5 Simple Tips to Reduce Online Cart Abandonment


Online shopping appears to be the perfect method to grow a  company in an increasingly globalized world. Considering that everything you want to buy is a click away, it may be surprising that the Baymard Institute estimates that 68.6% of shopping carts are abandoned. This translates into approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise lost every year! However, according to Business Insider estimates, 63% of these losses are recoverable. Here are 5 ways online retailers can encourage customers to take their carts all the way to check out.

The Human Touch

Have customer service agents available across all time zones. In an IMShopping survey, 93% ofrespondents had a question about an online purchase, and 58% stated they could not find the answers they needed from the website. In particular, the survey found that many customers want guidance from a real person before making all kinds of purchases — from real estate to insurance to cell phones.

A live chat option is one elemental way to ensure customers do not stop pursuing their purchase due to a lack of product information available. Retailers can have a live chat option pop up when the website detects progress towards check out has stopped. To take the shopping experience to the next level, retailers can consider having a more robust set of options that allow customers to communicate with representatives, including CoBrowsing and audio or video chat. People feel more comfortable speaking to a human being instead of just reading the “FAQ” section on a website to answer their questions.

Fee Transparency

How often have you found the perfect product online, but cancelled the entire transaction because of exorbitant shipping fees or sales taxes before checking out?

Customers often abandon their shopping carts online due to unexpected, last-minute fees like the cost of shipping. Statistica crunched the numbers and found that 56% of customers did not end up purchasing the items in their cart due to unexpected costs. Being up front about extra costs as your customers are adding items to their cart is important in order to not lose them to an unpleasant surprise when they are about to check out.

Free shipping is a potential bonus incentive for customers to complete their transactions. But when this isn’t feasible, being transparent about shipping costs or sales taxes earlier in the process does more for a business than hiding the costs until the last possible minute.

Perceived Ownership

A UCLA study determined that perceived ownership of a product can be heightened through touch or imagery encouraging touch. The same theory can be effectively applied to online retail shopping. Use descriptions that evoke imagery and ownership for your products.

For example, informing shoppers that the t-shirt they are considering buying is made of 100% breathable cotton and perfect for their summer day in the Bahamas could do more to increase their perceived ownership of the product. This method is used by online retailers such as Forever 21 — their top selling products all include a picture of a model in an outfit that matches the style of the product for sale. For instance, the pictures accompanying this simple, black top include the model matching the item with different pants, shorts, and shoes, helping the customer imagine what she may have in her own closet that would complement the top. This technique can increase the sense of ownership a visitor may have to one of your products while on your site.

Limited-Time Promotions

Often, customers who abandon their carts do so because they are simply browsing, without an intent to buy. By offering a limited-time promotion, potential customers have an incentive to buy now or lose out on a good deal. Research published in the Journal of Consumer Behavior discovered the “use it or lose it” mentality that accompanies time-limited promotions accelerated purchase decisions.

Limited-time promotions are so effective due to the reframing of the product as a potential loss if the customer doesn’t purchase the product now. One key thing to note: the longer the time period of a promotion, the lower the impact of this effect. Another group of researchers have narrowed the approximate time limit, (calculations dependent on various factors such as the product profit and discount margins), for online promotions to be 4 days.

Offer Price Guarantees

Price guarantees provide customers with the assurance that the online retailer they are considering is willing to help their customers find the best deal. In any case, offering assurances like price matching soothes your customer into believing that your company is  more invested in your customers than your competitors. For your loyal customers, price matching is another reason to love your brand. For customers looking for the cheapest price, price guarantees help convince the customer that they’re getting a great deal. Walmart for instance offers price matching for select local and online retailers and has a strong reputation for its low prices.

Ultimately, reducing cart abandonment requires the use of a variety of effective methods simultaneously. By being the most reasonably priced and flawless shopping experience you can be, your business can look to boost its profits by retaining customers all the way through past check out.