11 Advanced Tips to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Do you want to reduce shopping cart abandonment on your site? It’s troublesome to think of getting a customer all the way to the shopping cart, only to lose out on the sale. The good news is, there are proven ways to reduce your abandonment rates without totally overhauling your e-commerce store. In this post, we’ll give you 11 advanced tips for getting your shoppers to complete their purchase.

1. Offer Free Shipping

While only a few dollars in many situations, the cost of shipping is enough to win or lose a sale.

A Forrester study shows that 44 percent of online shoppers who abandon their carts do so because of shipping and handling costs.

KISSmetrics sums up the statistics on shopping cart abandonment as follows:

Shopping Cart Abandonment Infographic

Because shipping costs are the #1 reason that shoppers abandon their carts, the best thing to do is to offer free shipping. Free shipping is a major selling point, and an incentive for customers to shop with you versus your competitors, so make sure you take full advantage of this fact.

Zappos makes it loud and clear that they offer free shipping with the words, “Ships Free!” in big, bold letters right beneath the price for each product:

Zappos Ships Free

This way, shoppers are less likely to look around for a better deal, and are more likely to follow through with their purchase on Zappos, even before they add the item to their cart.

2. Eliminate Surprises

Even if you don’t want to offer free shipping, you can still reduce the number of people who abandon your cart due to shipping costs and other charges. You see, the same Forrester study we mentioned earlier reports that 22 percent of shoppers abandon their cars because the seller didn’t mention the charges from the beginning.

Similarly, data from Business Insider shows that the top reason for an abandoned shopping cart is that the shipping costs made the total purchase more than expected.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Reasons

All of this suggests that shoppers simply don’t like surprises. To remove that surprise, you’ll have to make all additional costs clear before they add items to their cart.

The tricky part is, how do you do that when your shipping costs are variable?

That’s where a calculator comes in: you can add a button to your product pages which will calculate the estimated shipping cost for your customer before they hit the shopping cart.

There are several ways to do this. If you use WooCommerce, you can simply install a plugin like WooCommerce Shipping Calculator On Product Page or WooCommerce Calculate Shipping Button.

If you use Shopify, you can use one of their themes with shipping rate calculators built-in, or add a shipping rate calculator to any theme.

If you have any other fees besides shipping (sales tax, handling fees, product customization charges, or anything else that gets tacked on to the advertised price), you will want to make sure those fees are made clear on the product pages so that the customer isn’t surprised by them once they add an item to their cart.

3. Keep the Cart Visible

24 percent of people who abandon their shopping cart want to save their items for future consideration (see the KISSmetrics infographic above).

So, if you want to have them come back to it later, it is really important to keep the cart in clear view. Otherwise, it will be out of sight and out of mind.

This could be something as simple as a cart icon in the corner of the screen that expands when you click or hover over it.

For example, here’s what Amazon’s cart icon looks like. It even shows the number of items inside the cart, so you are reminded at a glance that you haven’t completed your purchase:

Amazon Cart Icon

If you are using WooCommerce, you can easily add a customized cart icon like this to your menu bar with the WooCommerce Menu Cart plugin.

WooCommerce Menu Cart

5. Enable Guest Checkout

It’s not a smart idea to require customers to create an account prior to checkout. Not only does this slow down the process, but most customers will actually bounce.

Inputting information, confirming an email address, and then returning to the shopping cart is a lot to ask of a customer who likely has other online options to choose from.

Tear down the sign-in barrier by enabling a guest checkout. You can always ask them to sign up for an account at the end, after they’ve already made their purchase.

If you are using WooCommerce, all you have to do is check one box to enable guest checkout:

WooCommerce Enable Guest Checkout

If you use Shopify, you can enable guest checkouts by selecting “Accounts are optional” inside your Customer Accounts settings:

Shopify Customer Account Optional

At the end of the checkout process, customers will have the option to create an account.

4. Make Checkout Lightning Fast

One of the best ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment is to eliminate unnecessary pages and streamline the process.

Do your customers really need to click through five different pages to complete a purchase? The more you can simplify the process and reduce the number of hoops a customer has to go through, the better.

Here’s an example of a super fast checkout screen from Dribble (a design portfolio site):

Dribble One Page Checkout

They were able to streamline the process so much that all a customer has to do is enter their email and their credit card information, hit the “Pay” button, and boom! Done. They don’t even ask for a name!

The other thing that’s great about this checkout screen is the “Remember me” checkbox, which prevents users from having to enter their information a second time if they want to purchase from Dribble again.

6. Make Getting in Touch Easy

Shoppers will inevitably have questions during the checkout process. It’s your job to make information readily available by directing them to your FAQ page, or giving them the option to reach out directly.

A chat feature is the ideal option, if you are prepared to offer it. LiveChat makes it super easy to add a chat to your WordPress shop (and it integrates with many online shopping carts, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Ecwid, and more).

Live Chat

If you can’t offer a live chat, a customer service phone number will do. Just make sure that shoppers know how to get in touch with you when they have a question.

7. Save the Cart

84% of online shoppers are comparison shoppers. That’s the convenience of the internet. They open a bunch of windows, find similar products, compare prices and terms, and then make a final selection.

This back and forth often means they’ll close out windows, log back on, and move around. A particularly discerning shopper may even do this for days before making a final decision.

This means it is crucial that shopping carts are saved, so that you can retarget users who’ve previously added something to the cart but haven’t checked out yet.

There are several options to accomplish this, depending on what shopping cart provider you use. Here are a few:

  • Save & Share Cart for WooCommerce – allows anyone to save their carts and get a unique link to retrieve the cart later.
  • Recover Abandoned Cart for WooCommerce – monitors carts that are abandoned and automatically sends email reminders (with a coupon code, for instance) with a link to return to the cart.
  • Shopify Professional or Unlimited – allows you to monitor abandoned carts, and automatically or manually email customers with a permalink to their abandoned checkout
  • Apps for Shopify Basic – a number of different apps for saving carts.

8. Show Security Badges

Today’s customers are savvy and understand that criminals have moved online. When they shop from an ecommerce shop–particularly one they’ve never dealt with before–they want to know that they can trust the business with their credit card information.

Including security badges and guarantees is proven to help instill confidence, and reduce cart abandonment.

However, not all trust badges have an equal effect. According to a survey by Baymard Institute, the badges consumers trusted the most were:

Trust Badges(Note that McAfee has now been rebranded as Intel Security.)
Here’s how to purchase the top four security badges and trust seals:

9. Offer a Variety of Payment Options

A study by comScore indicates that 56% of online shoppers want to see a variety of payment options at checkout.

The particular payment options your customers prefer will vary, so it’s important to know your buyer persona.

In general, including the basic cards–like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.–and also PayPal is a safe bet.

MindMeister allows users to pay with American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover Card, PayPal, Diners Club, and JCB:

MindMeister Payment Options

10. Use Scarcity

Sometimes shoppers just need a little extra motivation in order to complete their purchase. Scarcity creates the urgency that they need to buy now.

One strategy is to display how many units of the product remain. For example, telling the customer that there are only three remaining dresses in the size and style they want can drive them to purchase based on the fear of missing out.

Another way to use scarcity is by adding a countdown clock. This works when you’re running flash sales and special deals. When customers see that they only have a few hours to get the deal, they’re less likely to waste time shopping around.

Zulily does an amazing job using both forms of scarcity. On the product page, they show a countdown to when the deal will end (“Ends in 2 days 8 hours”), and they prominently display which sizes/styles are already sold out.

Zulily Scarcity

They even show how many people are currently viewing the item (“66 viewing”), and how many items were sold recently (“10 just sold”)– a brilliant mix of both scarcity and social proof!

11. Implement Exit-Intent Popups

If you’ve never used exit-intent popups, this is a huge opportunity for you to maximize your conversions.

Exit-intent popups can be installed on any page, including shopping cart and checkout pages, and works by detecting when a user is about to leave the page. It then sends a popup message that encourages them to stay by offering a deal or presenting more information.

For example, when someone is about to abandon your cart, you can present them with a coupon like this:

Shopping Cart Exit Popup(Image via Gleam.)

Want a similar popup for your website? Start using OptinMonster to convert website visitors into subscribers and customers.

With OptinMonster’s exit-intent technology, you could present an even more targeted offer by displaying a different message depending on which item(s) the shopper has shown an interest in, or which pages on your site they have viewed.