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Reduce Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

If you imagine your online space as a large shop, you can see customers coming in and having a browse. When somebody leaves without buying, you don’t panic because that’s what browsing is. You know you can rearrange the floor or put up more signs to try to entice them to buy.

Now imagine the checkout area. There are five customers, each with a number of products in their basket. Some are spending a lot, some only a little. But it’s all income and each person represents a potential repeat customer.

From your seat above the store, you watch four people dump their baskets and leave right before they get to the checkout. Alarmed? You should be.

2016 statistics revealed that over 77% of filled baskets are abandoned before the customer pays. And, as this Barilliance chart shows, it is a problem across platforms.

And, as this Barilliance chart shows, cart abandonment is a problem across platforms.

The research suggests that most e-commerce sites have little issue getting people to come to the site or think about purchasing, but they have a major issue with converting those people into sales.

How can your business stop people throwing their products back?

Know What You Can Convert

We all know that 100% conversion would be brilliant. But we also know that it’s never going to happen. So, where should you set your sights? What is a good conversion rate?

This 2016 Statista graph shows the average conversion rates of worldwide shoppers.

This 2016 Statista graph shows the average conversion rates of worldwide shoppers.

According to Khalid Saleh of InvespCro, it is important to understand the types of conversion and, crucially, whether you could convert the visit into a sale in the first place.

“It varies. What’s great for one industry might be below par for another.

“One multi-billion dollar company I once worked with had conversion rates of 41% for first time visitors. And they still wanted more.

“The key is to understand the average e-commerce conversion rate and benchmark your performance against it. Once you know whether you are meeting the average for your industry, you can work to improve conversion rates until you’re in the top 10 percentile of performers.”

He adds:

“Think about your own website and consider the type of browsing vs. buying of your average consumer. If you know that visitors tend to use your website for research but do not convert online, what can you do to convert more visitors into buyers?”

It is important then, to know what a good conversion rate for your business is and aim to get there.

Study your analytics before you do anything. Where is your conversion rate? What do you want to do? Think about conversion as a measure of success for your business, but it is not an arbitrary number. Do you want to double your online sales? Then double your conversion rate.

Why should you be getting this right? 2018 eCommerce sales are projected to be around $2.4 trillion, for a start.

Get Your Funnels Right

To start to understand what we can turn into sales, it is important to know why people abandon baskets in the first place.

According to Kissmetrics, these reasons range from shipping to research.

Why do people abandon online shopping carts.

While you may not always have a chance to ask customers why they are leaving – and exit surveys aren’t always a good idea – you can look to research to understand why.

Simple changes to how your site is presented can stop people leaving their carts. One obvious one is to show the final price that the customer pays when the product gets added to the cart. People don’t like being surprised by massive price additions like shipping and handling.

If you present the price early, customers will be more prepared to spend that money.

Conversely, you can turn this into an opportunity.

Offering free shipping to people who sign up as members or giving rewards points that can be redeemed against shipping costs can make customers more loyal, drive email signups and be a pleasant user experience.

Think about these barriers and what you can do to break them down.

This logic is key to getting your funnels right.

Basically put, a funnel is a process that any visitor takes from seeing your product to buying it. This could come from Facebook ads, organic search or inbound marketing.

A guiding principle in this area is: keep the process as simple as possible. Amazon is an e-commerce behemoth and is known for one-click ordering. Once a customer is signed in, they can enable their account to accept orders in the drop of a finger.

Why then, does your site ask for their mother’s maiden name when they want to buy a t-shirt?

As Demi Oba of Smile says:

“A long or complicated checkout/account creation process is one of the top causes for customers abandoning their shopping carts, and for good reason too! A difficult online checkout leaves a customer wishing they could just drive to the store, pay for a product and move on with their day.”

Examine the steps your customers have to go through to buy your product from all angles and ask yourself: would I go to the hassle of shopping here?

​Companies Who Are Winning – And Why

When you think of the places that you spend money online, you will probably find that they have good funnels in common.

Here are some who are doing it right:


The entertainment giant’s login screen is simple. It focuses on risk reversal and simplicity and has a clear call to action.

Clear call to action on Netflix website.

The entertainment giant’s login screen is simple. It focuses on risk reversal and simplicity and has a clear call to action.

Netflix call to action example.

Again, the free trial is emphasized and the call to action is clear. No unnecessary information is given. The page is clear and concise.

Netflix has clear call to action on their site.

The plans page automatically highlights the premium package. This choice architecture is clever because it knows that most people will assume that the pre-picked choice is best, even if it is most expensive.

The customer is then asked for an email address and password – the first time they are asked to do more than click.


The payment page, the last step, is then clear, hammers home the no-risk nature of signing up one last time and the process is then complete.

Note how little Netflix asks its potential customers to do. Since 2010, it has grown users from fewer than 20 million to 110 million.

Crazy Egg

Website optimization site Crazy Egg has doubled its conversions and revenue every year and this funnel is a big part of it. It is another example of simplicity as beauty.

Crazy egg clear call to action.

CrazyEgg originates traffic from referrals, its blog and promotions. At the base of their blog entries is a sign up for a free 30-day trial. To gain access to the homepage, you have to supply an email address.

The user is then taken to the pricing page. Note how, like Netflix, a more expensive option is the default. However, in this case, it looks like a bargain net to the Pro option. These simple choices can turn a €5 sale into an €8 one.

30 day trial

Next comes a sign up for the 30-day trial – which again highlights the lack of risk on the user’s part. But again, the billing form is the bare minimum. Nothing but card details and address are asked for. This makes the checkout flow so quickly that abandonment is lowered.

Take these examples and look at how you can implement them on your own funnel. Can you remove out and make the process more visual?

Can you nudge customers to make higher value purchases? Can you make the experience the same as gliding through an empty checkout at a physical store? Carry out on audit of your user journeys and watch your abandonment rates decline.

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