You have built a brand. You have great product offerings. Customers have found their way to your website and even put some of your items in their cart. All seems well, right? The last key step is the actual cart conversion (which is defined as a customer finishing their purchase he/she has placed in the cart). You would think this conversion rate would be high. The customer had intention of placing the item(s) in the cart. You would think the next logical step would be to finish the purchase. However, the opposite often happens: cart abandonment. There are many studies that show a wide range of cart abandonment rates. It is safe to say it averages between 60-80%!

In this article, we will explore why individuals abandon their carts. And perhaps more important, we will provide some meaningful ways to help improve your cart conversion to drive your down your cart abandonment rates!

Why Do People Abandon Their Carts?

There can be many reasons why individuals abandon their carts. Let’s look at some of the most popular reasons:

  • Unexpected Shipping Cost
    • This is probably the most commonly identified cause of cart abandonment. Even as shipping costs have skyrocketed for brands the past decade, individuals themselves are still sensitive to shipping costs. They may add two items to their cart that totals $50 which may be his/her budget. When he/she goes to checkout and sees a $10 shipping fee has been added that can change the equation for the individual and lead to abandoning of the cart.
  • Long and Confusing Checkout
    • You want to build your site on a platform that has simplified checkout process. The longer your checkout the less likely someone is to complete the checkout. Amazon famously built on the single page checkout by creating the ‘1-click’ checkout experience in the early 90’s (which everyone has access to now). Most of the major players (Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce) have simplified checkout processes with their provided templates.
  • Indiscriminate Return Policy (unclear, not easy to find, and/or was not satisfactory)
    • Returns matter, people. Every one wants the comfort of mind to know if they purchase something they can return it. At minimum, you need to have a clear and easy navigatable return policy.
  • Concerns About Payment Integrity
    • This one is quickly rising up the cart abandonment reasons and rightfully so. Just about every day there seems to be a major corporation hacked. Shoppers want the peace of mind of knowing their checkout is 100% secure.
  • No Premium Shipping Options Available
    • Customers want to have their cake and eat it, too! They don’t want to pay a lot for shipping, but you should have a reasonable Express shipping option available. Not all customers fit the same profile. Some may not want to pay anything for standard shipping as a golden rule. Others, will not purchase something unless they can have in 1 or 2 days. Thanks a lot, Amazon!
  • Customer Couldn’t Find a Coupon
    • Customers love a deal. They look for coupons on your site, social media and marketing emails. If they cannot find one there, they search Google for all the coupon aggregator sites (which only work about 25% of the time). If certain customers cannot find a discount they will abandon the cart hoping a deal with pop up in the coming week.

Okay, let’s take a pause. We know that 60-80% of customers are abandoning their carts for one reason or another. We know the reasons above are some of the most prominent contributors towards missing out on the initial conversion. So what can you, the brand owner, do to help decrease cart abandonments and raise your top-line revenue? Let’s do a 1:1 on each of the reasons above and provide some helpful tips:

How to Increase Conversion, thus Decreasing Cart Abandonment?

  • Unexpected Shipping Cost
    • Ensure your shipping costs are a good ratio to your average product costs. $10 on $100 cart is much more palpable vs. $10 on a $35 cart.
    • Consider rolling the price of shipping into your product if the market allows. This would leave you with the same net margin at the end of the day and if it is easier for the customer to digest it is a WIN-WIN
    • Be clear with your shipping cost descriptions in your FAQ section. I am a strong proponent in believing most customers will pay if the price is reasonable and you have told them the shipping fees before the customer comes to checkout.
  • Long and Confusing Checkout
    • Simply put, in 2022 there is no reason to have a long and confusing checkout.
    • There are many platforms that are prebuilt with simplification in mind. Other platforms provide apps that sync perfectly to enhance the experience.
    • Just collect the most pertinent information you need. Don’t make certain fields required unless they truly are (IE – phone number)
    • If there are things you want to tell the customer before checking out think of other locations. If there is something important they need to know but it can wait till post purchase save it till then (with an order confirmation message or email).
  • Indiscriminate Return Policies
    • You need to really spend some time and love with your return policy. It needs to be detailed, but, yet, concise. You have to find that fine line to ensure the customer understands the policy, but also any exceptions that may be applicable.
    • Timing matters a lot when it comes to returns. There is not a one-size-fits-all here. Each selling category can be different. Some retailers do 30, 60, or 90 days. Others do 180 and 365 days. I think 60 days is a nice sweet spot and should allow plenty of time for a return.
    • Ensure your Return Policy is detailed out in it’s own section in the FAQ and even has its separate hyperlink in the footer in your website. Yes, people look at your footers more than you may think, especially for return policies and other general FAQs.
  • Concerns About Payment Integrity
    • If you are on a major known platform like Shopify you should be good. Leaving the Shopify (or other marketplace provider) logo in the footer can provide a sense of security to the customer.
    • Also, providing the major payment methods accepted (along with their logos) in the footer is helpful. Some payment processors even require this now.
    • Ensure your website is kept up to date and looking professional. Missing logos and images, broken links, and a missing SSL certificate can rightfully give patrons a pause in making a purchase on your website.
  • No Premium Shipping Options Available
    • Customers not only care about how much they pay for shipping, but they often care just as much about the speed. You should have at least one Express option. Obviously, this is going to cost you more than the standard shipping services you may offer for free. You can and should 100% charge shipping on the Express level to cover your expense. Express shipping should not be free! At Lessgistics, we have deeply discounted shipping rates. Fill out the form at the end of this article to learn more!)
  • Customer Couldn’t Find a Coupon
    • This one is pretty brand specific. Not all brands are promotional. If you are a brand that is promotional, then just be intentional with your communication of the offer.
      • Is a coupon required for the sale? The answer is not always ‘yes’
      • Does the customer enter at checkout? If so, say that. (note: some sites are now auto-applying discounts on the customer profile level)
      • Be clear on discount %, application of products, exceptions, and expiration dates
    • It’s always better to have you provide the customer the coupon. It is more personal and promotes brand loyalty. If they are grabbing off a coupon aggregator site it is less personable and memorable. You want to own the entire customer communication journey where possible.

Hopefully, you can take some of the actions above and apply to your brand to help decrease your cart abandonment rate. In a future article, we will look at specific cart abandonment recovery software that can help recover a percentage of your abandoned carts. Till next time!

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