If there’s one silver lining about living in an era of wild uncertainty, it’s the surge in digital innovations, including how quickly retailers and businesses adapted to the ecommerce space.
Yet even before the pandemic, demand for online shopping has been steadily climbing for years. The reasons of course are obvious — ecommerce mutually benefits everyone. Consumers are able to conveniently shop from almost anywhere, and retailers aren’t limited to just their local shoppers.
Even so, there will always be room for improvement in this rapidly evolving shopping experience, especially when it comes to successfully converting orders.
There are a multitude of reasons shoppers don’t see the checkout process all the way through — regardless of their intent or enthusiasm. You’ve likely been there yourself.
It can go something like this: first, you’re in the thick of picking soon-to-be-your items, giving justification to each piece as you eagerly hit the “add to cart” button. Then comes time to checkout. Suddenly, you realize there’s a tall order in front of you. And so begins the self-negotiating, “do I really need this right now?” or “maybe I should wait until I’ve paid off my credit card.”
After wrestling with the commitment of placing an order, you decide it’s not worth taking the plunge. This phenomenon is called “shopping cart abandonment” and it’s just one of many abandonment scenarios that happen to retailers.
In this article, we’ll help to identify and explain the nuances of what causes shoppers to leave their carts high and dry. Next, you’ll find solutions to help reduce the odds of cart abandonment and alleviate ecommerce pain points for both you and your shoppers.
What is Cart Abandonment?
One of the most significant contributors to lost sales in the ecommerce industry, cart abandonment, or shopping cart abandonment, refers to the chronic case of a visitor browsing an online store, adding an item to their cart, but leaving without making a purchase.
Even with the ever-evolving, dynamic landscape of the ecommerce space, cart abandonment remains one of the biggest battles fought by digital marketers today. In March 2021, nearly 80 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned.
Top Reasons for Cart Abandonment
After everything you do to generate foot traffic on your sites — paid social media, hyper-targeted web ads, curated emails — losing a potential customer to something preventable can feel disappointing. By practicing the below actionable steps, you may be able to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions.
1. Unexpected high costs.
Nothing is more off-putting to a shopper than realizing the total costs are more than they bargained for. Extra costs are by far one of the biggest deal-breakers for shoppers, especially when they’re completely unexpected. Whatever the costs may be — shipping, taxes and other service fees — they’re a leading cause for cart abandonment.
According to the 2021 study ‘Reasons For Abandonment’ by the Baymard Institute, an estimated 49% of respondents cited high extra costs as their primary reason for cart abandonment. Sure, taxes may be one of the two guarantees in life, but that still doesn’t make seeing the stacked costs any more bearable.
2. Mandatory account creation.
Imagine a prospective customer scrolling through Instagram, then stumbling upon your accurately targeted ad, which features a product that catches their eye. After a few clicks, they’re ready to check out, only to see a prompt requiring them to “Create an Account.”
Given this context, it’s understandable that shoppers are less inclined to complete their orders. In the shopper’s defense, why would they go through the account creation process when it’s easier to just bail?
Requiring shoppers to have an account is another common reason shoppers tend to get disillusioned at checkout. This is considered a hassle for most new shoppers and slows down the checkout process. Or worse, it’s a non-negotiable deterrent that ultimately leads a shopper to abandon their cart altogether.
3. “Window shopping.”
Since ecommerce stores are always open, the experience doesn’t require shoppers to do anything more than browsing the web or app, so “window shopping” is another reason visitors commonly abandon their carts. There are times people browse your online store out of boredom or with no particular agenda and end up casually adding their favorite items to the cart, but ultimately abandoning the cart due to lack of a substantial purchase intention.
4. Limited payment options.
Seeking variety is natural consumer behavior — and one we can all relate to. That’s why we subscribe to multiple streaming services or love a good charcuterie spread, and of course, the ubiquity of online shopping.
Payment options shouldn’t be any different. Since shoppers expect multiple products and services at their convenience, they equally want to see their preferred payment option at checkout. So it’s no wonder shoppers tend to drop off and abandon their carts when they don’t see their preferred or trusted payment option among the others provided.
5. Website security concerns.
When it comes to shoppers’ critical information, even the slightest bit of doubt regarding a site’s trust factors (a sense that your online store has no payment security measures or even the lack of trustworthy payment services) is enough for them to walk away. Lack of trust badges, SSL seals and other similar stamps that provide visual reinforcement of trust are common triggers for buyers to be skeptical of a store’s information security.
Solutions to Cart Abandonment
As we know, the conveniences of online shopping aren’t always without their hangups. But that doesn’t have to be true for your store. Most of the leading causes of abandoned shopping carts are within the control of the merchant. Below are ways to give shoppers the confidence to complete their orders.
1. Share costs from the outset.
As shopping online becomes an increasingly predominant choice for people, transparency should be a gold standard. Full stop. Nobody likes last minute surprises, especially at checkout.
While not everyone has the luxury of offering free shipping, retailers should strive to be as forthright about costs as possible. If you charge for shipping, make the costs known throughout the checkout process or within the website so that a shopper is aware beforehand.
Another way to boost cost visibility is to add a shipping calculator. If customers have access to a tool on your site that allows them to enter their zip code. This lets shoppers know what to expect at checkout, and ideally helps to reduce the likelihood of cart abandonment.
2. Make checkout seamless.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to create a friction-free checkout process is to eliminate mandatory account creation. Rather than forcing new shoppers to create an account, they may otherwise not be interested in, simply allow them to place an order as a guest. Not only will this be easy for first-time shoppers, but by making the checkout process as smooth as possible, the effortless experience will leave a positive impression and possibly encourage shoppers to revisit your site.
Another way to optimize the checkout process is to add Sezzle as a payment option. New or existing Sezzle users are able to quickly checkout without requiring a log-in for your ecommerce site. Sezzle is designed to make the checkout process as fast as possible, especially for recurring shoppers. For anyone new to Sezzle, the approval decisions are instant, which means new shoppers can get through checkout without a hitch.
3. Allow payment flexibility.
When a shopper is “just browsing” or “wishful thinking shopping”, there’s a number of ways to incentivize them to commit. Maybe it’s free shipping or a discount code. One sure fire way to remove the fear factor of paying in full upfront is by offering BigCommerce’s preferred Buy Now, Pay Later solution, Sezzle. When customers have the option to pay in installments, they’re more likely to commit to placing an order.
Shoppers who use BNPL solutions are less hesitant about placing orders because there’s a financial benefit to splitting payments up over time. Sezzle provides shoppers the confidence to buy what they need on their time, which can lead to higher basket sizes and more frequent orders. So by adding Sezzle as a payment option, you’re giving customers even more purchasing power. It’s a win-win.
4. Offer payment variety.
It’s no secret that everyone has their individual payment preferences. Shoppers usually gravitate towards a specific tender depending on the product or service. If they aren’t given the option to use their payment of choice, you may quickly lose them. At best, a shopper may compromise and use another payment and feel hesitant about coming back. But why start things off with an inconvenience if you can avoid it?
5. Boost your trust factors.
There’s no way to 100% eliminate the anxiety of sharing personal or sensitive information like credit card details. However, at the very least, retailers can provide reassurance to shoppers in a few effective ways. Show shoppers their information is protected by incorporating trust seals.
Aside from adding basic security measures, there are other means of building trust with customers. For instance, scrolling through happy customer reviews is often considered a source of truth for new shoppers, and how they vet a company or product. Instill shopper confidence by including reviews and testimonials, and even photos of real people submitted by satisfied customers. Also, a money back guarantee is another way to instill trust and build buyer credibility.
The Final Word
With the myriad of cart abandonment causes, tackling it all at once can feel overwhelming as an ecommerce leader. But the key to reducing your cart abandonment rate is to get rid of any friction points that keep shoppers from a quick and easy purchase. Doing so may be able to turn your cart abandonment around, and possibly salvage ties with “the ones that got away.”
You can get started right away by implementing these best practices: be upfront about costs and fees, create a seamless checkout process, offer as many payment options as possible, build trust with shoppers, and allow customers to have payment flexibility with Sezzle’s Pay in 4 solution.