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Top 10 ways to combat cart abandonment

By Gareth Ilbery, Head of eCommerce

Push Group


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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November 14, 2019 | 7 min read

Shopping cart abandonment is a big issue.

Shopping ecommerce

I’m not referring to those upturned trolleys left strewn along the grass verge outside my local Asda by halfheartedly pilfering youths (although my strongly worded letter to the council regarding this is sure to ruffle a few feathers, let me tell you). I refer, of course, to the realm of e-commerce.

Current estimates of global cart abandonment rate vary widely, but in Q1 2018 it stood at a whopping 75.6%. To put it simply, three quarters of the people who put an item in their shopping cart on your site probably won’t go on to actually buy it. That’s some serious revenue you could be missing out on, but it can be recovered by implementing some simple changes to your checkout process. Here are my top 10.

1: Remove distractions

Just as you would optimise a landing page to grab a user’s attention and not let their eyes or mind wander, so you need to remove attention-seeking aspects of your checkout page in order that the user follows through with their purchase. These include sidebars, navigation bars and images. Keep things focused, sales-oriented and totally uncomplicated.

2: Show checkout flow

Visitors to your site may be frustrated if they aren’t able to know how far along the checkout process they are. This potentially major annoyance can be easily assuaged by just numbering the steps or creating a progress bar.

3: Trigger abandonment emails

As we’ve seen, as many as 76% of shoppers abandon their carts — but what you may not know is that most of these individuals actually plan to return. Problem is, sometimes they forget. However, by triggering a cart abandonment email after a certain period of time, you remind these people to complete their purchase, thereby saving a potentially huge amount of revenue.

4: Request payment information last

Would you hand over your credit card details to a stranger? Probably not — so why expect shoppers to trust you with theirs? By asking for payment details last, you can instil a sense of trust in your customers. Acquire the least sensitive information first, such as name and email address, then move onto shipping details, billing address, phone and only then request payment information.

5: Improve cart management

A poorly managed cart is a surefire way to turn shoppers off the prospect of going any further with your site. People are simply too busy to be faffing around with convoluted navigation and ambiguous buttons. Keep the cart accessible from anywhere on the site. Show not only that there are items in it but how many. Create an executive summary of what’s in the cart to allow shoppers to quickly review it, and let them edit it without having to start again.

6: Make use of your customer reviews

Oftentimes, potential customers need verification from previously satisfied shoppers that they indeed purchasing the right product or service for them. Customer reviews are perfect for this. Where possible, assign every item on sale a star rating based on the average it has received from users. Not only does this build confidence in the product but also portrays you and your site as honest and not mercenary.

7: Ensure your checkout form is easily understood

You don’t want to leave any fields in your checkout form left to interpretation. You need straight-talking, ambiguous micro-copy to explain in absolute clarity what is required of shoppers. You can leave explanatory notes alongside fields that may be confusing to some users, such as the CVV number. Furthermore, mould fields to the information being put into them. For example, rather than a single field for credit card number, splice it into 4 boxes limited to 4 characters each, making it far harder for a user to make a mistake or get lost.

8: Avoid surprise costs

The single worst thing you can do to a potential shopper is spring an unexpected additional cost on them when they believe their checkout process to be complete. The most common is shipping cost. For this reason, e-commerce retailers offer free postage — shoppers love it! If you can’t provide these free costs, at least ensure it’s crystal clear that the cost displayed is not the final cost.

9: Reduce the number of form fields

Research suggests that many sites have as many as double the number of fields actually needed on their checkout forms. Eliminate these and you will create the impression of being an efficient, no-nonsense company with zero interest in wasting customers’ time. Use a single field for name instead of two for forename and surname. Replace optional address fields with a link to load them only if they are required. Make the shipping address the same as the billing address unless the customer requests otherwise. Don’t make them have to type in the same address twice!

#10: Place your CTA buttons intelligently

Sometimes a user can be encouraged to act solely by the sight of a CTA (call-to-action) button. These should stand out and declare unambiguously what their action is. Don’t overwhelm users with an unstoppable onslaught of buttons, but some prominent and distinct Add to Cart and Check Out buttons can be all that’s needed to convert that shopper.

Keep it simple

In all my years as head of e-commerce at digital marketing agency Push, I know that the majority of e-commerce checkout processes are just too complicated. Your checkout process and forms can always be made more concise and, therefore, more user-friendly. It’s mostly a simple matter of restructuring and redesigning. Remove distractions and excess aspects, keep the language to-the-point and see your revenue soar, or get in touch with one of our friendly e-commerce team today and let us do it for you!


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