Five Tactics To Decrease Cart Abandonment

by David Voorn
18 January 2016

tactics to decrease cart abandonment

According to a recent survey by UPS, a staggering 90% of online shoppers have abandoned a cart.

You’ve undoubtedly done it yourself. Who hasn’t happily added multiple items to their cart, only to be confronted with an unnecessarily difficult checkout process? Hard truth is, it doesn’t take much to quickly steer an online shopping experience into ‘too­hard­basket’ territory.

Here’s are some of the top reasons customers give up on the checkout process:

  • Shipping costs
  • Wanting to save the cart for later
  • Not wanting to register to purchase
  • Getting distracted or forgetting
  • Price research, i.e. not actually ready to buy.

Clearly, there’s much work to be done in the battle to curb basket abandonment.

Research suggests that being transparent about delivery costs is a good place to start, but outside of offering upfront (or dare we suggest, free) shipping fees, it’s your job to make the path to purchase a smooth and compelling journey for your customer. This means providing a checkout process with few clicks, and even fewer forms or fields to complete.

The good news? There are some simple things you can do anticipate your customer’s behaviour and add gentle nudges towards conversion every step of the way.

Here are four ways to get your carts to stick.

Play it cool

Did you know that nearly half of all emails sent once a customer has abandoned their cart are opened?

They’re pretty good odds – a clear sign that marketers should be looking to abandoned carts as an opportunity to reach out and make contact with customers directly.

But according to eConsultancy, sending an abandonment email immediately after your customer has left the site can be seriously off­putting.

Rather, sending a short series of emails (no more than three) geared towards customer service (technical problems, benefits of purchase, and clear call­to­actions) starting 20 minutes after the cart has been abandoned can help to boost open rates by up to 40%.

In their cart abandonment email, fashion retailer Ju­-Ju­-Be keeps it light and friendly ­ just the tone of voice you want when you’re trying to convince a customer to return to your site:

ju-ju-be abandonment email

The messaging is refreshingly uncluttered – instead of relying on flash graphics and call­to-action buttons, Ju­Ju­Be keep the focus on their benefits (free shipping + GWP + easy returns) and frame the email as a simple ‘check in’ rather than a hard sell.

A similarly straightforward follow­up email arrives 24hours later, and then that’s it:

ju-ju-be abandonment email

Email is a highly effective means of tempting would­be customers back to your site. The key to a successful follow­up is to capture your shopper’s email upfront – make it the first thing they have to do before they even starting to add things to their cart, so you have it ready to go.

Make it too easy

You know what makes a checkout process ridiculously simple? Good user experience (UX).

But according to Smashing Magazine, 50% of online checkout processes ask for the same information twice!

If your cart is messy with too many steps / things to do, is repetitive, or has limited payment options (like no PayPal), it’s time to shape­up and get it on point. Remember, every extra text field, button, or step, is a reason for your customers to give­up on you and go somewhere else.

The key to curbing cart abandonment here is to minimise the checkout process, while maximising your customer’s understanding of where they are and what they have to do at all times.

Curate a collection

Ecommerce stores like Birchbox have found the best way to compete with bigger, cheaper retailers is to create amazing product and brand experiences.

How? Product curation:


Birchbox have tapped into some serious return revenue by getting customers to pay for a rolling subscription service. Rather than having to go online, shop and pay for individual products, products are packaged up and sent out on a monthly basis direct to subscribers.

The genius here is that it’s actually more hassle for the customer to go online and complete the unsubscription process than it is for them to automatically pay the subscription each month. Cart abandonment? There isn’t even a cart to begin with.

Create an always­-on cart

Your conversion rates rely on how easy you make it for customers to access the cart itself.  Make sure your customers can see their cart the entire time, without having to click­off the page they’re on.

Use a simple design feature like a drop­down to display the cart contents every time a new item is added; customers need to be able to keep track of their purchases at a glance, so make the cart impossible to avoid.

By having the cart  ‘follow’ your customers around as they browse and shop, you’ll save them hassle by halving their shopping time, which makes for quicker, easier conversions.

Cut the hoop­la

Problems with checkout begin when data­hungry marketers make customers jump through hoop after hoop just to hand over their money. So much effort and optimisation goes into getting customers to the point of purchase; don’t let your checkout page/s be the thing that loses you the sale.

Fundamentally, ecommerce checkout should be a very simple process. When you apply that thinking by removing distractions, not forcing registrations or form­filling, making your cart summary clear at all times and your process quick, you’ll make it near­on impossible for your customers not to buy.

Your customers are shopping online right now. Is it with you?

We can help you create an amazing ecommerce experience. Learn more about Salmat's eCommerce offering here or call us on 1300 725 628.


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About the author
David Voorn
Production Manager – Customer Experience

David has over 15 years’ experience in digital media production and management. During this time he has been involved in digital marketing, social media, e-CRM, email marketing, content management, web design and audio production for websites, film, television and emerging media platforms. David lead the transformation and optimisation of NRMA’s digital marketing program consisting of a series of highly targeted digital publications including; Travel, Motoring, Youth, Online retail, Community, Franchise and B2B.

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