Let’s first start defining what is cart abandonment. It happens when a website user leaves a shopping cart without completing their purchase.
The good news about it is that 63% of abandoned merchandise is potentially recoverable. The bad news is that the abandonment rate is increasing. Current estimates that 70% to 80% of all online shopping carts are abandoned, amounting to $4 trillion in lost sales.
Let’s review the key reasons shopping carts are abandoned. Later we will see how retailers can reduce the number of cart abandonment.
The top issues that lead to shopping cart abandonment
There are ten reasons listed in the Baymard study, and we’re going to review the 3 of them.
1. Shipping Costs
The first reason is the extra cost that the user finds during the purchase process; shipping, tax, and other costs. In a survey of 1,400 consumers
- 91 % said being offered free shipping from a seller would make them more likely to become repeat customers
- while 90% said they found a free return capability to be important or very important.
2. Obligatory account creation.
The Baymard study revealed that 37% of people abandon their shopping carts because they’re forced to create an account before completing their purchase. A study by Moovweb revealed that conversion rates for shoppers who use guest check-in and those who were logged in were identical and that the logged in users spent an average of 10% more than guest users. Even so, there’s still a strong case to be made for giving users the guest checkout option. The Moovweb study revealed that mobile shoppers are 1.2x more likely to select guest checkout rather than logging in and that guest checkout tends to improve mobile conversion rates.
3. Long Checkouts aka Conversion Killers
Nearly 30% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order due to long checkouts. Baymard did a large-scale usability study on the checkout process which revealed that checkout flow could be simplified to as little as 12-14 form elements (7-8 if only including form fields), but most US e-commerce sites contain over 23 elements (14 if only including form fields).
3 Ways To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment or Recover Abandoned Carts
1. Don’t require users to register to complete a purchase.
Maybe before users would happily create an account before completing their purchase. However, nowadays people love having options. One option, as mentioned above, is to offer guest checkout. Another is to allow people to log in via their Facebook, Google, or another social media account. This is way faster and saves time.
2. Simplify your checkout process.
Use a progress indicator if you, like most retailers, have a multi-stage checkout process and try to keep the checkout process to less than 5 steps. (5 steps is the average length of the checkout process among the top 100 online retailers).
3. Send checkout recovery emails.
Checkout recovery emails (e.g., Your shopping cart is waiting for you) is an effective way to recover sales from abandoned carts. According to Omnisend, 46% of people with open cart abandonment emails, 13% click on the email and 35% of people who click end up buying something.
Here are a few ways you can sweeten the pot for undecided shoppers:
- Offer a discount (e.g., 15% off all items in your cart)
- Keep the message short and sweet (e.g., Still shopping?)
- Communicate urgency (e.g., Get your items in 2 days if you order today!)
Another interesting point of shopping cart abandonment is that users like individual products but not knowing how to combine them, they abandon the shopping process. Viume’s Recommender System can help your eCommerce users end up buying not only the single piece but the whole outfit.
While we focused on the top 3 reasons people abandon their shopping carts, it’s important to look at the big picture when considering shopping cart abandonment. Familiarize yourself with all of the top issues listed in the Baymard study, and try to address each one of them.