Why is Shopping Cart Abandonment a Problem for Retailers?
Published by
James Rice Mcaulay

You’ve seen it happen many times before: A shopper arrives on your website and navigates to select product pages. They find the item or items they’re looking for and add them to their shopping cart.

Maybe they even make another selection from a recommended add-on product pushed by machine learning technology to increase the order value of the transaction. Finally, they arrive at the checkout page to complete the purchase.

All of a sudden, they up and abandon the site and leave their full shopping cart unprocessed. The sale fizzles out and another notch is added to the site’s shopping cart abandonment rate, which happens on average up to 75% of the time.

Imagine this scenario in a supermarket: People get their groceries, go to check out, and then 3 out of 4 people just up and leave. That would be a wild scenario with tons of outrage from supermarkets!

So why aren’t we outraged when we know this happens on a regular basis in e-commerce?

Well, we don’t directly see it. But it's time to open our eyes!

Reasons for e-commerce shopping cart abandonment

If this sounds familiar to your brand, trust us when we say that you are far from alone. Shopping cart abandonment is an ongoing challenge for e-commerce brands all over the world, but how your company reacts is what makes the difference between a successful cart recovery campaign and a cart abandonment that is lost forever.

#1. Unexpected checkout fees

According to Shane Barker, a top digital marketing consultant and keynote speaker, the number one reason people abandon shopping carts is because of unexpected fees added at checkout. These include things like shipping fees or delivery taxes that increase the order value well and above what the shopper expected when they selected the item. For companies unwilling or unable to waive those fees, it can lead to a spike in abandonment rates and potential lost business.

#2. Customers required to create an account

Some shoppers are uncomfortable with providing e-commerce retailers with their personal information. They want the convenience of checking out an item without being mandated to create an account with the company to complete the purchase. If the checkout process is not simple or straightforward, it can lead to a spike in abandonment rates.

#3. Aggressive upselling on related products

Pop-up ads are one of the most hated elements of a website experience. Not only are they annoying, but they can actually distract people in the middle of their purchase. If someone is so turned off by intrusive pop-ups that it destroys their experience with your site, they may opt to abandon the purchase altogether and choose to buy elsewhere.

#4. Prices are not in local currency

Many people don’t have the time or the knowledge of how to convert a price for a product into their local currency. They want to know exactly how much they will pay at the point of purchase, and they want your website to tell them the final balance. If your site fails to convert prices into local currencies, it could cause some hesitant shoppers to walk away from the purchase.

Average abandoned cart recovery rate

Among the most telling shopping cart abandonment statistics is the fact that over 75% of online shoppers who put items into a cart won’t complete the purchase on average. That means over two thirds of people who visit your website and show intent to purchase an item will abandon the experience rather than complete the purchase order.

That’s a lot of potential buyers, and a lot of revenue on the table. But if they do leave your website, that doesn’t have to be the end of their journey with your brand. That potential revenue doesn’t have to be lost and forgotten.

The typical mobile shopping cart abandonment rate

While the typical shopping cart abandonment rate is around 70%, the bulk of those lost transactions are mobile shoppers. According to recent studies, 85% of all abandoned shopping carts occur on mobile devices.

Site speed is one of the main reasons for high mobile cart abandonment rates. Slow loading times are a drag on any shopping experience, and lack of speed is especially trying for mobile shoppers. People want a smooth process that allows them to complete their purchase as quickly as possible. Without a site that’s quick to load, you risk driving up mobile cart abandonment. How to reduce shopping cart abandonment

So what can you do as a brand to improve checkout experiences, increase direct sales on your website, and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates? We know that the top reasons people abandon a checkout experience are the following:

  • Unexpected shipping costs or hidden fees
  • Confusing and convoluted checkout flows
  • Mandatory account creations to complete the checkout
  • Payment security concerns
  • Comparison shopping with other sites

While there may be specific issues with your e-commerce experience, these general causes for concern are a great starting point to help you improve your checkout process. If implemented correctly, you should be able to increase purchase orders and reduce lost sales.

#1. Reconnect using shopping cart abandonment emails

You can create an engaging email marketing campaign to reconnect with people who abandoned their shopping experiences, and bring them back to the site to complete the sale. For example, Schibsted, an international media group that teamed up with Kindly to improve conversion rate optimization for their business, achieved a 39% click through rate and an 11% conversion rate from engaging emails.

ActiveCampaign, a software platform that specializes in customer experience automation, saw similar results from their own campaign. They reported a 10.7% cart abandonment recovery rate using well-designed email templates that were sent out at opportune times for re-engagement.

ActiveCampaign analyzed their own performance data and found that sending emails an hour after users abandoned the site were very effective at bringing them back. On the other hand, sending emails within minutes after shoppers left the site was a tactic many considered intrusive and annoying, which led to a lower response. Use these examples to help orchestrate your own re-engagement campaign, and analyze your own audience data to find optimal messages, designs, and times of day to reconnect with your shoppers.

#2. Use a call center or chatbot to handle checkout concerns

If confusion about the shipping costs or the checkout experience itself are driving up cart abandonment rates, why not use customer support to address those concerns? Many companies have call centers to deal with abandonment rate issues and shopping concerns from users as they browse for products online.

However, this is a very manual and cumbersome process. Instead of overwhelming your customer support team with massive amounts of repetitive enquiries, you can build a chatbot directly into your online shopping experience, which is what Thon Hotels did to reduce inquiries routed to customer support by 30%. A chatbot automates how enquiries are managed, and it can address shopper concerns in real-time. People get the answers they need immediately, which should help drive down the abandonment rate and help drive up your total number of sales.

#3. Integrate conversion optimization and shopping cart abandonment solutions

At Kindly, we encourage our clients to use our Nudge software to produce conversion optimization solutions that generate results. It’s a unique and helpful pop up software with personalised sales recommendations that can be programmed to trigger on your site if a shopper is preparing to abandon the checkout. Rather than be an annoying generic pop up ad, Nudge is tailored to the shopping experience so that people feel motivated to engage with it.

Plus, the platform is very simple and straightforward to implement. All it requires is 10 minutes of work to insert the software into your website and then you can program the solution to trigger at appropriate times. It’s also a highly effective solution. For example, Conrad.com used conversion optimization software to drive up website engagement and ultimately produce a 23% increase in average order value (AOV).

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