If you are running or want to run any kind of eCommerce store, cart abandonment is definitely something you will have to consider. Indeed, some studies showed that up to 90% of carts are abandoned in online businesses. That means that you are loosing 9 persons out of 10 that could have been potential customers. In this article, I'll tell you exactly what you can do to not only avoid cart abandonment but also how to recapture those lost sales after someone leaves your site.

Why Shoppers are Abandoning Carts

Let's first see why your visitors actually abandon their carts, which will be a good base to later think about what we can do to prevent that from happening.

A study that was made amongst many eCommerce store owners showed that the number one reason for cart abandonment was that the price showed at checkout was too high. Then, you have other reasons, like:

  • Lack of trust for the online store
  • Not being on the right device, for example shopping from mobile on a not mobile-friendly store
  • Waiting too long for the pages to load
  • People that are 'just browsing' and comparing prices with other stores
  • People that wanted to buy but were interrupted by their daily lives

Now that we know the causes of the problem, let's see how to actually come up with a solution for each of those issues.

Avoid Any Surprises at Checkout

The first cause of people abandoning their carts is that they got a surprise in terms of price at some point when going from the product page to the cart or checkout page.

To fix this issue, first clearly display the final price they will pay right on the product page. If you are in a country where some sales tax (VAT in Europe for example) should be applied, show that directly on your product page.

Also, if you don't offer free shipping, give them a shipping estimate right above the add to cart button. Amazon does a very good job at this, for example, showing right on the product page what you will have to pay at the end.

If your shipping is more complex than that, at least put some shipping fees calculator/estimator on your shopping cart page. This will allow them to clearly understand what they will have to pay during checkout.

Have a Mobile Friendly Website

In 2017, the worldwide web traffic coming from mobile reached the 50% mark, and it has been growing ever since. Yet, I am still amazed to see how many stores still don't offer a decent mobile experience to visitors. And believe me, if someone doesn't see a mobile-friendly checkout page on their mobile, they'll just leave right away.

The solution to that is to have a website that is responsive, meaning can adapt to all sizes of screens, from a mobile phone to a large desktop screen. SiteEngine, for example, comes a mobile-first page design, meaning that all the pages you will generate with it are responsive and will adapt perfectly on mobile, tablets, and desktop computers.

Also, think about the checkout experience itself: it should be really easy for your visitors to check out on mobile. For example, your checkout page doesn't have too many steps and include information autofill so they don't have to enter everything by hand. That's something you will find inside SiteEngine, with great mobile-friendly checkout pages templates with even Paypal Express, Apple Pay & Google Pay integration so your visitors can just buy in a single touch. 

Choose a Fast & Powerful Platform for Your Store

Another important reason why people just leave and abandon their cart is that some websites take way too long to load. Ever put stuff in a shopping cart, clicked on checkout, and then had to wait for more than 10 seconds for the checkout page to load? Super annoying, and you probably just left the site.

That's why is so important to choose the right platform to power your online store. I'll get a bit technical here, but most online store platforms load all their pages dynamically, meaning that the browser of the person visiting the site is doing most of the work. This can lead to pages that load very slowly, especially if on older computers and if their connection is not great.

Well, SiteEngine doesn't work this way. Whenever someone loads a page hosted by SiteEngine, for example, a checkout page, the page was already pre-rendered on the server side and is immediately served to the visitor. There is only a minimal amount of processing done on the page, for example loading the products that are in the visitor's cart. Technical details aside, this means that we can achieve sub-second loading times, even with pages with dynamic content like cart or checkout pages. 

Increase Trust on the Checkout Page

Trust plays an important factor in your whole online business, from lead generation to actual sales, so it's of course very important for the checkout step to have trust from your visitors and avoid cart abandonment.

Let's start with the basics: there just no way those days to have a website that is not served over HTTPS (you know, the little lock on the left of the URL). This can be done with any platform or host, and I recommend to use Cloudflare to have a free SSL certificate for your website & serve it over HTTPS.

Also, make sure to have trust logos on your checkout page. For example, have the logos of the type of credit cards that you accept, and also the Paypal logo if that's one of the payment methods you have on your store.

Social proof is also very important to build trust, and you should also have some pieces of it right on your checkout page. I like for example to just have one testimonial from a previous customer of this product displayed on the checkout page. SiteEngine for example has this included in our checkout templates, and load the best testimonials dynamically to be displayed on your checkout page, depending on your visitor's cart.

Something that is also very effective is to show your visitors that other people bought this product recently. SiteEngine can help you do that by displaying a little activity card on the bottom of your pages, for example with the message "Somebody just bought the product ...". This shows visitors that someone else trusted you just recently, increasing their own trust for your store and making them more likely to go through the checkout process.

Have a Checkout Exit Intent Popup

Let's talk about one last on-site strategy: having an exit intent popup on your checkout pages. This is simply a popup that you can show if someone on your checkout page is either taking too long to enter their payment information, want to navigate away, or both.

What I usually do with this popup is just ask if they need help to complete the checkout. If they click on yes, it will, for example, direct them to our live chat so someone can answer their questions. More than often this is enough to close the sale as they can have some last minute questions, for example about the shipping process. You can also offer a discount on this popup, which can help if they hesitate because they think the price is too high.

Build a Cart Abandonment Sequence

All the previous strategies were about not making your visitors leave and actually get the sale while they are still on your site. Even if they work well, some of your visitors will still leave and abandon their cart. Let's see what we can do for those.

The first of those strategies is to get in touch with them after they leave the site, for example via email. Most of the eCommerce solutions out there, like SiteEngine, can know the email associated with an abandoned cart. It can be because they were a lead before becoming a customer, or because they entered their emails during the checkout process and then left.

Once you have their email & the cart that was abandoned, you can then create an automated sequence of emails that will be sent to them. I, for example, use a 3 emails sequence in most of my online businesses, with the following emails:

  • One email going one hour after they created a cart but didn't purchase, with a link to their cart and also asking if everything was ok & if we can help
  • One email a day after the first one, with some testimonials about the product they wanted to buy, and another link to the cart
  • One last email one day after, saying it will be the last email about their order, and offering a discount if they finish the purchase

This seems quite complex, but it's actually very easy to set up inside SiteEngine, and if you even have pre-made templates of such abandonment sequences that you can just import in one click for your online store.

You can also use other channels to get in touch with people that abandoned carts, for example via Facebook Messenger or text messages (given that they actually provided you the right to message them on Messenger, or gave you their phone number). This is also really easy to do in SiteEngine, as it's just as easy as sending an email to someone, and you can actually easily build a multi-channel cart abandonment sequence.

Use Remarketing

All the strategies that I mentioned before are free, and just require you to take some time to implement them. However, as people that abandon cart are the closest of all your visitors to actually becoming customers, it is generally a good idea to invest some money to turn them into customers, by doing remarketing with ads. What I mean by that is using Facebook or Google Ads to show them ads inviting them to go back to your website to finalize their orders.

This can be by offering a discount for example or showing them some testimonials of previous customers. This can be very effective, as they sometimes just need a little bit of help to complete their purchases, and this will then completely pay off the money you will have to pay to show them those ads.

I hope that those 5 strategies were useful for you and that it will help you recapture those lost sales and therefore raise the profits of your online business. I really suggest you implement those strategies in your existing store or think about them when building a new eCommerce store. Of course, if you have any suggestions of other strategies feel free to share them in the comments!