An ePublication from Ecommerce Partners

Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment

By | January 31, 2011 11:18 am

If your business is only converting 1 or 2% of its online shoppers, you are not alone. On average, 98% of people who visit a website will not make a purchase. However, the more shocking statistic involves people who initiate the checkout process – two out of 3 online shoppers will put an item into the cart but exit the website before completing the purchase. This is known as shopping cart abandonment. Luckily, there are ways to optimize the checkout process to reduce abandonment and significantly increase conversion.

Cart abandonment may happen for a variety of reasons including a confusing checkout process, unexpectedly high shipping charges or poor cart design. A study held by Forrester predicted these five factors to be the primary reasons behind shopping cart abandonment:

1. High shipping costs
2. Not ready to purchase
3. Price checking
4. Price too high
5. Wanted to save products for later

Image Source: Forrester

Image Source: Forrester

Top Tips to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Use the above list as a guide to take inventory on the holes in your website’s checkout process. If you’re new to the world of ecommerce optimization, then a good first step would be to install Google Analytics and set up a few goals and funnels – a simple way to track the path of a user across your website until they complete the action you wish for them to take. In the case of an ecommerce website, that action is typically to complete a transaction.

To isolate the problems within your online store, engage in multivariate testing to compare different design and navigational elements in terms of how they increase or decrease conversion. Start with a simple A/B comparison. You may hypothesize that conversion will increase if you promote a free shipping offer prior to checkout. So, using a tool like Google Website Optimizer to minimize development time, you would present version A to some of your users, and version B to others. At the end of the test, you’ll know which direction to take.

Browsing or “shopping around” is common in bricks-and-mortar stores – a would-be customer picks up an item, trails it around the store for a little while and eventually places it down on a random shelf before exiting empty-handed. A store manager may turn these browsers into shoppers by strategically putting more sales associates on the floor to assist people throughout the shopping experience and walk them over to the checkout counter to complete the purchase. On an e-commerce website, you may offer live help or optimize your product pages to facilitate adding items to the shopping cart (e.g. making the buy-button large and easy to find). Once the item is in the cart, try some of these techniques to get the user to complete the transaction without abandoning the process:

  • Communicate price and value clearly before checkout. Your shopper should not be surprised by the final price with tax, shipping and other charges included.
  • Align yourself with trusted brands and organizations and present their badges, seals and buttons to the user. You might display a trusted seal about the security of your checkout process in terms of collecting credit card information.
  • Offer one-step checkout with options for a one-click payment option from a trusted source, such as Paypal or Google Checkout.
  • Avoid giving the user too many choices to confuse the process. If you do offer multiple checkout options, make sure that the preferred method stands out from the other options. Consider doing the same for shipping options.
  • Offer guest-checkout to allow shoppers to complete a transaction without filling out a mandatory registration form.
  • Offer free shipping incentives, or flat-rate shipping to avoid shocking a potential buyer out of the sale. Be sure to test different scenarios to find the highest conversion at the lowest cost to you. If you achieve the same results with $5 flat rate shipping vs. $10, then it may make sense to go with the higher amount.
  • Keep current by revisiting your shopping cart interface often to perform routine quality assurance checks. If there is a step in the process that could be removed or combined with another, make the necessary changes to reduce the amount of time a shopper must spend during checkout.
  • If the user does not complete his or her order, then save the items in the cart in case the customer decides to return to the website. Also consider ways to bring the customer back to the website such as collecting their email addresses and sending a reminder to complete the order in a few days, or retargeted advertising.

These tips should put you ahead of most online merchants. As you start implementing these techniques, more ideas will open up and you’ll discover new ways to promote your products and increase conversion.

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About Ecommerce Partners:

Founded in 1998, ECommerce Partners is a full-service, ecommerce and interactive agency headquartered in New York City. Best known for our unique process methodology, we combine Internet expertise, creative talent, and business know-how to help clients across a variety of industries achieve rapid, measurable online marketing results.

True to our motto, "We build businesses, not just websites," we provide large and mid-sized companies with a full range of Internet marketing, website design and ecommerce solutions geared to maximize online revenues.



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