What to do when shoppers bail before the check-out

Tracy Steffensen

Are you losing sales to abandoned shopping carts?

I gotta say, I’m one of the worst online window shoppers there is and have more abandoned shopping carts scattered over the interwebs than I’ve had hot breakfasts.

Shopping cart abandonment is a growing challenge faced by every online retailer. In 2016, online retailers in Australia suffered higher cart abandonment rates compared to their Asia-Pacific counterparts and are listed as the worst in the world, according to the report released by behavioural marketing agency SaleCycle.

In its Remarketing Report for Q2, 2016, SaleCycle found Australian retailers experienced a 76.4% average abandonment rate between April and June 2016, slightly up on the Asia-Pacific average of 76%. This made Australia the worst performing region for the second quarter in a row in 2016. In Q1, the rate in Australia was 74.3%.

Possible reasons why?

Every store is different, but overall we’ve unearthed the top 10 common causes of cart abandonment:

1. Shipping costs and taxes – Customers are often shocked by the shipping/handling fees and taxes that are included in the total amount. This results in customers second guessing their decision to buy. What you can do: Be crystal-clear about all costs upfront and if you can avoid it, don’t add in a “handling” fee as well. Be transparent and try to keep your shipping costs as low as possible.e.g. Shipping fees

2. Unsecured online stores – With all the reports of scams and frauds happening online, it is not hard to understand why customers are protecting their data and security. One step you can take is to secure your site with HTTPS.


3. Pricing research – Not all who go to your site are planning to purchase something. Some conduct research on pricing with an intent to purchase later, purchase in your bricks and mortar store or purchase from a competitor. You can’t do anything about this except to keep offering high quality goods at reasonable prices.

4. No guest checkout – There are repeat customers and there are one-time buyers. The latter don’t intend to sign up for an account. If you don’t provide an option for them, you stand to lose potential customers.

Guest checkout

5. Limited payment options – The purchase decision is often influenced by the availability of the customer’s preferred payment option. Offering only a single payment option to your potential customers is putting unnecessary obstacles between your prospects and your sales.


6. Online store and payment options that are not mobile-friendly – The majority of consumers today regularly browse online stores using their mobile devices. If your website is not optimised for mobile, you are definitely limiting your reach. If you don’t offer mobile payment options (e.g. Apple Pay and Android Pay), you will lose a big chunk of potential customers. It will also negatively affect your Google rankings as Google prioritises mobile-friendly sites in their search results.

7. Limited shipping options – Customers appreciate being given options especially if it means having a choice when it comes to shipping rates.

8. Customers unexpectedly walk away from or leave their computer – Things like this happen. Make saving carts available. Make it effortless for users to return to carts-in-progress. Saving a shopping cart should be as easy as clicking a single button. You can require customers to sign into their accounts or use browser cookies to remember customers’ carts without forcing them to log to their accounts.


9. Trust logos are not readily visible or altogether missing – Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce company, reveals that almost 61% of consumers had not purchased something online because trust logos were missing. More than  75% of consumers had chosen against making a purchase because they didn’t recognise the trust logos. Customers look for trusted seals, logos or badges in the first few seconds of arriving on your site. If they don’t recognise them, they will be hesitant to part with their personal information. If they can’t see them, they simply switch to a competitor’s website.


10. Lengthy transaction forms – A potential customer browses your site, sees an interesting item, then proceeds to fill out your transaction form. But there’s a problem. Your form has 10 questions — all are marked as required fields. When you ask for too much information you make it too hard. Limit the information you request to the bare essentials.


How to get them through the checkout

There are ways you can encourage a potential customer to complete a transaction. Here’s 5 improvements you can make:

1. Optimise your load page times. Online  shopping cart conversion rates drop 7% for every one-second delay in your page loading. Impatient customers simply choose to take their business elsewhere. Optimise  your images to maintain that crucial balance of quality and speed. Limit the use of ad network trackers, poorly implemented tags, social plugins and other “bloat” to increase your page load times.

2. Include a progress indicator on checkout pages. Customers can get frustrated if they think it’s going to take a long time. Showing them how many steps there are in the process makes it clearer and easier for customers to understand. You eliminate the potential worry that you’re going to waste a customer’s most valuable asset — their time.


3. Show thumbnail images of products throughout the purchasing phase. Although it’s unlikely that a customer will forget the contents of their shopping cart, this “grounding” technique reassures the customer of what they’re buying. The actual product remains  front-and-centre in the prospect’s mind, reinforcing their desire to buy. This strategy also minimises the likelihood of returns from mistakes. Try showing a 3-step checkout process on a single page instead of having a multi-page process.

shopping cart

4. Make navigation between cart and store seamless. Think about customers who will make multiple purchases. You don’t want to send them back and forth as this can be frustrating. The easier you make it for customers to move between their cart and your store, the more likely they are to stick with it and actually check out.


5. Include a strong call to action on checkout pages. A call to action (CTA) on the checkout page is critical. It’s the perfect place get the prospect to commit  and complete their purchase. Use white space around your CTA to make it clear where to click and don’t make it too crazy with colors and animations

Testing different strategies and measuring the results will help you fine tune the shopping experience making it as efficient and seamless as possible.

If you need help with growing your sales online contact us to arrange an appointment with an experienced marketing consultant.

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