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5 tips to prevent and recover abandoned online shopping carts

5 tips to prevent and recover abandoned online shopping carts

Cisco Sara
Cisco Sara

As an ecommerce store owner, you might be alarmed to learn that 69% of online shopping carts are abandoned for reasons including unexpectedly high shipping costs, price dissatisfaction, problems with website navigation or performance, and concerns about payment security. That’s a lot of potential revenue going to waste, especially when online retailers can implement simple strategies to prevent or recover those lost sales. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Prevent cart abandonment

You can encourage customers to complete their checkout by removing barriers such as poor form design or website performance, and by setting realistic expectations for how their purchase will proceed.

1. Better checkout design

For many businesses, a better checkout design could lead to a 35% increase in conversion rates. So what does better checkout design look like?

  • Fewer fields to fill out: An ideal checkout flow can be as short as 7–8 fields and a total of 12–14 elements, but recent benchmark tests show that the average online checkout contains twice that.
  • Editable item quantities: Customers can talk themselves out of a purchase once the total of their shopping cart is on screen. By letting them easily edit quantities, they’re more likely to just drop an item or two, and still continue through to checkout.
  • Shipping options: If your customer has gone over budget, they don’t need to remove items from their cart—they can just downgrade to a cheaper shipping option, instead.
  • Linked images of products: Give customers one last look at the products they’re purchasing, with a link through to the product page, to reinforce their purchasing decisions.
  • Enable guest checkout: 23% of shoppers will abandon their cart if they have to create a new user account and one study showed that removing forced registration resulted in a 45% sales increase. So it’s much smarter to let customers complete their orders and just include the benefits of setting up an account in your order confirmation screen.

2. Transparent shipping costs

Free shipping is a real draw-card for customers, with 69% of shoppers more likely to buy from online stores that offer free shipping. But if you can’t provide free shipping, be explicit about your shipping costs as early as you can in the sales funnel by:

  • including a shipping calculator on your website
  • displaying shipping charges on your product pages
  • linking to shipping charges and FAQs from your product and category pages.

You might think that telling prospective customers about additional charges will discourage them from buying, and it’s probably true—but those customers are going to abandon their carts anyway, once they see the additional charges at checkout. Yes, 28% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if presented with unexpected shipping costs. The benefit of showing them sooner is that you’ll be avoiding an unpleasant customer experience, and they’re more likely to come back in future. Balance out the bad news with positive customer reviews and satisfaction guarantees.

3. Exit offers

Depending on which ecommerce platform you’re using, there are several out-of-the-box plug-ins you can use to catch customers on their way out and entice them back in. These “exit pop-ups” track your user’s movement through the site or on a particular page, and interrupt when they’re about to leave, usually with a discount offer or an add-on deal. Who could resist that?

Recover abandoned carts

You can also take action to bring your customers back after they’ve left your store, while they’re still wishing for items in their abandoned carts…and automation makes it simple to do.

4. Cart abandonment emails

Many ecommerce platforms, like Neto, include modules that send out abandoned cart emails to customers who have added products to their cart but failed to check out. And they’re having great results, because 54% of shoppers will come back to purchase the products they’ve left in abandoned shopping carts, if you offer them a discounted price. It doesn’t matter whether the shopper has created an account with you or not, because all you need is the user’s email address (although a name helps with personalisation), which you have hopefully captured in the early stages of checkout.

Send your first email an hour after they’ve last made changes to their cart, and send follow up messages after 24 hours, 48 hours, and a week. The email should look and feel consistent with the rest of your brand messaging, and will generally be phrased as a helpful offer: Have you forgotten these items in your shopping cart? Pair product images with a positive customer review and a call to action that’s hard to resist, linking the shopper directly back to their persistent shopping cart. And let them know the products are now discounted, or prominently display a free shipping voucher.

5. Ad retargeting

If you’ve optimised your online shopping cart design for conversion by removing as many form fields as possible, there will be times when shoppers abandon their carts before entering an email address. When this happens, you can continue to entice them back to your site with “ad retargeting”, which identifies a user by cookie and then delivers ads to them as they continue to browse other websites. Ad retargeting software won’t work on browsers set to block cookies or ads, but it’s an effective approach to following up after the rest of your anonymous site visitors.

By making small changes to your checkout process and running a cart abandonment email campaign, you could be boosting your conversion rates by 35%. Neto is a leading ecommerce platform designed to help you sell products across multiple channels. It’s got everything you need to prevent and recover abandoned shopping carts: fully-responsive themes, a conversion-centred checkout experience, a cart abandonment campaign module, and add-on integrations to other services, including exit pop-ups. For more ways to boost your online business, see our tips for kickstarting your ecommerce sales.

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