The 7 Deadly Sins of Cart Abandonment

Online shopping experiences are filled with interruptions; YouTube videos, flashy ads, competitors’ sites, and a plethora of open tabs, each brimming with a world of digital distractions. If a site’s checkout process is too lengthy or the shopping cart takes too long to load, the customer might abandon ship. So, what are the biggest sources of online cart abandonment and how do we avoid them?

Contending with cart abandonment

Cart abandonment is one of the most prevalent issues facing online retailers. The phrase “abandoning the cart,” refers to the act of a customer’s exit from the shopping cart or checkout without completing the transaction. Although there are discrepancies in the figures produced by ecommerce marketing agencies, it’s commonly agreed-upon that anywhere from 55-80% of shopping cart checkouts are never carried out; this statistic is further compounded in the context of mobile devices.

Arguably the biggest, most consistent obstacle that ecommerce stores and sites must combat, the statistics on cart abandonment can be staggering. When stumbling across figures like “3 out of 4 shoppers leave their carts before checkout,” it’s hard to avoid feeling overwhelmed. To effectively prevent and counter cart abandonment, it’s important to understand why customers prematurely exit your site. This post will address some of the most common sources of cart abandonment and how to successfully overcome them.

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Issue 1: Lengthy or overly-complicated checkout process

Simply put, a shopping cart that requires filling out multiple forms, movement between several pages, or bombards your customers with last-minute advertisements all unnecessarily lengthen the checkout process. These prolonged, confusing methods for online carts annoy patrons and create friction in what should ideally be a minimalist, streamlined activity. A frustrating user experience will deter your guests from completing their checkout, and might result in future avoidance of your site. You should provide your store visitors with simple, instructional navigation features and tips to aid in the transition from product pages to checkout.

The solution: Focus your efforts on creating a straightforward, easy final stage in your patron’s buying journey through simplistic site navigation. Do your best to minimize the number of forms you ask your customers to fill out and limit yourself to collecting only the most necessary information, like name, email, and credit card. One of the most effective ways to shorten and improve your customer’s buying experience is offering an instant purchase function; following the conclusion of Amazon’s patent on one-click checkout buttons, Creatuity and Braintree have successfully enabled Magento to be the next provider of this incredibly effective function.

Issue 2: No product visibility or up-front cost calculations

Another commonly referred to mishap is the absence of product images/descriptions or a continuously-updated cost calculator. Patrons prefer knowing where they are in the checkout process– you can do this by providing a progress indicator and cost calculations on screen at all times. Not only do these features create a sense of assurance, they allow customers to retain their motivation for purchasing; maintaining a constant reminder of what the product looks like and what it costs eliminates uncertainty. If your site doesn’t display product images alongside items in a shopper’s cart, in an attempt to relocate or review items they’ve selected, they will likely leave the checkout page or your site altogether. Eradicating the source of a distraction reminds the customer of why they’re there while reducing the amount of time a patron might hesitate in moving forward with the purchase.

The solution: Adding a calculator with product thumbnails and sales tax estimations early in a patron’s shopping experience are great ways to overcome this issue. Use interactive progress indicators, thumbnail images, and a dynamic cost and sales tax calculator.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Issue 3: “Last-minute” fees like delivery, sales tax, and processing charges

Unexpected shipping costs are probably the most easily-identifiable source of abandonment for online shopping carts. Many agencies report that high or “hidden” shipping prices are the most commonly cited justifications that patrons list when asked why they prematurely exit online checkouts.

Online shoppers intensely dislike paying for shipping, but they despise hidden or covert fees even more. Delivery costs should never be sneaky or opaque; customers appreciate it when stores are transparent and upfront about all costs, particularly the price of shipping.

The solution: Detailing all hidden fees, including sales tax, processing charges, shipping costs, and delivery fees from the outset will reduce patron frustration. Provide the most accurate, detailed delivery estimates possible. Furthermore, offering promotions and bundles for free or reduced shipping is an excellent way to encourage additional purchases.

Issue 4: Lack of diverse payment options

Odds are, if you’re operating an ecommerce store in 2018, your site accepts most major credit cards. However, with the rise of promo codes, digital wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet, and third-party payment services like PayPal, Venmo, and Cashapp, online shoppers can now utilize dozens of payment methods. These new forms of payments are quickly gaining popularity, online and in-stores with a range of demographics, specifically younger customers.

The solution: Offer a wide variety of payment forms and options including third-party payment agencies like PayPal, a wide variety of credit cards, promotional codes, online checks, loyalty rewards programs, or gifts cards. By supplying your customers with a diverse range of payment options, patrons will be less likely to abandon their cart to shop at a different site.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Issue 5: Requiring the creation of a new user account

Many marketers will groan at the thought of losing out on large amounts of consumer data that’s collected when a shopper creates an account with your store. However, missing out on shopper’s personal information is worth it when you avoid dozens of customers abandoning their carts. The ecommerce industry centers on speed, convenience, and consumer demands. The online shoppers of today don’t want to have to create an entire account to purchase one item on one occasion.

By allowing your patrons the ability to proceed through their checkout as a guest, you can still collect vital data like name, address, and email, without burdening the customer. Returning or loyal customers can take advantage of creating an account from previously-entered personal information to make future purchases more accessible.

The solution: Offer guest accounts and checkout to your shoppers. Requiring your site visitors to create a new account to purchase one item or buy from your store for the first time is a huge deterrent for shoppers; providing the option to continue through the checkout process as a guest with minimal amounts of personal information removes another purchase barrier.

Issue 6: Missing overt security displays and trust in transaction methods

It’s important to keep in mind that customers are often reluctant to give out large amounts of personal information. Patrons might become suspicious of sites without cybersecurity validation, SSL certificates, or conspicuous site layouts. Weary shoppers are likely to avoid your site if you fail to display “secure” site indicators. Providing a distinguishably secure checkout experience sets customers at ease and encourages a sense of trustworthiness amongst your site and brand.

Do you use Norton, PayPal Verified, SecureCode or McAfee? Easily-recognized brands are a great way to reassure customers of your store’s legitimacy and safety. Prominently featured displays of the specific cybersecurity agency or program your store uses will soothe shoppers’ minds. The solution: You can build trust by illustrating to your customers that the banking information they enter in your site will be secure and confidential. Display visible trust logos within the cart or on the checkout page for the security software you utilize in transaction forms.

Issue 7: Dissatisfaction with refund policies, customer service, or shipping details

Overall customer dissatisfaction with return policies, availability of customer service resources, and delivery dates foster irritability in shoppers. In addition to the role shipping costs play in cart abandonment, shipping speeds are another contributing factor. During the holidays, customers shop for impending deadlines, or have become accustomed to Amazon’s 2-day delivery; if you don’t offer a shipping date that suits their needs, they’ll likely abandon their cart to seek more suitable options. Additionally, charging your customers to return unwanted, damaged, or incorrect items is a sure way to cause tension. Avoid placing hard time limits on your exchanges or requiring the shopper to pay for return shipping.

First time shoppers or store visitors often rely on customer support at some point during their experience, whether it’s questions regarding the checkout process, items to be purchased, or issues with payment. It’s imperative to make sure that your patrons have access to real-time, reliable customer support.

The solution: Many companies have found success through offers of money-back guarantees or free return shipping within a certain time frame. Provide a variety of shipping costs and speeds, like standard, express, or expedited delivery to appease a range of customer needs. Supply your shoppers with money-back assurances or other refund guarantees to alleviate concerns with product satisfaction.

When it comes to customer service, most shoppers appreciate live assistance or the ability to communicate with a store representative. Facilitate support by prominently displaying customer service resources like or fully-automated virtual assistance for FAQs, like Creatuity’s award winning chatbot.

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