For online businesses, there’s nothing more frustrating than an abandoned shopping cart. Each year, millions of businesses devote significant resources creating and distributing advertising campaigns. And even the most successful campaigns will often result in a shocking 70% shopping cart abandonment rate. That’s right, in 2019, nearly 70% of online shoppers abandoned their carts and failed to complete their purchase.

Online shopping cart abandonment rate worldwide from 2006 to 2019
Chart showing shopping cart abandonment rates between 2006-2019 (Statista)

Main Reasons For Shopping Cart Abandonment

Just imagine walking into a grocery store, and seeing 70% (7 out of 10 people) ditching their shopping carts full of groceries and walking out the door. That would never happen, right? So what makes shopping online so different?

There are a variety of reasons why someone might abandon their shopping cart. Here are some of the most common.

  • Shipping Costs: Expensive shipping costs will often drive users away from your site and to a competitor. Unfortunately, Amazon has set the bar with their free 2-day shipping standard for Amazon Prime members. As a result, all other online retails now must function against that standard.
  • Comparison Shoppers: Before consumers buy something online, they will often shop around and compare prices. Your abandoned shopping cart might because you priced your merchandise too high.
  • Distraction: When looking for a cause for shopping cart abandonment, look no further than your own smartphone. How many time have you been in the middle of shopping only to get a text, phone call or push alert to take you away from your shopping? We are all guilty of this. Even if we wanted to complete our purchase, we might have gotten distracted or accidentally closed a web browser window.

How To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

The good news is that there several things that you can do to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate. From live chat to exit pop-ups, here are some proven ways on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment. This list of tactics is listed in order of the online shopper’s experience.

1Live Chat

Before someone can abandon a shopping cart, they have to have one first. Helping consumers with product questions while they are shopping will help get them to put merchandise in their carts and checkout. Offering a Live Chat solution on your site gives consumers the ability to get their questions answered quickly during the shopping process.

There are a variety of live chat plugins for WordPress and other websites available ($25 – $75; affiliate link). You can even use Facebook Messenger for WordPress ($25; affiliate link) if you prefer to manage your communications on Facebook’s platform.

2Display Inventory Quantities To Create Scarcity

Example of a limited quantity alert on Amazon.com

Have you ever heard the phrase, “while supplies last”? Limited supplies will often help drive consumers to complete their purchase. This plays to our FOMO (fear of missing out). If we can’t buy it later, then that might be enough to motivate us to buy it now.

3Use A Countdown Clock

A countdown clock is another way that you can motivate consumers to complete their purchase. eBay perfected this tactic in the early days of eCommerce with their auctions. But you don’t have to have an auction to help drive purchases on your website. A simple countdown clock will help create some urgency especially when you are running special sales events. A limited time sale means consumers have less time to shop around online.

Some popular WordPress countdown clocks include jCountdown For WordPress ($18; affiliate link), Countdown Pro ($15; affiliate link) and redCountdown ($14; affiliate link).

4Keep Users Focused On Their Shopping Cart

Example of a dynamic shopping cart icon on Amazon.com

Once you get consumers to add products to their shopping cart, the next step is to get them to checkout. Remember, statistically, 70% of people abandon their shopping carts. So let’s try to keep their focus on their cart.

Make sure the user’s shopping cart is a major focal point in your website’s design. A bold and dynamic shopping cart icon showing how many items they intend to buy is a good idea. Your goal here is to remind users that they have not completed their purchase… yet.

Several popular online retail platforms, including Shopify and WooCommerce, have the ability to show how many items are in a shopping cart. The functionality is either built-in or a simple add-on, like WooCommerce’s Menu Bar Cart plugin (free).

5Save Their Shopping Cart

Not even limited supplies or a countdown clock will be enough to convert some comparison shoppers. But you can help comparison shoppers complete their purchase by saving their shopping cart. Even if they don’t complete their purchase this transaction, they might at a later date.

If you’re an Amazon member, then you’ve probably noticed how they save your shopping cart for your next visit.

6Simplify The Purchase Flow Process

Online retailers only need (2) pieces of information from consumers to complete a purchase: billing info and shipping info. If your website is trying to capture additional data, like birth date or survey info, then delete it now.

A leaner checkout process results in higher conversion and helps lower shopping cart abandonment rates.

7Show Consumers Your Security Features

Which site seal do people trust the most? (Baymard Institute)

Can consumers trust your site? Bad site security is another factor that can lead to shopping cart abandonment. If you’ve properly secured your site, then you should have the option to display one or more security badges to your users.

But some security badges instill more consumer confidence than others. The Baymard Institute conducted a survey of the most popular security badges. Although the average consumer lacks the technical expertise to understand what exactly these badges mean, their perceived security is valuable and worth displaying on your site.

8Offer Diverse Payment Methods Online

Gone are the days of consumers only using PayPal or a credit card to make digital purchases. Popular payment methods online now include Bitcoin, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Wallet among others.

The trick is to find the right balance between technology and convenience for your customers. Multiple payment options will help consumers feel more comfortable making a purchase. But supporting too many online payment options is a burden for any organization.

Pay attention to what your customers are talking about and be nimble enough to adopt new popular payment methods like Venmo.

9Allow Guest Checkout: Complete A Purchase Without An Account

As more and more companies struggle to secure their own data, consumers are becoming less trusting with their information online. Don’t force them to create an account. Maybe they just want to make a quick purchase from your website and move on.

Savvy retailers like Etsy and Nike have guest checkout options. The bottom line here is do not get in the way of checkout. If you really want to get consumers to create an account with you, then ask them to create an account after they’ve checked out or offer an additional incentive, like free shipping.

Quick tip on how to enable guest checkout on WooCommerce and Shopify:

  • WooCommerce: Turn on the checkbox in your preferences to enable guest checkout.
  • Shopify: Select “Accounts are optional” in the Customer Accounts settings

10Communicate Shipping Costs Before Checkout

If you can’t offer free shipping, then make sure you communicate shipping costs before the user gets to checkout. The goal here is to not surprise the consumer with unexpected shipping costs.

Adding a shipping calculator will help consumers calculate what shipping to their location might costs before they even get to the shopping cart screen.

Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer shipping calculators. If you use WooCommerce, then add either the WooCommerce Shipping Calculator On Product Page or WooCommerce Calculate Shipping ButtonShopify sites should add a shipping rate calculator to their theme.

11Offer Free Shipping (Or Cheap Shipping)

The primary reason for digital shoppers in the United States to abandon their carts as of November 2018 (Statista

This is the most important item on this list. Slow and expensive shipping costs will drive users away. 63% of respondents to a 2018 Forter/One Poll survey cited expensive shipping costs as the primary reason they abandoned their shopping cart.

Unfortunately, Amazon has set the bar with their free 2-day shipping standard for Amazon Prime members. As a result, all other online retails now must function against that metric.

Offer free shipping whenever possible. Although free shipping might increase your COGS (costs of goods sold), it will likely increase your number of goods sold.

12Exit Popups

Example of a Convert Plus exit popup window.

Oops, did the user accidentally exit their web browser window without checking out? When comparison shopping, it’s common for consumers to have multiple windows open and they might close a browser window on accident.

Consider adding an exit popup to your checkout pages. Some popular exit popup plugins include LayeredPopups ($21)Smart Popup ($19) and Convert Plus ($24).

An exit popup might be your last chance to convert a full shopping cart into a sale. Offer them a coupon code like 30% off. And if they are leaving your website anyway, what do you have to lose?

13Abandoned Shopper Cart Email Reminders

If a user didn’t complete their purchase, then perhaps all they need is a final reminder. A simple email reminding customers that they still have items in their cart might be enough to get them to come back to your site and complete their purchase.

For this tactic to work, you’ll need their email address. So this really only applies to repeat customers who have shopped with you before.

Similar to the exit popup, you should probably go big here with the discount.

Tactics For Reducing Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

When you think about it, the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment make sense. Consumers want a simple and secure shopping experience with great deals and free shipping. There are several proven techniques on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment. And whatever you can do to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate will help your online store be more successful. Good luck!

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