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10 Ways to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Megan Totka
Updated Nov 16, 2022

Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem, but you can reduce how often it happens.

If you’re like most businesses, you probably want to reduce shopping cart abandonment on your website.

It’s frustrating to think that customers add items to their shopping cart, but something interrupts and you lose out on that sale. The great news is, there are proven ways to lower these rates without having to revamp your e-commerce store. Take a look at these 10 tips to reduce cart abandonment.

Shopping cart abandonment explained

Shopping cart abandonment is a constant frustration for business owners. It happens when someone places an item for purchase in the shopping cart, but for one reason or another decides to leave that item in the cart, unpurchased. The Baymard Institute discovered that the average cart abandonment rate is 69.99%.

There are many reasons that a consumer might abandon their cart:

  • High shipping costs were revealed.
  • They found the same items cheaper elsewhere.
  • The checkout process was difficult to navigate. 
  • They don’t trust the website with their personal data.

How to stop shopping cart abandonment

Let’s take a look at 10 ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase your overall sales. 

1. Offer free shipping.

While it’s typically only a savings of a few dollars, comping the cost of shipping is typically enough to win the sale. The Baymard Institute found that 48% of cart abandonment was due to high extra costs, such as shipping. 

One of the best solutions to prevent shopping cart abandonment is to offer free shipping. It’s an incentive for consumers to shop with you instead of your competitors and a major selling point, so take advantage of it.

TipTip: Make free shipping prominent on your site to encourage people to add items to their carts, knowing they won’t be surprised by shipping costs. 

2. Eliminate surprises.

If you don’t want to offer free shipping, that’s OK. However, you can still cut back on the number of people who abandon their shopping cart due to unexpected costs. The most common (and easily correctable) reasons why customers don’t complete the checkout process is because of the unexpected extra charges, such as taxes, fees and shipping.

Shoppers don’t like surprises. To eliminate the surprise costs, make sure any additional fees are clear before customers add the items to their cart. This can be tough because shipping costs are variable, but that is where a shipping calculator comes into play. Add a button to your product pages that calculates the estimated cost for your customer before they add the item to the cart.

If you have additional fees (handling fees, product customization charges, sales tax), ensure they are clearly listed on the product pages, so the customer isn’t surprised when they appear at checkout.

3. Enable guest checkout.

Think twice before you ask your customers to create an account before they checkout. This slows down the process and often causes customers to bounce. Filling out information, confirming an email address and more is asking too much of a customer who probably has various other online shopping options.

Instead, enable a guest checkout option. You can always ask customers to create an account after they’ve made their purchase. 

Bottom LineBottom Line: Guest checkout encourages people to buy because they won’t feel that they have signed up for yet another email list.

4. Ensure checkout is fast.

Every business wants to know how to sell more online. If you want people to make a purchase, not only do you need to accept more returns, you also need to make sure the process to checkout is fast.

You can reduce shopping cart abandonment if you cut out extra steps and streamline the checkout process.

Is it really necessary to make your customers click through four different pages before they can complete a purchase? The more ways you simplify the checkout process and the fewer hoops a customer has to jump through, the more likely they are to complete the process. 

5. Make getting in contact easy.

It’s inevitable – shoppers will have questions while they’re checking out. This is why you need to make sure the information they’re looking for is readily available on your FAQ page. It’s important to speak your customers’ language – don’t fill your site with industry buzzwords.

You can also give customers the option to contact you directly.

A good chat feature is a smart option if you have the people to support it. Whatever you do, make sure shoppers know how to easily get in contact with you if they need to.

6. Save the cart.

Zippia found that 70% of consumers look at three or more channels before buying something. Searching on more than one website allows people to compare products and prices. This is one perk of the internet – shoppers can open several windows, locate products, compare the prices, and make their decision. All of this research often leads to closing out windows, logging back on and checking sites again. Some shoppers may do this numerous times for weeks before making a decision.

That is why it’s vital that your site saves shopping carts; it allows you to retarget your shoppers who have added something to their cart but didn’t check out.

7. Keep the cart visible.

Many customers choose to add items to their cart to save for future consideration. If you want them to come back later, keep the cart in clear view. If it’s out of sight, then it’ll be out of mind. This can be as simple as adding a cart icon in the top corner of their screen.

8. Display security badges.

Customers are savvy and know that criminals are now online too. When a customer makes a purchase from an e-commerce store, especially one they’ve never purchased from before, they want to know that they are safe to hand over their credit card information. Include security badges on your site to help instill confidence in your buyers.

9. Accept a variety of payment options.

The payment method your customers prefer varies, so it’s best to offer numerous payment options. Accept the basic credit cards, such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express. PayPal is also a smart choice.

10. Create urgency.

Sometimes a shopper needs some extra motivation to complete their purchase. This is where you can use scarcity to create the urgency to buy now.

A tried and true strategy is to share the number of remaining available products. When you tell your customer that there are only two remaining shirts in the style and size they need, that can drive them to go ahead and make the purchase based on their fear of the product selling out.

Another way to hone in on the scarcity tactic is by adding a clock that counts down. This method is successful when you’re running special deals and flash sales. When customers realize they only have a couple of hours to save money and get the deal, they’re more likely to make a purchase and not spend time shopping around for other deals. 

There are numerous ways you can reduce shopping cart abandonment and encourage customers to go ahead and order products from your website. Take these tips to heart: Make it easy for customers to contact you, prove your site is secure, accept numerous payment options, create a sense of urgency and consider free shipping. Once you implement these changes, you will slash cart abandonment rates and boost your bottom line.

Additional reporting by Kimberlee Leonard.

Image Credit: RawPixel.com / Shutterstock
Megan Totka
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.