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5 Reasons for Abandoned Carts and What to do about Them

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    Meiring de Wet

5 Reasons for Checkout Abandonment and What to do about Them

Picture this: You’re an excited entrepreneur. You log in to do some work in the morning and the first thing you check is the sales. Oh no, what’s that? Abandoned carts. Sales that didn’t make it all the way to the end. But, why aren’t these lovely people completing their sales? Is it your product? Did they change their mind because they found something better halfway through checkout?

Disappointment sets in, especially when you see a few abandoned sales. Your pride takes a knock when it happens daily and you start to wonder what you’ve done wrong that your potential customers aren’t completing their checkout and payment.

But fear not, it’s not you. You’re great!

Shopping cart abandonment is a very important metric to track for the success of your business but it’s also a complex problem to solve. Actively optimising the checkout process and flow will decrease the rate of shopping cart abandonment. As a result, you’ll see more sales and revenue.

Start at the beginning

First, you must know how to calculate the shopping cart abandonment rate and that is by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the total number of transactions that were initiated. From this, you’ll be able to see the percentage of sales purchases that were not completed.

Now, there are a myriad of reasons why customers will not complete checkout. You should look at your analytics, perhaps send out a customer survey to identify pain points in the customer purchase journey on your site and conduct further critical research to identify the primary reasons for shopping cart abandonment.

Reason 1: Checkout is confusing

A 2020 e-commerce report showed that 21% of people who abandoned their shopping cart, did so because they found the checkout process too confusing.

If you’ve done some online shopping yourself, you know it’s not fun to deal with a process that is convoluted, has too many steps or isn’t simple enough to understand. It may even be a case of the information on the sales page not matching the information in the checkout process. Perhaps it’s the checkout upsell that is off putting.

Any of these situations would lead to mistrust and frustration for the customer. You can secure your sales by making sure the checkout process is clear, concise and there’s enough information available at each step to guide the customer.

Reason 2: Payment failure

Shopping carts are also listed as abandoned when payments fail. Payments may fail if information is entered incorrectly or if the shopper needs to also log into a banking app on their phone to confirm their transaction but they weren’t aware of this requirement when checkout started. Some shoppers may persist and give it another go after payment fails the first time but most will not.

Now, payment failures aren’t necessarily your fault. The customer may have insufficient funds or they might be entering a single incorrect digit in their account details. What can aid the situation is to ensure your checkout error messages are clear and state that it is a payment problem. It’s also a good idea to offer alternative payment options so the shopper knows they can still complete the purchase in another way.

Reason 3: Unexpected costs

Did you know 51% of people who abandon their shopping carts do so because of unexpected costs? In this specific report, those costs were delivery charges but things like a joining fee or perhaps the price listed on your site was without tax and other charges. It’s also unpleasant for the customer to reach the checkout and discover the payment terms are unclear.

When your costs and pricing aren’t clearly laid out, the customer may feel they weren’t given all the information to make a confident purchase. Perhaps the total cost is greater than what they initially thought they’d spend. What can remedy this situation is clearly stating prices and costs either on the sales page or a dedicated shipping information page. It’s also worthwhile to list tax, shipping or other costs on the checkout page in a clear format that the customer can easily understand.

To keep customers in the purchase process, consider offering special discounts for first time buyers or coupon codes.

Reason 4: Just browsing

One of the great things about online purchases is that a customer can browse as much as they want without ever leaving the comfort of their home. Some do start the purchase process as a test or out of interest but have no intention of completing the purchase.

In other situations, they may be browsing and building intent to purchase but their time on your website was cut short because their phone rang, they remembered an appointment or their device unexpectedly shut down.

While there is much of the customer’s behaviour you can’t control, what you can do is entice them beyond just browsing. Even if their device shuts down or they get distracted by a work email, they may come back if they see something that solidifies their intent to buy.

A limited time offer might be exactly the motivation they need to complete the purchase, even if they were browsing with no intent initially to buy.

You can also create a follow-up email that encourages another visit to your site at a later time to complete the purchase they initiated.

Reason 5: Technical problems

Technology is not immune to glitches. What can dissuade a potential shopper from a sale is if your website takes too long to load or doesn’t load at all, too many error messages on the site, broken images and difficulty connecting to the payment platform.

Now, while this could be a bandwidth issue on the customer’s side, it is your responsibility to thoroughly check your website and optimise it for sales.

Perhaps have a few trusted people go through the site in various locations and let you know of any problems but also do tests as well as check your analytics regularly. Review the code on your checkout page to ensure it doesn’t lag.

Strategy stat!

Many of the reasons why shopping carts are abandoned can be prevented and those that can’t be prevented can be salvaged. This is why you should have a strong cart abandonment strategy in place including abandoned cart emails or even ad retargeting for customers who leave their shopping before completing payment, as a gentle reminder of why your site and your products are worth the purchase.

Time is money and, by addressing this all important part of your sales funnel, you can increase your site’s conversion rate, secure more sales and grow your revenue.

With a little bit of focus and effort on this area of your business operation, you can reap the rewards and keep your customers coming back for more happy shopping experiences.

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