How to reduce shopping cart abandonment (Article 1 of 3)

Today’s online shoppers are savvy. They shop around and compare prices and online shopping experiences. From the initial product cost to delivery cost, everything is factored in the final online shopping decision. Sometimes your customers are in the process of checking out and somehow they get distracted, they start having doubts or stumble upon another website with cheaper products. The result is that they leave the site and thus abandon their carts.

Interesting cart abandonment statistics:

84% of visitors abandon their shopping carts and are more likely to research online to find the best prices.

44% of visitors abandon their cart due to high shipping costs and 22% of potential customers do not go through with their purchase as the supplier did not clearly mention shipping costs.

shopping-bag-icon-ecommerce-blog24% of people want to save products in their cart for later consideration.

14% of shoppers abandon their cart as there is no guest checkout option.

12% of shoppers abandon their cart if they don’t have sufficient product information.

11% of visitors abandon their cart due to the complexity of the checkout process.

2.13% is the Average Online Conversion Rate.

Source: Website Optimisation company 2012

Shopping cart abandonment remains a major eCommerce concern. A website with superior online experience has inbuilt features that facilitate customers’ buying process and help them to ultimately make a purchase decision. In this series of three articles, I will outline some tips and hints that can help significantly lower shopping cart abandonment rates.

Optimise your shopping cart and checkout pages (Article 1 of 3)

1. Offer Guest checkout – Don’t force customers to register to your website in order to checkout. Adding an additional step can increase the amount of customers that abandon their carts.

Jared M.Spool, CEO of the User interface engineering conducted a research on this topic, which shows that 75% of people who were forced to register never tried to purchase. After forced registration was removed customer purchases increased by 45%.

There are circumstances where customer registration may be required due to the nature of the business. In such cases it is suggested to reduce the amount of mandatory registration fields to a minimum. 42% of online users find online registration forms too long and that they ask too many questions. (Janrain, Inc. 2012)

2. Allow customers to save their cart and let them know that you will be storing their items for later.

3. Do not hide shipping costs. Ideally you estimate shipping costs early or otherwise try to offer free shipping or flat shipping. Also make sure that the shipping costs are clearly visible.

44% of shoppers abandon their shopping carts when they find high shipping charges at checkout. (Forrester study, 2012)

93% of online buyers are encouraged to buy more products if free shipping is included (Compete, 2011)

Another way to cater for shipping or tax charges is to offer a shipping and tax estimator in the shopping cart page. This will prevent customers from discovering any unforeseen additional charges.


Hint: People love having a ‘free shipping’ option.

For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer USD 6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by USD 10”, David Bell, Wharton School of business.

4. Allow your customers to view warranty and returns information upfront. Make sure that the returns and delivery information are easily accessible by your customers.

5. Provide different payment options such as PayPal, Google checkout and cheque. Allowing your customers to choose their preferred payment options decreases shopping cart abandonment rates. Walmart Representative Cynthia Lin stated that cheque payments allowed them to reach new customers. (Henneberry, 2012)

6. Provide a phone contact and a Live chat feature in your site. Sometimes customers have a simple question they want answered before they check out. Having an online sales person can help to alleviate customers concerns and provide that much needed sales person contact that can encourage the customers to make an online purchase decision.

7. Use messages that create urgency for the customers to checkout. It is also important to highlight discounts and products on sale.


8. Use promotion codes and give your customers the option to subscribe to your website in order to get these coupon codes. The promotional code section in the shopping cart is also an excellent opportunity to encourage your customers to subscribe to the newsletters in order to get more promotional codes.

Hint: Do not display the coupon code late in the checkout process. Ideally the coupon code section is displayed in the shopping cart page.


9. Progress indicator in the checkout page. Customers like knowing where they are in the buying process and switch between processes.

10. Checkout summary – A checkout summary will allow customers to view what they have selected in previous steps and allow them to edit different checkout stages.

11. The most important buttons in the shopping cart page and checkout page are the call to actions buttons such as the ‘Checkout’ or the ‘Continue’ buttons. These buttons should have a different colour scheme and design then the other buttons.

For an overview of tips and hints you can use on your eCommerce website, have a look at this downloadable shopping cart abandonment map.

Keep a look out on the blog for the coming weeks, as I will also publish two other articles discussing ways to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates!