4 Keys to Combating Shopping Cart Abandonment
For online retailers, shopping cart abandonment has long been a nagging problem, frustrating efforts to convert shoppers despite big investments in improving their online customer experience.
But while the problem is hardly new, it has become particularly acute amid the coronavirus pandemic. From the onset of the pandemic through mid-June, shoppers’ cart abandonment rate stood at 94.4 percent, compared to 85.1 percent during the same period in 2019. What explains the uptick? One possibility is that with fewer people visiting brick-and-mortar stores, adding items to an online shopping cart may be seen as less of a commitment and more of a new, socially distanced form of window shopping.
In a recent survey of U.K. shoppers, 38 percent said they now abandon a cart at least once a week — and although the ongoing shift to e-commerce means that more low-intent shoppers are visiting sites, the importance of e-commerce sales in the era of COVID-19 makes it crucial for brands to bring abandonment rates down and convert more customers, even those who may have arrived initially only to virtually window shop.
The clearest path to reducing cart abandonment and boosting profitability runs through eliminating friction points in the online customer journey and presenting individualized offers that inspire browsers to convert. Here are a few key ways retailers can navigate that course:
1. Incentivize customers at key junctions of the journey.
According to a Harris Poll survey of consumers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, 63 percent now expect personalized and special offers when they shop. To meet those expectations, retailers have been making sizable investments in personalization technology, hoping to win more customers with customized engagements. But where and when retailers practice personalization is no less important than whether they do in the first place.
Tailored, timely offers are at the heart of personalization, and for those offers to generate a high return on investment, they must be delivered at the most critical moments along the customer journey — leading up to checkout or even during the checkout process. Relevant product pairings, discounts on additional purchases, and other incentives can help boost the chances of conversion. To be effective, these incentives can’t feel like mere upsells; they must be relevant and valuable to the consumer. Therefore, robust data analytics capabilities that can intelligently anticipate consumer intent are crucial.
2. Eliminate competitor ads.
One common but little-known reason for cart abandonment is customer journey hijacking, whereby visitor sessions are diverted from a retailer’s site to a competitor site by unauthorized ads injected into consumer browsers. Namogoo research finds that in 15 percent to 25 percent of online shopping sessions, the shopper will be exposed to unauthorized ads, and that conversion rates can jump between 1.5 percent to as much as 5 percent once they're eliminated.
What makes customer journey hijacking especially aggravating is that it’s targeted towards customers who are most likely to convert — i.e., return customers and those who have made it to checkout. The 15 percent to 25 percent of customers whose journeys are hijacked are therefore valuable, high-intent customers. Data shows that when blocking unauthorized ads for these customers, they convert at over 2.5 times the rate. By taking action to block unauthorized ads, retailers can retain these high-converting customers and protect hard-won revenue at a time when margins are tight and every dollar counts.
3. Optimize interface across platforms — especially mobile.
Mobile e-commerce traffic has surged in recent years, climbing from about 15 percent in 2012 to 65 percent today. Any e-commerce experience that isn’t mobile optimized is therefore inadequate.
Whether via mobile-optimized website or app, retailers must put their best foot forward to meet customers where they are. For casual or impatient shoppers, there’s already a very low tolerance for disruptions or bugs of any kind, which can quickly lead such shoppers to terminate their sessions and take their business elsewhere. A key advantage of using an app is that they enable consumers to save their personal details easily, so checkout and payment are swift, reducing the likelihood that shoppers will abandon their carts out of frustration.
4. Ensure transaction clarity and user friendliness from start to finish.
For the consumer who simply wants a smooth journey to purchase, there’s nothing more irksome than carefully selecting one’s merchandise, getting to the checkout stage, and only then discovering unexpected obstacles — e.g., surprise fees, account logins, delayed deliveries, and so on.
One way to mitigate the possibility that a customer will leave their purchases behind is to make costs clear throughout the entire customer journey. You can do this by having a total cart cost icon on the top of the site as items are added, for instance. This real-time tabulation reduces the chances of sticker shock at checkout.
A quick one-page cart that minimizes customer hurdles can go a long way towards ensuring a shopper goes through with a purchase, as can a user-friendly way for them to save their personal details and a straightforward, secure payments process. More than a quarter of U.K. consumers report abandoning their carts because they can’t remember their login details, while three-quarters will leave their carts behind if they don’t feel they can trust the payment process, highlighting the importance of checkout ease and functionality.
While shopping cart abandonment will always be part of e-commerce, the current high rates aren’t a given. With meticulous attention to each stage of the customer journey, retailers can keep shoppers on-site and on track to complete their purchases. By creating seamless journeys for shoppers, retailers can turn interest into commitment, bringing long-term benefits in customer loyalty and the bottom line.
Chemi Katz is the CEO and co-founder of Namogoo, a customer journey hijacking prevention platform that wins back stolen online revenue by blocking unauthorized ads that are diverting your customers.
Chemi Katz is the co-founder and CEO of Namogoo, the world's first Digital Journey Continuity platform, helping over 1,000 unstoppable brands shape their customer journeys to fit each and every shopper's needs.
With over 17 years of experience in the security, commerce and advertising spaces, Chemi is a serial entrepreneur with a track record of leading some of the tech industry’s most innovative companies. Prior to co-founding Namogoo, Chemi was General Manager of DoubleVerify Israel and co-founded Seapai and Reissod. Earlier in his career, Chemi led Production Operations at LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN), was Global Business Technology Manager for Aladdin and managed IT Outsourcing for Bynet.