5 Ways to Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

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With the Holiday Season quickly approaching, performance marketers are already getting ready for a busy next few months. Merchants are preparing their sites for higher traffic and creatives are already being planned to capture early Christmas shoppers.

A recent webinar  hosted by Chris Nicholls of SeeWhy Inc. highlighted 5 great ways to avoid shopping cart abandonment, which can help you prepare for the upcoming quarter.

Here are our notes taken from the webinar:

Shopping cart abandonment rates have been increasing year over year. From 2009 to 2011, shopping cart abandonment rates have increased from 68%, 71% to 72% respectively.  Two of the main reasons for abandonment rates are; the ability to store items in your shopping cart and that shoppers are becoming more savvy and shopping around before making a purchase. In order to capitalize on converting these customers, merchants should consider increasing their “persistent cart” length times to 60 – 90 days as well as compare their prices to Amazon.com, the “online price benchmark”. During the 2011 holiday season 60% of customers went to Amazon before making a purchase.

Abandonment rates rise and fall throughout the year but from the start of October 2011 and peaking out on November 23, 2011, the shopping cart abandonment rates increase from just over 70% to 89% and then fell to 78% on Cyber Monday and continued to decrease through to Christmas.

So why do 72% of shoppers abandon? Forrester’s interviewed over 3000 shoppers and determined the reason why they abandon their carts in order was first “Price” then “Timing”. Here’s a summary of their top 5 reasons why shoppers abandon their carts:

  1. 44% – Shipping and handling costs were too high
  2. 41% – Were not ready to purchase the product
  3. 27% – Wanted to compare prices on other sites
  4. 25% – Product price was higher than they were willing to pay
  5. 24% – Wanted to save the products for later consideration

With price being the biggest factor, a large and very small shopping cart had higher abandonment rates than a shopping cart around the $99 value. If the smaller shopping carts shipping costs were greater than 20% of the value of the goods the abandonment rate is around 80%.  Merchants need to take into account not only the price of their products compared to their competitors but, need to factor in the cost of shipping to their customers.

Because shopping cart abandonment is part of the purchase cycle, merchants need  to better understand what their customers want and accommodate their needs. The following 5 tactics try to do just that:

  1. Free Shipping
  2. Give Promo Codes
  3. Check the Product Details
  4. Mobile Optimization
  5. Remarketing

Everybody loves anything for Free. eTaling Group surveyed website users and asked them what promotional features are the most important when making a purchase. The top two were “Unconditional free shipping with purchase” and “Free returns”. With 64% of all Thanksgiving transactions offering free shipping, merchants need to find a way to accomplish this tactic. Three ways to offer free shipping is to offer it over a 3 day period, with Overnight service as a paid service.  Create a loyalty or membership club like Amazon Prime. And, offer free shipping on minimum order size, like “Free shipping on orders over $99”

Which would you prefer: ““$10 OFF your purchase“ or “10% OFF your purchase” The majority of shoppers would prefer an easy to calculate discount like $10 OFF, instead of trying to calculate what the dollar value of the % off is. Make it easy for your consumers, don’t make them think. If you are going to provide a promotion code box, make it easy for consumers to see and provide a link to a page on your site with all of your current promotions on it. Macys.com tested their promotion page and 40% of the visitors to the page converted in the same session. The promotion page make your company look very consumer orientated.

Check the product detail page. Provide your customers with a large product image, clear product details, clear call to action, phone number and if you can, a wider site equals more selling area. Clear product details include a good description, dimensions and colour options.

97% of mobile visitors abandon their shopping cart. The majority of consumers user their mobile devices to research items before buying them on a different platform. Merchants should cater to their customers on mobile by making their website mobile friendly. Focus on making your site more mobile search friendly. Include easily clickable links, easy to view and clear pictures, PayPal access for making payments easy and check the visibility on a range of devices.  Lastly, remarket to your mobile abandoners with a link back to the shopping cart so they can make the purchase easily on another platform.

Remarketing to your all ready interested customers who are showing you their intent to purchase, by having a product in their shopping cart, is easier than trying to convince a brand new visitor to your site to put something in their shopping cart. Without remarketing on average 8% of customers will return to by something. With remarketing on average 26% of customers will return to buy something. The three stages of remarketing is to remind the customer within an hour, reassure them within 23 hours and promote to them within 6 days and 23 hours. Try to include the picture of the item in their shopping cart in the email. 

There are tons of great stats and tips in here to help get the ideas flowing for this upcoming season, but regardless of Holiday shopping, it’s important for merchants to continuously test their site for improved conversion rates and decreased shopping cart abandons, which will result in better performance from your affiliate partners.

What other strategies have you used to help lower your shopping cart abandonment rate that have worked?