The Road to Checkout is Paved With Good Intentions — So Why is Abandonment So High?
Online retailers experienced an 88 percent global cart abandonment rate in 2020, according to Statista. So what’s driving this depressing statistic, and what can a retailer do about it?
You may want to consider partnering with a company that specializes in cart abandonment strategies like CartStack or Tone, or check out global payment platform offerings like those of BlueSnap to help make the checkout process easier for your customers.
But first, let’s see if you check the most important boxes.
Cart Abandonment and Checkout Abandonment
There are two critical challenges in the path to purchase that every retailer must contend with: shopping cart abandonment (which happens before a customer even makes it to checkout) and checkout abandonment (which is what goes wrong after the purchase decision is made because something in the checkout process is off-putting).
Let’s take a closer look.
Before They Even Get to the Cart
First impressions count, so evaluate your landing page with a critical eye. You want to make sure your shopper gets far enough to even put products in the shopping cart.
There's a need for speed. Check how fast your landing page loads. While speed is important to the entire site experience, if you have a slow-loading landing page, it’s usually game over.
Does your site automatically revert to the shopper’s local language? If shoppers can’t read your page, au revoir and adios. That’s just table stakes.
Next, whatever sets your brand apart from the competition (free shipping, great product selection, free delivery, etc.) should be obvious on the landing page.
So far so good?
The Next Step: The Shopping Cart
Let’s assume that your landing page performs nicely and your product offerings tempt your shopper. They start to put items in their cart and all is looking rosy.
And then the death knell — the high rate of cart abandonment. Why is this dogging so many online retailers?
There are actually many factors to consider. Some are out of your control — e.g., maybe the user got interrupted and left the computer or got pulled into a work project (although there’s remarketing for that!) — however, there are many things in your control.
- Personalization: Advanced personalization techniques can help retailers truly understand an individual shopper profile. For example, what first interested them and through which channels to best reach them. It’s critical to find the right combination of offers and messages to convince your shopper to make a purchase decision.
- Ability to “Feel” the Product: Seventy-one percent of consumers say they would shop more often if retailers used augmented reality (AR), and 40 percent would pay more. AR has a unique ability to communicate details about the look and feel of a product that traditional photos just can’t match, yet only 1 percent of retailers say they're using AR (Source: ThreeKit).
- Local Currency: Make sure you’re displaying local currency. How many of us have pondered over converting the euro to USD, or vice versa? That’s an extra step no one wants to take. Consider this: processing transactions in local currency can increase conversions up to 12 percent, according to BlueSnap.
- Price (and Coupons): Do you accept coupons, like those found through Honey or Cently? Many shoppers won’t buy without them.
- Sense of Urgency: Creating a sense of urgency or “FOMO” can help lower cart abandonment rates. Consider displaying how many items are left in stock, and update your product descriptions to include “Best Sellers” or “Customer Favorites.”
- Product Reviews: Reviews are a powerful tool for online retailers. A Spiegel Research Study suggests having at least five quality product reviews can increase the likelihood of purchase by 270 percent.
- Return Policy and Warranties: Most shoppers want to know that they can make a return, and just how easy that process is. Ensure you make it effortless for the shopper to find this information. In addition, providing warranty information is another way to instill customer confidence.
- Live Chat: Offering live chat services on your site is also a great way to boost consumer engagement and confidence. A recent study highlighted by HubSpot shows live chat is now one of the top three methods for communicating with shoppers. If your customer has a question before buying, you definitely want to make sure you can address it on the spot.
- Shipping Costs: Unexpected shipping costs are the No. 1 reason cited for cart abandonment, according to Statista. Whatever your shipping policy is — free, reduced or standard shipping — you should clearly communicate it to shoppers as early as possible. Doing so reduces the surprise factor at checkout.
- Remarketing: If a shopper was close to the finish line and then left, send them a reminder email with their cart contents and include a “Buy Now” button to make checkout easy.
Final Test: Checkout
Even if you’re disciplined in your approach to shopping cart retention, you’re still not out of the woods. The checkout process can be the make-or-break of the purchase decision. Consider these top reasons potential customers bail:
- Complicated Processes: Are there just too many steps or fields to fill out? For example, are you making shoppers enter their address multiple times to make a purchase? A progress bar can go a long way towards increasing your cart conversions. It lets your shopper know how far along they are and provides a visual cue of when their checkout process will be complete.
- No Guest Checkout: Be sure to offer guest checkout as a way to create a frictionless checkout experience. Not everyone wants to provide all their information and create a username and password.
- Limited Payment Choices: Another roadblock is limited payment choices. If digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, or alternative payment types including installment plans, aren’t available, people get frustrated. Installment plans allow shoppers to break up large payments into interest-free monthly or quarterly transactions. Eighty-seven percent of consumers aged 22-44 are interested in installment options for large purchases, and 85 percent would return to a retailer that offered it, according to ChargeAfter. Thirty-nine percent of consumers want these options to avoid paying credit card interest, and 38 percent because they want to buy something that falls outside of their monthly budget, according to The Motley Fool.
- Low Payment Confidence and Fraud: Security logos and badges at checkout instill consumer confidence that their payment source will be encrypted and protected. Without them, who knows how safe the transaction is? With that in mind, be sure to also have aggressive fraud rules and stay current with the latest fraud patterns to avoid false positives.
- Declined Payments: What if your shopper’s payment option was declined? It happens — credit cards expire or a customer forgets to replenish their checking account. Make sure they know there are other payment options available on your site.
The retail sites that succeed in combating shopping cart abandonment and checkout abandonment have one thing in common — a disciplined process. Of course, you can’t set and forget your battle with shopping cart abandonment and checkout abandonment. Both require a regular review of performance. Which email campaigns are converting? Are you A/B testing your offers? Is retargeting reaching the right shoppers and getting them to return? Is your cost per click costing too much? Are your payment options sufficient, or are your customers demanding new payment types?
It’s a jungle out there — don’t miss any opportunity to convert every last shopper into a customer.
Melanie Vala is the chief commercial officer at Splitit, a card-based installment payment solutions provider.
Related story: Payments in 2021: What Lies Ahead After the Digital Boom