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Tips to reduce the rate of cart abandonment

Did you know that nearly 70% of carts are abandoned on online shops? That’s huge! This is what the Baymard Institute, an independent research institute specializing in user experience on the web that has published a list of 46 studies carried out on different sites, says.

We’re not talking about people who simply browse the site to shop and compare. We are talking about people who add items to their cart, go to the very end of the process of validation of the order and payment to never complete their order.

In this article, we explain what are the main reasons for cart abandonment on online businesses and how you can rectify the situation to improve your online sales process, especially if you use WooCommerce for your online business.

What is the difference between buying online and in-store

An online business is completely different from a physical store.

When I visit a brick and mortar store, I rarely question the store’s integrity. I usually know exactly what I want to buy and the process is simple; I walk into the store, put stuff in my cart, check out and leave.

Online, it’s a whole different story!

  • Who is behind this site?
  • Is the site trustable?
  • How do I know if the product is good or not?
  • Is it safe to share my payment informations?
  • Why do I have to pay $20 shipping for a $10 item?
  • Why are there so many steps before completing the transaction?

To be honest, shopping online is a nightmare for me. I can spend hours on research for a product before I buy it!

  • Who can give me the information I need about a product?
  • How can I determine the quality of a product that I cannot hold in my hands?
  • How do I make sure my payment is secure and the transaction is legitimate?

The main causes of shopping cart abandonment and solutions

Shipping fees

The Baymard Institute conducted a survey of 4384 American adults. One of the questions was: “Did you abandon online purchases at the time of placing the order in the last 3 months? If so, for what reasons?”. Among the respondents, 49% of them said that “The additional costs (shipping, taxes, other fees) were too high”

In addition, 17% of those surveyed said they abandoned their shopping cart because they could not estimate the total cost of the order earlier in the process.

Therefore, we can consider that 66% of abandoned carts are abandoned at checkout because of hidden or expensive shipping fees.

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the shipping costs you have to pay to deliver your products to your customers, it’s certainly possible for you to come to compromises that will benefit both your store and your customers.

Here are some tips on what you can do to reduce shipping fees:

  • Add the shipping fee to the product price to offers free shipping. This option can be used to improve your conversion by announcing free shipping. This method can be used if you are the sole merchant offering a product. If your product is offered by a competitor, you could lose the sale if the competitor offers the same product at a lower price.
  • Offer free shipping rather than a discount on the price of an item. A $19.99 item (regular price) with free shipping may seem more interesting than a $14.99 item (20% off) with $5 shipping.
  • Offer free shipping when the order amounts is up to X dollars. Most of the time, a visitor who buys $42 worth of products on your site would not hesitate to add a product on his order to get free shipping on a $50 invoice.
  • Set a flat price for delivery. Based on the average cost of a delivery, you can include it in the product description.
  • Offer multiple delivery methods. You can offer multiple delivery methods to your customers. For the thrifty, a slower and cheaper method can be more attractive than a more expensive express delivery method. For those who are more eager, you can also offer an express method. However, find the right balance between the two, since slow delivery alone accounts for 19% of abandoned carts!
  • Consider using an extension with advanced shipping options. The Table Rate Shipping extension by WooCommerce allows you to set shipping fees for a product based on the shipping location, product price, product weight, number of items or shipping class.
  • Offer in-store or drop-off pickup. Whether you have a physical store or not, it is possible to offer order pickup to your customers. More and more companies are partnering with local merchants and serving as a drop-off point for online shops. This is often a win-win recipe for both companies. This creates more in-store traffic in addition to offering more visibility to the online store.

Avoid hidden fees, be transparent

Hidden fees are a cause of frustration among online shoppers. To prevent this frustration from expressing itself in the form of cart abandonment, you simply need to prepare your client for the additional costs associated with the order.

If you can estimate the shipping cost before checkout, then display it in the shopping cart to provide a more accurate price before the customer reaches the checkout stage. Make sure your shipping costs are not determined by the shipping address!

Finally, make sure that all charges are clearly explained and made visible in the confirmation of the order.

The buying process

A too long or complicated purchase process (18%) is among the other reasons for dropping out of the shopping cart during the checkout process. When forced to create an account, 24% of users will tend to not complete their order.

Typically, the less time a customer spends on your checkout page, the more likely they are to complete their orders

With nearly half of all users coming from a mobile device, the simplicity of your checkout process becomes a vital aspect to consider.

How to reduce the time spent filling out the validation form? Simply by reducing the volume of fields and optimizing the speed at which the data is filled in!

There are several ways to simplify your validation process. Here are some examples:

  • Allow users to make a purchase without having an account. This option can be considered if you don’t have a subscription or virtual products on your site. If you want to invite users to create an account, you can also invite them to register once they have completed the checkout process. Be careful, if you use this feature, make sure you have an effective strategy against card testing!
  • Add an plugin to speed up the completion of the order validation form. Every time I shop online, I have to type in the name of my town ( which is 26 characters long!) in addition to the address, street, province, country and postal code in about 5 or 6 different fields. Some extensions feature address autocompletion using Google, which significantly speeds up the process of filling out the form.
  • Reduce the number of fields in the order validation form. If your order management system allows it, feel free to reduce the number of fields with an plugin such as Checkout Field Editor. Combine the “First Name” and “Last Name” fields, reduce the number of fields for addresses (in addition to autocomplete!) and fold optional fields into an accordion. Keep the bare minimum!
  • Break the confirmation process into smaller, simpler steps. This trick applies specifically to users on mobile devices. It is easier to read the information on several small pages rather than a large page filled with information. If possible, try to break your order confirmation process into several smaller steps such as: Personal Information and Addresses, Payment Information, Review, and Order Confirmation.

Online transaction security

Although technology has made progress and online shopping is common, users’ reluctance to enter their payment information on a site remains. Indeed, about 17% of users who abandon their cart to the order validation process do so because they fear for the security of their credit card informations.

To build trust from your visitors, make sure you use a known and trusted payment gateway (such as Stripe) that offers strong fraud prevention and security features.

Feel free to show your commitment to your site’s security with features such as trusted certificates that can be provided by web security companies such as Norton and McAfee that can be added to your site’s footer or checkout pages.

Additionally, you can also add customer testimonials in the shopping cart and at checkout. Although they may seem to be bias, they can convince and reassure some of the hesitant customers if these testimonials are sincere and well-detailed.

Now that you know the main reasons why carts are abandoned on your site, it’s now up to you to take action.

Analyse your buyer’s journey

Make time to revisit your site through the eyes of your clients. Test your buying process and point out potential hassles. Then, improve your customers’ shopping experience through processes such as optimizing your delivery methods, simplifying your buying process, and improving the security of your site.

Of course, the context of your business may vary and your options may be limited. Before undertaking any of the following solutions, I strongly recommend that you conduct a small cost/benefit analysis and consider the reality of your market.

Ask an expert

Managing an online store with WordPress? Not sure where to start, how to make these changes, or just want to discuss the points mentioned in this article in more detail? Contact our team and we will be happy to help you!

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