Running an online store is one of the most efficient ways to leverage the Internet to make money. In fact, it’s a method that most retailers are heavily incorporating as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for online shoppers to abandon their carts at some point during the purchase process, leaving their order incomplete. But, there are steps you can take to minimize the chance of this occurring.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about how to minimize shopping cart abandonment.
1. Optimize Website Speed
One of the most important metrics to prioritize when looking to minimize cart abandonment is how quickly each page loads during the process. As you may expect, people likely won’t wait around until the end of the sequence if there’s a constant delay after each action is taken.
This also applies to the rest of your website, as well. Since people tend to leave items in their cart while they shop, you want the general browsing experience of your website to be as fluid as possible.
To help you get started with optimizing your site speed, take into account how many images you have (and how large the files are). You should ensure that these images are optimized, meaning they provide the necessary amount of resolution without being too large.
If you take product photos on your own, it’s best to do so at the highest resolution possible— this will allow you to change the image to a smaller size while still maintaining a high-quality appearance.
Images with lower resolutions often appear blurry or distorted when they’re increased in size, making them suboptimal to use on your website. To further increase your site’s speed, you can also make use of a content delivery network, which is essentially a system that utilizes multiple servers in order to maintain a high-quality browsing experience.
Finally, you should ensure that you’re only running plugins that you regularly need, as activating a large handful of plugins can easily result in slower loading times.
2. Streamline The Checkout Process
Even if your site is running at optimal speed and you’re able to provide a fluid shopping experience for your audience, you can easily have all of this work undone if your checkout process isn’t streamlined. And, this doesn’t have to do solely with how quickly your customers are able to complete their purchases.
First and foremost, you should always provide your audience with the opportunity to check out as a guest. Not everyone has the time or desire to create an account on your platform before they complete their transaction.
In fact, forcing your audience to create an account could easily result in them abandoning their purchase altogether. This is especially true if they aren’t automatically redirected back to where they left off after they create their account.
So, guest account functionality should be one of your top priorities when streamlining your checkout process.
Additionally, you should also strive to eliminate any unnecessary steps in the process. A ‘step’ could be thought of as each instance where the buyer has to load a different page. A typical sequence may look something like this:
- Click ‘Checkout
- Enter payment information
- Enter shipping information
- Review Order
- Complete order
This is a relatively straightforward checkout process, but it could be optimized further into this:
- Click ‘Checkout
- Enter payment information + shipping information
- Review order
- Complete order
Even taking one step out of the equation will increase the chances that your buyer goes through with their purchase.
To boost this chance even further, incorporate as many payment options as you can in order to accommodate the broadest range of buyers. This means PayPal, multiple credit card providers, bank accounts, etc. should all be supported.
3. Maintain a Professional Checkout Appearance
Integrating a simplified checkout process on your online store won’t mean much if your buyers aren’t convinced that it’s safe to use. In fact, a large number of would-be buyers abandon their carts due to a concern with the platform’s security.
One of the most efficient practices you can implement in this regard is a disclaimer that you don’t store customer data. This is especially effective for smaller companies that may not have the weight of a large brand name (such as Nike) behind them.
It’s also important to convey that payment data is properly encrypted to help protect against data breaches.
Having proper security is integral to reducing the total number of abandoned carts you experience. But, this doesn’t mean you should neglect the overall aesthetic of your checkout process.
Your forms should be simple and clean, and the checkout interface itself should be free of clutter or distractions. After all, it doesn’t make sense to take someone’s attention away from completing a purchase— no matter what the reason may be.
Since mobile transactions account for nearly 50% of online purchases, it’s also imperative that you optimize your store’s formatting on mobile devices. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing out on nearly half of your potential sales.
4. Send Email Follow-ups for Abandoned Carts
One of the most common mistakes the entrepreneurs make involving abandoned online carts is foregoing the opportunity to follow up with potential customers once they’ve stepped away from the checkout process. Fortunately, clever email marketing is one of the best ways that you can help spark interest in finishing their transaction.
It all starts with the headline— even the best email content in the industry won’t do you much good if nobody’s opening the messages you send them.
As a general rule of thumb, you should strive to keep your headline brief while instilling the desire to learn more. A particularly effective one could be ‘____ is still in your cart— there are only 3 left in stock.’
Not only is this a friendly reminder that their purchase is still incomplete, but it also creates a sense of urgency that’s likely to lead them to click on the email.
Once they do open it, it’s a common practice to offer them some sort of discount (or perhaps a free item). A clothing brand, for example, could offer a free pair of socks to a customer who’s almost done with the transaction they started. This has a notably high chance of nudging them in the right direction.
Don’t be afraid to send more than one follow-up email, either. It’s not unlikely for your first message to get lost in the clutter of the average email inbox— especially with an email address that people typically use to make online purchases.
But, this doesn’t mean you should send follow-up emails indefinitely. Sending two or three total is often appropriate, with the last message letting them know that the item may be removed from their cart due to inactivity.
5. Keep Product Info Accessible Throughout the Process
It’s notably easy for people to forget the product details of the purchase they’re about to make. This may lead to them navigating away from the checkout interface and returning to the product page so that they can learn more.
Whenever your audience leaves this interface for any reason, the overall likelihood of them finishing their transaction decreases. Instead, you’ll want to keep your product info as accessible as possible while they’re checking out.
One of the best ways to do so is to incorporate functionality that allows users to hover over their products to learn more. Doing so should enlarge the product image, provide a description, ratings, etc.
The more information you offer in this way, the less of a need your audience will have to leave the checkout interface.
If they do need to revisit your store, make sure it’s conveyed they have items in their cart. A simple pop-up menu that says something like ‘click here when you’re ready to complete your purchase’ can go a long way.
Afterward, they’ll be able to browse and then navigate back to checkout without any difficulty.
Minimizing Shopping Cart Abandonment Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about how to reduce the chances of shopping cart abandonment in mind, you’ll be well on your way toward making the decisions that are best for you and your company.