1.26.2021

Overcoming Shopping Cart Abandonment

Written by Austin Chegini

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E-commerce has made shopping easier than ever, but there is a problem plaguing the industry: Businesses are losing out on $18 billion a year in revenue! 

The worst part? This issue is easy to address and minimize with just a little bit of effort. 

Yes - we’re talking about shopping cart abandonment.

What is shopping cart abandonment?

Have you ever visited a website, added a product to the cart, and then closed the window entirely? Or maybe you got to the checkout page and didn’t feel like creating an account? 

Either way, you’ve just abandoned your cart.

Cart abandonment is the act of adding an item to the shopping cart but navigating away from the page and not completing the transaction.

Why do people abandon carts?

There are endless reasons why someone chooses not to finish a transaction. Some are out of your control, but many are totally preventable. 

Some of the most common reasons for abandoning a cart include:

  • Price difference at checkout: Do taxes or hidden fees raise prices?
  • High shipping costs: People are used to free shipping. If it costs too much to ship their purchase, they will look for it elsewhere.
  • Forced to create an account to checkout: Some people want to retain their privacy, and others may be in a rush. It is essential to allow for guest checkout.
  • Security concerns: Does something seem off about your checkout page? For example, some companies will do business under one name but accept payments under another.
  • Payment method issues: What credit cards do you accept? Lack of options may limit some interested buyers.
  • Lack of interest: Some people simply change their mind before completing the purchase - you can’t win them all! 

How to prevent cart abandonment

As you can see, you can stop abandoned shopping carts before they even occur. 

First, you need to do a full website evaluation. Look for anything that makes you seem unprofessional or areas that could be improved. For example, do you have any broken links, confusing navigational items, or unprofessional images? 

Fixing all of these issues can improve the overall user experience and lower your bounce rate. It will give customers the confidence to shop with you. 

Second, recreate the buying journey to see if anything stands out. Sometimes, you create a website but forget to fix something small. It’s only when you put yourselves in your customer’s shoes do you catch this issue.

Look for these issues:

  • Does your cart clearly state the full price, including taxes and shipping? 
  • Do you have a broken promo code section? 
  • Is it hard to adjust orders in the cart (such as changing item size or quantity)? 
  • Is your PayPal account linked properly?
  • Do you have annoying pop-ups or too many upsells? 

All of these can hinder or completely break the purchasing process. Identifying and addressing them today could instantly result in increased sales.

How to recover abandoned carts

Sometimes, people simply exit the screen for unknown reasons. You might lose the sale at that moment, but there are ways to convert the customers. 

It all boils down to your abandoned cart email strategy.

What are abandoned cart emails?

Have you ever exited a shopping cart and received an email sometime later promoting you to finish the transaction? If so, this is an abandoned cart email.

Essentially, these emails are sent to people who added items to their cart, inputted their contact information, but clicked away before paying. They prompt the buyer to finish the purchase, often incentivizing them with FOMO (fear of missing out) and discounts.

When done right, businesses can have a 15% conversion rate with these emails. Best of all, they are entirely automated, boosting revenue without causing any additional effort.

How do you send abandoned cart emails?

Abandoned cart emails are often very easy to implement and send. While it depends on how you’ve built your e-commerce website, most platforms have intuitive ways to get started. After all, services like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCoomerce only succeed if your store succeeds. 

Many of these services integrate their website with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform like Mailchimp. This service lets you create all types of emails and landing pages to stay in touch with customers. You can use templates or build your own, as well as create customized greetings for shoppers. 

With Mailchimp, you only have to write one abandoned cart email. You can use placeholders to mention the customer’s name or the product they bought. You can then include a link back to your website to capture the lost sale.

Your CRM tool will get total access to your store, indexing everything from your catalog to your customer database. When a customer adds their contact information to the cart but backs out, the platform will automatically send the abandoned cart email. 

How to write a good cart abandonment email

People are tired of seeing email after email advertising the latest deals. Few people want to open the average promotional email. 

For this reason, your abandoned cart email needs to stand out from the beginning. 

First, start with a strong subject line. Capture their attention with a special message.

For example: “(NAME), finish your purchase before supplies run out!” or “Forgetting something? Finish your purchase and get 10% off!”

Next, make the email body short and sweet. Often, you only need to say one or two lines and then include a link to finish the transaction.

For example: “It looks like you left something behind! We’d hate for you to miss out on this deal, so click below to start where you left off! We’ll even give you an extra 10% off today’s order :)” 

Lastly, show a photo of the product and list the full price. Visual cues and clear information help the customer make a split-second decision. You do not want them to click the link only to see a radical price difference. 

Should you offer a discount?

Klaviyo reports that abandoned cart emails that include a discount have a 44.37% average open rate and a 10.85% click-through rate. Obviously, this tactic works to drive sales. 

However, sales volume does not equal profit. You may take a hit by offering these discounts, so when are they worth it?

Simply put, it really depends. Some businesses are fine eating the cost of a product, while others are happy to lose the sale but retain the product. 

If you want to grow your business, you should focus mostly on closing the sale. Although you may lose money on that single transaction, you establish a relationship with that customer. You then can remarket to them, eventually earning a profit from your relationship. This strategy is especially effective since repeat customers spend 67% more than first time buyers.

If you cannot absorb the cost and need profit, then do not offer the discount. Instead, focus on creating appealing, convincing emails that will eventually convert full-price paying customers. You may see less total volume, but it could balance out if the customers are paying more. 

Improve your e-commerce store with Epos Now

Doing business online seems easy, but finding success takes a concerted effort and the right tools. 

Epos Now provides point of sale systems for businesses across the world. But we are much more than a hardware company. 

Our software and online solutions can help you build a fully optimized e-commerce website that seamlessly integrates with your physical store. You can manage your digital presence directly from the POS, giving you more control over your business. 

Call today to learn more about our hardware and software solutions.