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10 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment During the Peak Season

Brandi Smith, Marketing Director

I came across an analogy recently and it really resonated with me for this blog. Imagine if shopping in store were the same as shopping online? You enter a grocery or department store, start filling up your shopping cart, only to be distracted by a kitten playing with a Nerf gun in aisle 3. You quickly forget about the items you stowed away in your cart, watch the cute little kitten for a while, and then leave the store.

While this scenario is highly unlikely, it happens in the world of ecommerce. Despite your best plans and strategy, people visit your site, add items to their cart and then close the tab or get distracted by a question from little Johnny and never return.

That right there sums up cart abandonment and it’s one of the biggest issues for online stores to overcome. According to Statista, retail cart abandonment rates earlier this year were a staggering 84.51%. What does this tell us? The simple fact is, if you’re running an online store, you’re losing sales due to cart abandonment. So, how do you combat cart abandonment as peak season nears, or for any time of year for that matter?  We’ve got some tips below for you.

1. Use exit intent popups

Exit intent popups allow you to retain visitors that are going to leave your site by tracking mouse movement activity. As a visitor moves their mouse upwards to reach for the close option, the technology detects that the visitor is going to leave your page and triggers a popup to appear. On average, exit intent popups outperform traditional popups by +5%, which is attributed to them not interrupting the visitor’s navigation and causing a negative impact on experience. You can leverage this technology to capture your visitor’s attention at the exact moment they plan to abandon their cart and present an incentive like a limited time coupon code or promotional discount offer.  

2. Offer a guest checkout option

You might see the checkout process as an invaluable opportunity to collect data about your users—and it can be—but forcing customers to create an account with your store can be a major deterrent to completing a purchase.  

According to data from Invesp, failing to offer a guest checkout option is one of the leading causes of shopping cart abandonment. Approximately 14% of online shoppers indicated that forcing them to log in to complete a purchase was sufficient reason for them to abandon the process. By offering a guest checkout option, you will have to sacrifice some of that sweet, sweet data that marketers crave. However, you’ll also make things a heck of a lot easier for your customers, which is exactly what they want. The easier you make it for people to buy from you, the more sales you’ll make. Plus, if you offer as frictionless an online shopping experience as possible, you may find previous customers will be more willing to not only purchase from you again in the future, but also create accounts to take advantage of loyalty programs and other incentives.

3. Be BUZZingly clear about all costs—especially shipping!

There is nothing more frustrating about online shopping than expecting to pay one price only to discover that you’re getting stung with a swarm of hidden costs, fees and surcharges—with one of the worst being high shipping costs. I personally despise paying for shipping costs and I have abandoned my cart more times than I can count because of them, and apparently, I’m not alone. According to KISSmetrics, unexpected shipping costs account for almost one-third of all abandoned ecommerce shopping carts.  

Be up front and as forth coming as possible with your shipping costs. Avoid trying to sneak them in toward the end of a transaction. Your customers deserve, and expect, better than that. Also, offer multiple shipping options with their estimated delivery timeframes so your customers can select the option that best suits their needs, their social values like sustainable shipping alternatives, and sets the right expectation for when they should expect their product(s) to arrive. You can also choose to work with couriers who meet their service level agreements even during peak season and unprecedented times, like COVID-19. ShipperBee as an example has a 99.7% on-time delivery rate. Check out our 10 Tips on How to Create an Exceptional Holiday Shipping Experience for more ideas.

4. Highlight payment security

There is an increased need for payment security among consumers today, especially with a rise in credit card fraud during the pandemic—a 35% increase to be exact according to a recent Business Insider article. Asking your customers to complete a transaction form is asking them to trust you with their personal information and credit card details. This makes online transaction forms just as vital a tool in establishing and building trust in your site as any other part of the process.  

To establish and build that trust, prominently display trust signals such as security logos close to your transaction forms and make sure the logos are recognizable and commonplace such as MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa. Data from Shopify indicates that almost 61% of consumers did not purchase something online because trust logos were missing, but also that more than 75% of consumers had decided against making a purchase because the trust logos weren’t recognized.

5. Shorten the checkout process and offer progress indicators

Have you ever felt annoyed by the in-store checkout process where the line-ups were long, you were asked for an email address and if you’d like to save 10% for becoming a loyalty member? I think we’ve all been there, and these are irritants that prolong the checkout process and contribute to said long line up. The same applies to your online store. Offering a progress indicator during your checkout process gives the consumer an idea for how much time it takes to commit to a purchase. It offers reassurance that they’re almost done, and they’ll be able to get back to their day in no time at all. Your progress indicator should have as few steps as possible and you should look to combine steps that are related to one another such as delivery address and method, and payment and confirmation stages.  

6. Provide easy access to customer service with online chat

Customer service is the backbone of any business and it plays a critical role in building a strong and loyal customer base. Offering live chat on your online store provides a number of benefits that can improve conversion rates and customer service. It’s an integral part of a successful customer service toolkit, providing a real-time platform to communicate with customers that generates satisfaction levels of 73%, compared to just 61% for email and 44% for phone. But it’s not only your customer satisfaction levels that stand to benefit; customer retention improves as well. In fact, over 63% of consumers reported that they are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. Why? It’s convenient. Customers can connect with an agent instantly, get the answers they need immediately, plus 51% say they like it because they can multitask and do other things while getting the answers they need.  

With as many as 83% of consumers needing some type of support when they make an online transaction, live chat removes the barriers to abandoning your cart and going to a competitor. Satisfied customers are less likely to switch to the competition and stats show that 89% of consumers stop doing business with a brand after a poor customer support experience and 25% will pay more for your product if you deliver a better customer experience. Moral of the story? Don’t skip live chat!

7. Use social proof

Let your existing and satisfied customers do the talking for you by leveraging social proof with reviews, testimonials or social shares in your online store. By offering social proof, prospective customers feel more comfortable purchasing from you, making them an integral part of conversion optimization. And with an astounding 93% of consumers turning to online reviews to influence their purchase decisions, social proof is a must for every ecommerce merchant. You can fill up your product pages and even abandon cart emails with testimonials from other happy customers and reviews of specific products to reinforce the value.

8. Leverage an abandon cart email strategy

Abandon cart emails are a lifeblood of ecommerce. They work to remind customers of the items they left behind enticing them to come back to purchase what they are already considering buying. They work particularly well at reviving visitors who didn’t purchase. When they opt to give their contact information but fail to complete the checkout process, there is a huge opportunity to send them an ultra-targeted sales email in order to achieve the conversion. On the fence? Statistics say that 45% of all abandon cart emails are opened and have an average purchase completion of 10.7%. With this data, it’s hard to refute this as an important element to your cart abandonment strategy. Check out this BigCommerce blog which highlights a sound abandon cart email strategy that will beat out your competition.

9. Use remarketing campaigns to target abandoners

If you didn’t manage to collect an email address, retargeting is an essential part of your toolkit when it comes to combatting cart abandonment. Without it, you’re restricting yourself to just one shot at getting the visitor to convert in a single session, which is an almost inconceivable feat in today’s multi-device online world. Facebook is a great way to target cart abandoners because of their format limiting advertisers to just 20% of available space for text. They’re ideal for capturing the aspirational qualities that piqued your visitor’s interest in the first place. Google AdWords and Bing Ads are also a sound solution, especially for products or services that may not have as much visual appeal or boast a unique selling proposition that’s difficult to convey with imagery. However you decide to do it, remarketing is an absolute must for cart abandoners when it comes to winning prospective customers back that you will lose along the way.

10. Don’t forget to emphasize your return policy

The return policy is often a forgotten fundamental for online sales. There are two important areas to focus on when it comes to your return policy. The first is to ensure that it is clearly written and easy to find on your website. Place the full policy in your website footer so it’s accessible on every page and highlight it in a concise manner on your product pages and at checkout. Second, consider what terms you offer to support a good returns experience. For example, will you provide free return shipping and shipping labels? What is the timeline for providing customer refunds when shipping a product back? It’s great to have a written policy but the policy itself must be appealing and you will require a good return management strategy to support it. You can find some good recommended practices for that here.

When it comes to saying sayonara to cart abandonment issues this coming peak season, or any time of the year, following these 10 tips will help you increase conversions, revenue and repeat visitors.

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