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Written by Dan Wilkinson Content Manager
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06 Feb 2019  |  Monetizing

Solutions for a High Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

Having potential customers desert your checkout at the last hurdle isn’t ideal. Numerous factors may be scaring them off, so we’re here to highlight practical techniques that’ll encourage trust and usability for your checkout process.

Shopping cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment isn’t a purely online phenomenon, but the act of a potential customer exiting your checkout before completing a purchase can be devastating when the solution may be just a few checkout tweaks. Abandoned checkouts are a major issue for anyone selling online, with the Baymard Institute finding that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69%, which equals a large number of potential lost sales.

To measure how high your abandonment rate is within a specified period, you divide the total number of completed purchases by the number of carts created. Subtract the result from one and then multiply by 100 for the abandonment rate.

So, if you have 45 completed purchases and 200 carts that were created, the abandonment rate would be 77.5%.


1 - (45 / 200) x 100 = 77.5%


To find out what’s causing the abandonment rate, you’re often required to think like a customer. A practical solution is to test for yourself how long it takes to complete a purchase, as this can often reveal what may frustrate a customer when trying to complete their order.

We’d also recommend asking your customers and reading through the feedback they’ve left about your checkout. It's important to get their honest perspective on what may have stopped them from completing their purchase the first time they may have tried.

Below you’ll find some methods aimed at streamlining the checkout process and ultimately motivating your customers to complete their purchase.

Enclosing the checkout

Let’s start with your checkout’s look, as a distracting site can often hamper attention when trying to complete a purchase. One solution is to remove all the unnecessary decoration of your site, such as the header and footer content and left-hand navigation. The visual change also allows the customer to mentally lock themselves into completing the purchase.


Cart abandonment retargeting emails

When a potential customer exits a checkout, they sometimes forget to come back, this is where retargeting comes in. Retargeting sends an email to someone with items still in their cart to complete their purchase. The emails are triggered automatically when the purchase hasn’t been completed. However, this tactic requires that they’ve given their email before they enter the checkout or are already a subscriber to your newsletter.

The retargeting email needs to center on enticing people towards your product, with a catchy subject line or a limited-time discount to draw people into clicking. To finish this off, you'll need a convincing call-to-action that resonates with the reader. The best practice on the time to send the email differs from twenty minutes to a whole day, so we recommend A/B testing to find what works for your audience. Cart abandonment emails should be a key resource to consider as they're opened by 46.1% of people according to Omnisend.


Offering multiple currencies and payment options

When you have people browsing globally for your product, providing a currency converter that shows the total in their local currency whilst still using your primary currency is a good first step.

You can go further by offering not just the main types of currency in their region but also the most common payment methods of the territories that you’re selling to. A variety of choice allows customers from other territories peace of mind when checking out, ensuring that they don’t have to use a currency foreign to them. Localizing your checkout is also key to expanding to new markets.

Showing certificates of safety

When paying for anything online, there’s still a fear when handing over your bank details. With 70% of online shoppers abandoning their online orders because they didn't trust the transaction according to Forbes, it's a problem you need to address for the customer’s and your benefit.

To improve this trust, you can purchase security certificates to create a secure connection when transferring your customer's information. Online certificates demonstrate that you’ve taken into consideration protecting your customer’s details, giving them peace of mind during the checkout process.

These come in the form of a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which activates the padlock in the browser and adds an https protocol, ensuring a secure bond for the web server and browser.


Fewer steps for your customers to checkout

This is perhaps the most important step, as it looks to simplify the process for customers and how they practically complete the purchase, 27% of people have abandoned checkouts because they find them too confusing, according to Einstein Marketer. Don’t take your checkout process as final, as it can always be optimized and improved upon, to catch those lost sales.

Think clearly about what information you need from a customer to complete the transaction. Are there sections which are unneeded like completing an address section for a digital-only product? To discover what you should be simplifying or cutting, find the areas where people are dropping out of your checkout, using your Google Analytics exit rate.

Could you even streamline the process into a one-page checkout filling out only the essential information to complete the checkout in record time? If you can’t place everything into one page, then we suggest the use of progress bars to show people how close they are to completing the purchase.


Asked to create a new account

Another step that may be frustrating users is having to make an account, with their same email, while creating a new password all to complete what should be a simple purchase. The online evidence speaks for itself, when 86% of users may leave a website when asked to create an account, Convince and Convert found.

You could employ the use of a guest account during this process, allowing the potential customer to complete the purchase in record time. This doesn’t mean you have to remove the option to create an account; one solution could be to have this step after the purchase has been completed or to offer both options when starting a checkout. It’s all about providing the customer a checkout that works for them, offering easy choice and smooth experience.

Looking to implement these changes in your checkout?

We’ve looked at the most popular ways of decreasing checkout abandonment, improving your checkout, overall sales, and customer satisfaction. If you’re interested in improving your checkout experience as well as your landing page, check out our "mobilizing your audience guide".

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