in.

 

Woocommerce doesn’t have this ability built in but your developer can easily edit some code to make it work.

 

Use Google Analytics to Spot Leaky Pathways in Conversion Funnel Flow

 

In terms of conversion funnels, “leaks” are the steps or spots where potential buyers leave your website.

 

Tracking these leaks can help you understand the flaws in your funnel, and help you take the necessary steps to ensure more people make it to the end.

 

You can track these leaks using an analytics tool. Let’s stick with Google Analytics for now.

 

Here’s how you can get started:

 

Once Google Analytics is all set, you can start tracking the leaks with the Funnel Visualization report, like so:

 

Google Analytics to Spot Leaky Pathways in Conversion Funnel Flow

 

By using this report, you can easily check which pages have the highest leaks, and optimize them (or your offers) to create a smoother experience.

 

Offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee (and Make it Visible Throughout the Shopping Cart Process)

 

As an eCommerce retailer, one of the biggest obstacles you have to overcome is buyer hesitation.

 

This is why you have to offer a solid, 100% money back guarantee to your buyers.

 

This can benefit you in two ways:

  • It will remove the fear of losing money from the minds of your buyers and make them more comfortable with completing the checkout.
  • It will demonstrate the confidence you have in your product(s), which will reassure the buyers of the value they’ll receive.

 

It’s important to remember that your money-back guarantee should be visible throughout your shopping cart.

 

Don’t just place it on your homepage (or somewhere deep within your terms and conditions, where most buyers won’t see it). The same thing applies to all other offers that make you stand out from your competitors.

 

Offer Free Shipping (or be Upfront about Shipping Costs if You Can’t)

 

Everyone wants free shipping (even if it means waiting an extra day for their shipment).

 

Many buyers will abandon their shopping carts if they have to pay for shipping costs.

 

Keeping this in mind, you should consider reducing your profit margin and start offering free shipping to your buyers.

 

However, not every merchant can realistically afford to offer free shipping. It mostly depends on the profit margin, the type of product(s) they’re selling, and where their buyers are located.

 

Here are some options that you have:

  • Offer free shipping on all items, throughout the year.
  • Offer free shipping with a minimum threshold (buyers have to buy a certain amount before being offered free shipping).
  • Ship only certain items for free (shipping may cost more for bigger and heavier items).
  • Ship for free to certain locations only.
  • Offer free shipping on special occasions/seasons.

 

By shipping items for free, you can experience a marked drop in shopping cart abandonment.

 

There’s nothing wrong if you’re unable to offer free shipping at the moment.

 

However, if that’s the case, the least you can do is to clearly state – throughout your website – that shipping costs will apply (preferably in bold letters) and how much it can cost.

 

Offer as Many Payment Options as Possible

 

It’s common for buyers to abandon shopping carts if they don’t see the payment merchants or options of their choice. As a result, it’s crucial to provide as many payment options as (reasonably) possible.

 

Here are some of the go-to methods for any online business:

  • Debit and credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, etc.)
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Apple Pay

 

Additionally, to process payments from different sources, it’s recommended to use a versatile payment merchant, such as:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Skrill
  • Amazon Pay
  • Google Pay

 

By having diverse payment options, you can experience a drop in shopping cart abandonment rate.

 

Offer Guest Checkout

 

One of your primary sources of data is your website and the forms customers fill to create their accounts.

 

However, that data may come at a cost if your website doesn’t let buyers checkout as guests.

 

This is because most users don’t have the time to create their accounts – they just want to purchase their items and be done with it.

 

So, while it may seem detrimental to your retargeting efforts, allowing users to checkout as guests without having to provide their personal information can reduce shopping cart abandonment rate.

 

At the end of the day, this isn’t an “either this or that” situation – you can still acquire the data of your buyers – and let them checkout as guests – by:

  • Asking for their email addresses on the checkout page
  • Offering discounts to people who sign up
  • Allowing buyers to sign up using their Facebook, Gmail, or other platform (auto-filling the forms and saving time)

 

That way, if a user opts to checkout as a guest, you’ll still have some data to work with.

 

Optimize Your Website’s Loading Time

 

If your website isn’t loading at an appropriate speed, you will continue to lose potential sales (you can check the speed at PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix).

 

To tackle this problem, you’ll have to optimize page load times.

 

There’s a lot you can do to make that happen. Here are some tips to increase the speed of your website:

  • Delete unnecessary images.
  • Compress design elements and other files.
  • Use lazy loading.
  • Get a faster web host.
  • Use fewer plugins.
  • Use caching.
  • Enable browser caching.
  • Combine CSS files.

 

Some popular plugins and apps that can help automate this process include:

  • Smush (for WordPress)
  • Hummingbird (for WordPress)
  • Plug in Speed (for Shopify)

 

Eliminate Unexpected Surprises

 

If there’s one thing buyers truly dislike – it’s unexpected costs.

 

The final price should always be clearly displayed throughout the process – from adding items to the cart to clicking on the checkout button.

 

This should include all of the costs, such as shipping costs, sales tax, customization fees, etc.

 

With fixed costs, it’s easy to calculate the final figure. However, for variable costs (such as shipping), you’ll need a plugin or an app.

Some of those include:

 

In the end, break down the total cost with specifics. The more transparent you are, the less likely it is for your buyers to abandon their carts.

 

Make it Easy for Buyers to Contact You

 

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your buyers won’t need help or have any questions during the checkout process.

 

Besides having a FAQs section, you should also provide live chat support to customers who have specific or unique queries.

 

Some popular platforms include:

  • Zendesk
  • Intercom
  • LivePerson
  • Bold360

 

Other than having a live support feature, you should also display your company’s contact information clearly at the top of the pages (besides having a separate page), which will make your buyers trust you more.

 

Use Trust Building Icons and Logos on Shopping Cart

 

Since trust is now a bigger deal than ever, you have to get your payment/checkout processes secured and approved by the relevant authorities.

 

This will protect your customers from cyber-attacks and increase the credibility of your business.

 

After finalizing a safe checkout procedure, you’ll still need to provide further proof throughout the process to secure their trust.

 

You can do that by using different trust building icons and logos on your shopping cart/landing pages.

 

Some popular trust seals (and their issuing authorities) include:

  • VeriSign Trusted – a SSL certificate seal, showing that all communication between web browsers and the web server is encrypted.
  • Norton Secured – the most trusted mark. Usually included with an SSL certificate subscription, indicates that the site is protected from viruses and cyber-attacks.
  • McAfee SECURE – A certificate that proves that the website is free from malware, viruses, and other threats.
  • TRUSTe Certified Privacy – Proof that the website complies with the Enterprise Privacy & Data Governance Practices Assessment Criteria.
  • BBB Accredited Business – Shows that the business meets accreditation standards.

 

Here’s an example of a checkout page/shopping cart using trust seals:

 

Trust Building Icons and Logos on Shopping Cart

 

There are only two steps that you need to take to add trust icons on your website:

  • Get relevant certifications (follow the links above to learn how).
  • Place the badges on your website (once you get approved by an authority, you’ll receive a download link for your badge).

 

By displaying these badges on your site, you can solidify your business as trustworthy, and as a result, reduce the number of abandoned transactions.

 

Keep the Shopping Cart Visible at All Times

 

Another great way to reduce shopping cart abandonment is to place the shopping cart somewhere visible (like the top), on all of the pages.

 

Making the cart visible and accessible from anywhere on the website can result in a seamless experience.

 

Amazon is a good example:

 

Shopping Cart Visible at All Times

 

You can use the following plugins/apps to create a custom cart icon for your website:

 

By making your website more accessible, you will experience higher conversions.

 

Make Your Funnel Mobile Friendly

 

Making your funnel mobile friendly will decrease shopping cart abandonment rates for your mobile traffic.

 

Here are some tips to help you do that:

  • Increase the size of fonts and CTA buttons
  • Shorten forms
  • Keep the overall design simple
  • Get rid of auto-play videos and popups

 

By making your sales funnel mobile-friendly, you can retain a substantial percentage of your audience.

 

Use Scarcity on the Cart Funnel

 

At times – even when they’ve made up their minds – buyers need an extra push to click that checkout/buy button.

 

You can do that by using the scarcity principle.

 

Items that are scarce/low in stock are perceived as more valuable.

 

A tried-and-tested strategy is telling customers how many items are left in stock.

 

By using copy like, “Hurry up while it lasts” or “Only X-amount left in stock,” you can compel your visitor to purchase something.

 

Add Social Proof (Reviews and Testimonials)

 

A buyer trusts another buyer more than anyone.

 

So, apart from placing special offers and using informative copy, you have to leverage social proof.

 

Contact one of your old buyers and request them to write reviews/testimonials, and proudly display the positive ones on your pages.

 

Ending Note

 

Even small decreases in shopping cart abandonment rates can result in huge revenue lifts!

 

Give your business the boost it deserves by executing on the techniques mentioned in this article to improve shopping cart conversion rates. To summarize, here is a list of those techniques. Do your best to execute on every single one!

  1. Use Progress Indicators on Shopping Cart.
  2. Make it Easy to Save Carts.
  3. Leverage Retargeting to Target Shopping Cart Abandoners.
  4. Include a Strong Call-to-Action to Checkout on Various Pages of the Store.
  5. Provide Seamless Navigation Between the Store and Shopping Cart.
  6. Use Exit-Intent Popups.
  7. Use as Few Pages as Possible to Complete the Transaction.
  8. Include Thumbnails of Shopping Cart Items Throughout the Shopping Cart Process.
  9. Use Google Analytics to Spot Leaky Pathways in Conversion Funnel Flow.
  10. Offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee (and Make it Visible Throughout the Shopping Cart Process).
  11. Offer Free Shipping (or be Upfront about Shipping Costs if You Can’t).
  12. Offer as Many Payment Options as Possible.
  13. Offer Guest Checkout.
  14. Optimize Your Website’s Loading Time.
  15. Eliminate Unexpected Surprises.
  16. Make it Easy for Buyers to Contact You.
  17. Use Trust Building Icons and Logos on Shopping Cart.
  18. Keep the Shopping Cart Visible at All Times.
  19. Make Your Funnel Mobile Friendly.
  20. Use Scarcity on the Cart Funnel.
  21. Add Social Proof (Reviews and Testimonials).

 

What have you done to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates? Tell us in the comments section below!

Ata Khan

Ata Khan

Ata is Co-Founder of Xoobo, a digital marketing agency that is on the bleeding edge of the industry. After leading in-house marketing teams at various organizations, Ata quickly realized the space was underserved and felt that someone needed to step in to bring clarity to the field and provide services that truly made a positive impact on businesses. Ata calls on more than 10 years of marketing experience to guide Xoobo on its journey across the industry. Most recently, he led marketing operations at billion dollar tech titan, Ellucian, where he built their entire marketing analytics infrastructure from the ground up, and secured over $30 million in pipeline revenue via marketing campaigns (such as SEO, LinkedIn Ads, ABM, Social Media, etc).

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