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Thursday, November 9, 2017

3 Ingredients to Fight Cart Abandonment in E-commerce

This is a guest post by guest contributor Robin Singh

Few things are more frustrating for ecommerce businesses than customers failing to check out their shopping carts. Even if your website is effective enough to convince a customer to fill their online shopping bag, there is never a guarantee that they will follow through with their purchase.

According to, a reputed e-commerce analytics website, the average abandonment rate for online shopping carts is approximately 68%. This number is too high to ignore and further proves the importance of slowing down cart abandonment rates for the success of your e-commerce business.

The shopping bag abandonment rate of your website can be calculated by dividing the total number of finalized transactions by the total number of initiated transactions. This is an important statistic for e-tailers to consider because high abandonment rate could hint that your website has substandard or even poor user experience.

Here are 3 main ingredients that eliminate cart abandonment for your e-commerce business:

1. Issue free or flat-rate shipping

High shipping rates on your items can repel even the most interested customers that need your products. Put yourself in a scenario where you're an online shopper. You finally spot the item you want and put it in your shopping bag. After filling out the address details, you're surprised to find out a shipping rate that makes up half of the price of the product itself! That’s a good reason enough to abandon the item completely and look for alternatives on a different site.

Online shoppers are usually price-sensitive, so it is integral for you to provide free or a small flat shipping rate for all items.  

Free shipping rates will encourage customers to come back to your site to make more purchases. This results in more sales revenue generated as well as increased website recognition as satisfied customers are likely to recommend your site to their friends and colleagues.

Research from UPS revealed that over half of the top 10 reasons for cart abandonment deals with shipping. There are various ways to combat this.

Zappos is an e-commerce website that provides free shipping for all their items.

  • Display the shipping cost early. Never lead your customers and then hit them with your shipping costs. This catches them off-guard and results in them leaving your site in dissapointment.
  • Display shipping rates based on location. Online customers usually search for the cost of shipping specifically to their location before committing to a purchase. Incorporate a shipping cost calculator close to the price displayed on the item.
  • Flat rate shipping. A standard and fixed shipping rate lets your customers know the price they can expect when it comes time to check out.

2. Re-target customers

Customers have lives and can face various distractions that hinder completions of their online purchases. Customers may also be time-conscious and may not have time to fill out all details in the checkout process, so they place an item in their cart to be checkout out on another day.

It's important for e-tailers to understand these circumstances and take action by re-targeting cart abandoners to remind them about their cart. 

There are three main ways to do this:

A) Targeted Ads

Customers that land on your site leave behind online traces termed as “cookies”. You can track customers by analyzing cookies and place reminder ads whenever they search for products similar to yours.

For example, your PPC banner will appear on the browser of your customers to recapture their interest in purchasing.

E-Commerce website Koovs uses Pay Per Click (PPC) ads to for specific re-targeting.

B) E-mails

Still one of the most efficient acquisition tools - e-mail - ensures that your message reaches your audience and is seen. Sending reminder e-mails that are embedded with links to the item page can encourage action on customer's end. It's critical to send out reminder e-mails within 24 hours after cart abandonment, as conversion rates fall 50% after a day.

C) Personal Interactions

Simply calling them at an appropriate time (derived from conducting consumer research) can alert consumers to take action. Incorporating persuasive telemarketers with a pleasant voice tone can go a long way in convincing shoppers to stop what they’re doing and complete the purchase of the abandoned item.

3. Shorten checkout process

The majority of online shoppers abandon their carts during the checkout phase. The logistics involving the completion of online payments may take up a lot of the customers' time and drive them away from completing the payment. Filling information like payment terms, address, and personal information in separate pages might be too long of a process, especially if the customer is on their mobile phone or their connection is slow.

Make sure that your website’s entire purchase process takes less than 7 steps. For instance, Wal-Mart received countless complaints from their customers about their checkout process, which was ironically 7 steps. Ideally, the process should not take more than 4 pages.

The checkout process of the above e-commerce software can be completed in a few pages, with the customer only having to fill out information on one page.

It may sound like a tough task, but if you add these three ingredients to your e-commerce sales recipe, then you can expect to see your cart abandonment rates plummet. Not only that, you can expect your sales to increase due to the incorporation of free/flat rate shipping, shortened checkout process, and re-targeting cart abandoners. 

While there can be various reasons to why an online shopper might abandon his/her cart, if e-commerce sites address the most common reasons to customer cart abandonment they can expect most cases to be reversed in a short time.

Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.

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