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What Your Startup Needs to Know In Order to Avoid Cart Abandonment

Originally posted on

We’re all guilty of it. Spending an hour or more surfing the web’s best shopping sites, searching for clothes, gadgets or games, and adding our wishes to our carts as we go. However, for many of us most of those coveted items remain in our wish list or shopping cart, and are never actually purchased by us. This act is defined as cart abandonment, and it means trouble for online marketers who rely on every positive checkout.

Cart abandonment occurs on such a regular basis that approximately $4 trillion worth of consumer goods are left in shopping carts every year. Recent studies are giving retailers a closer look at why consumers abandon their goods before checkout. Follow these tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to your online startup.

People hate surprise fees

Hidden fees, specifically shipping costs, are the number one reason why people choose to abandon their carts. In fact, 61% of people abandon their carts because of “extra costs,” which includes fees, shipping and tax. Other reasons cited include needing to create an account, not trusting the site with credit card information and having to go through a complicated checkout process.

So how can you avoid these issues? Be upfront about shipping and any extra fees from the beginning. Don’t let the consumer be surprised by any additional costs, and if you really want to please your customers, offer free shipping. Nine out of 10 online shoppers say free shipping is the number one incentive to shop online.

There are different reasons to use the shopping cart

Here’s the truth about online shopping: just because a consumer put an item in their cart doesn’t mean they plan on purchasing it. Some potential shoppers will return to the item later, will bookmark it while they compare prices on competing sites or will opt for a different item in the end. Enabling your customers to create a wish list will give them the option to create a wishlist that they’ll be able to return to later or even share with friends and family for an upcoming birthday or holiday.

Large purchases tend to scare off shoppers

Consumers tend to add items to their carts without looking at the total, and are then amazed at the bottom line. Add a cost calculator on your pages so consumers can track the sum of their intended purchase. Better yet, give them options to split their purchases into payments by using payment installation services such as Splitit. The platform doesn’t require a credit application, and is interest free, which means your consumers are likely to purchase more expensive items on your site.

Most deserters plan on coming back

It sounds unlikely, but believe it or not — three out of four shoppers who abandoned their cart said they were planning on returning to make the purchase. In order to make sure they don’t forget about their pending items, follow up with your customers by sending an email a few hours after they left your site. This may seem like hard work, but since emails that are sent three hours after a shopper leaves the site have on average a 20% click-through rate, it’s worth your efforts.

A simple process is a better process

It’s best to make your checkout flow simple. About 27% of online consumers in the United States abandoned their cart because the checkout process was “too long” or “complicated.” Instead, make the process quick and simple. Give your customers the option to save certain information, such as their billing address and email account, or perhaps condense all the steps to fewer pages. There’s nothing more aggravating than waiting for several pages to load just to make a simple purchase. These minor changes can affect how many people go through with the purchase. In fact, a site can increase conversation rate on purchases by 35.26% just by having a simpler, better check out design.

Cart abandonment is increasing, and the trend will continue as long as shopping online becomes more convenient and prevalent. After all, most people won’t walk out of a store once their items are already on the checkout counter. However, since there is no human connection on online e-commerce sites, you need to guarantee through other ways that your potential consumers won’t abandon their shopping carts. Follow the aforementioned tips and you’re sure to see a decrease in abandonment rates on your site.


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