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What is cart abandonment rate and what can you do to to decrease it?

March 2, 2022

Cart abandonment is kryptonite for merchants. According to research, around £18bn of sales are lost to shoppers dropping off at the final shopping stage each year. These are some sobering facts. But fortunately, you don’t need to let cart abandonment beat your business, and there are ways to convert more website visitors into fully-paying customers. Here, we look at cart abandonment rates and what you can do to decrease them.

What is cart abandonment rate?

When online shoppers add items to their virtual shopping cart but then abandon it before completing a purchase, it’s known as cart abandonment. And the rate is a percentage of how many times it happens. 

There are varying statistics for cart abandonment rates, but you can place it somewhere just below 70%. That means almost three-quarters of people adding items to a cart won’t complete their purchase. 

Now, before you paint a picture of doom and gloom, it’s not all bad news. There are several actions you can take to reduce cart abandonment and get more customers to convert at checkout. Below, we’ve pulled together some tips to help reduce drop-offs at checkout.

How to decrease checkout drop-offs:

1) Offer flexible payments

One of the best ways to combat cart abandonment and increase the number of shoppers converting at checkout involves offering flexible payments. A growing number of consumers now look for alternatives from traditional credit and debit card options, with methods like buy now, pay later (BNPL) becoming an increasingly popular choice – especially with younger demographics. 

Flexible payments give consumers more freedom to split the cost of purchases, manage their finances responsibly and pay at their own pace. If you integrate alternative payment options into your checkout experience, you can expect an uptick in people completing their purchases. 

Whether it’s a form of BNPL or monthly digital credit, how we pay for items is becoming increasingly digitised, and it’s giving people more control and confidence over their finances. Not only can you expect more conversions at checkout, but flexible finance also leads to more loyalty from customers and higher average order values.

2) Have clear calls to action on your website

There’s no point in having a speedy website with high-performance levels if shoppers don’t know how to navigate it. Having clear calls to action after shoppers add items to their carts gives them a direct route to finalising their payment. 

Your website communication is key to converting business, from making it clear they’ve added items to their cart to providing a strong call to action. At times, it can seem like a lot is happening on a webpage, and if customers find the UX confusing, they’re more likely to drop off at a critical stage in the checkout journey.

3) Display the total cost

Some websites try to rope you in, showing only an item cost without delivery or even prices without the tax added in some scenarios. While it’s understandable that you don’t want to put people off with the ‘true cost’, you’re only going to frustrate them when they get through to the checkout, only to see that an item is more expensive than anticipated. 

Where possible, show the entire cost from the minute an item is added to the cart. It’s easy enough to display delivery and other charges on product pages, and doing so will show that you’re transparent and help build shoppers’ confidence in you.

4) Show cart reminders

There’s a fine line between nudging a customer in the right direction with a purchase reminder and spamming them with alerts to buy an item at checkout. Yet there are times when shoppers may have doubts as they go through the checkout stage, so it’s important to show them a cart reminder. 

Displaying the cart summary in a non-intrusive way throughout the shoppers’ journey helps them see that an order is still alive. As a result, it will be in their mind the entire time they’re on your site, acting as a reminder that they put it in the cart for a reason.

5) Don’t forget about Google Analytics

Understanding how people interact with your website is a great way to sell more. Using tools like Google Analytics lets you track abandonment rates and see where customers drop off in their journey. 

You can use the data to identify patterns and try to change customer behaviour. You can examine aspects like behavioural differences between device use and the time customers spend on specific pages. All of these actions give you more insight into customer mindsets, and you can use the information to craft a better experience for them.

6) Offer to save cart items and send reminder emails

There’s no point trying to pressure sell – sometimes shoppers just aren’t ready to commit. Instead of losing a potential sale, however, you can offer to save items to their cart for a specific time period. Doing so shows that you’re thinking about them and want them to get the best experience from your site. 

Use email campaigns to follow up, reminding customers they have items in your cart. Show them the next steps needed to checkout and let them know that you will hold onto an item until they need it. This can help build trust, as shoppers won’t feel like you’re going for the hard sell. And customer loyalty can result in improved checkout conversions and repeat business.

Summary: Beat the drop-off

Every retailer is continuously trying to find ways to combat checkout abandonment, but it is possible to reduce the drop-off numbers and enjoy more sales. From flexible payments to an intuitive website design, there are many routes to reducing cart abandonment rates and getting your customers converting.