What is cart abandonment and why is it an issue?
Karl Stone, Head of Voyado UK
All too often, consumers will exit a website with items still in their basket, shutting down the checkout process midway through. This is called cart abandonment and it’s a larger issue than many realise – with the average rate of online abandonment as high as 70%. Putting this into context, that’s almost £15 billion in potential sales lost each year.
Retailers aren’t just losing a sale, they’re also missing out on potential customer loyalty. So retailers should be asking themselves: what went wrong? Why did the customer abandon the purchase? At Voyado, we’ve identified some key reasons why customers click away and how retailers can avoid it happening in the future.
What causes cart abandonment?
Cart abandonment can happen for a variety of reasons. While some causes are out of retailers’ hands, most are within their power to fix:
“Secret” fees: Customers add items based on the listed price but quickly discover unexpected extra costs at the checkout. Even in the good times, this would deter many would-be buyers, but the current cost-of-living crisis in the UK gives consumers even more reason to abandon the purchase. Therefore, retailers must be transparent about an item’s price or risk losing customer loyalty.
Forced account creation: This is hardly a surprise – it’s an extra step that disrupts the buying process. Yes, several customers will go through with it anyway, but an equal number will simply click off as they simply don’t have the time. To get around this, retailers need to provide real incentives for creating an account and not coerce consumers into it just to make a purchase.
Checkout is too complex: Another major reason customers bounce before payment is needlessly complex checkout procedures. Ultimately, users are looking for the smoothest, simplest checkout experience, so slowing them down with extra fields will only put them off.
Numerous other factors contribute to abandonment rates: shipping issues, security concerns, and slow websites are all common. But, no matter what it is, these all have something in common: they can be avoided when retailers are proactive.
How can retailers avoid and reduce cart abandonment?
Now that we’ve covered some of the main causes of abandonment, let’s discuss how retailers can avoid it.
The card abandonment email
Sending out emails to customers who abandoned their purchase is a fantastic way to recoup losses. Our research has shown that these emails have an open rate of 50%, and at least 10% will take action.
Setting the tone
The point of these emails is to show consumers what they’re missing out on. Make sure you consider the tone here: you want to create a sense of urgency to tempt them back. Therefore, the email should be short, snappy and ideally include a subject line that reels them in.
These emails should also feature a prominent call-to-action (CTA) button. You can design this however you want – just remember it’s a motivation tool! Words like “buy now,” “shop now,” or “go back to cart,” are all decent choices, but feel free to inject your own creativity and test out different words. It’s all about discovering what resonates with your audience.
Timing is everything
What you send is certainly important, but it’s just as crucial to consider when you send it. You should look to send abandoned cart emails as soon as you notice a customer bouncing. A little delay is fine, but don’t leave it too long – the best results come within one to five hours when the potential purchase is still fresh in the mind of the buyer!
Customers often abandon purchases when they see how high the final price has become. So, what can be done to make them reconsider? Offer a discount! Doing this will leave a positive impression on the customer, and they will be more likely to buy again – it shows a level of understanding on your part.
Utilising testimonials from existing customers to “vouch” for the products and your brand could also go a long way to convincing these “almost-customers” to take the next step.
Social media posts
Exposure to brands on social media also encourages consumers to return. Sending little prompts on these platforms is a subtle way of reminding them of your brand. These reminders could take various forms: you might want to showcase a product (perhaps even the product they almost bought) or perhaps maybe a discount you’re currently running.
Undoubtedly, this will entice many consumers, and they may choose to follow your account. Given that around 90% of consumers will buy from a brand they follow on social platforms, more followers equal more revenue. You can also monitor their interests and shopping habits on the platform to better understand how to market to them.
Ultimately, addressing cart abandonment is crucial for online retailers to prevent potential sales losses and cultivate customer loyalty. By tackling common causes like hidden fees, complex checkouts, and forced account creation, retailers can reduce abandonment rates. Tactics such as cart abandonment emails, discounts, testimonials, and social media engagement help recapture lost sales and improve customer experiences.