By guest author Tracey Wallace, Managing Editor at Bigcommerce
Shopping cart abandonment is the leading cause of conversion loss on the internet today –– and the bane of the online retail industry. It is also the industry’s biggest opportunity: some $4 trillion worth of merchandise is left in online shopping carts per year, 63 percent of which is potentially recoverable via retailer outreach and marketing efforts.
Even recouping a couple percentage points of that $4 trillion will significantly increase the bottom line of any ecommerce business, which is why the industry is so bent on solving the problem. From improving the checkout experience and increasing trust with payment seals, to abandoned cart saver emails and online advertising retargeting (i.e. why those ads for shoes from Zara follow you around on the internet) –– every retailer is looking for a catch-all solution that will increase conversions without appearing too pushy to the customer.
But before we continue, let’s get this straight: there is no single solution to shopping cart abandonment. In fact, the trend will likely increase with the rise of mobile commerce. However, not all abandoned carts are “lost sales.” Three-fourths of shoppers who have abandoned shopping carts say they plan to return to the retailer’s site to make a purchase.
In all, shopping cart abandonment is a nuanced problem, and the solutions that work best use creativity to play off and even combat the human instinct driving the issue: forgetfulness.
Trust plays a huge part in whether a shopper converts on your checkout page or if they bounce to a competitor’s site. In fact, a lack of trust in a site and its ability to safely handle credit card and other sensitive information accounts for 21 percent of all checkout abandonment. That said, it’s essential to include security and quality protection seals.
Trust seals have been proven through countless studies to reduce shopper anxiety and improve confidence — yet 35 percent of brands do not display security or trust information during the checkout process. The seals come in a variety of flavors and can be placed throughout the site. Here’s a breakdown of each type:
- Business seals: Business seals verify that you’re the owner of your company and your domain name, and they verify your reputation as a responsible and honest business. To be accredited, you must demonstrate sound business practices and meet accreditation standards. The Better Business Bureau is the most well-known grantor of business seals. The process is lengthy, but the cost is mainly one of your time and effort.
- Security seals: If your website needs an SSL/TLS certificate, you’ll get a security seal from the company selling it. The security seal tells customers that you’re the rightful owner of the domain they’re visiting and that their personally identifiable information is secure. Of course, some security seals (and the Certificate Authorities that grant them) are more recognized than others, so expect to pay more for brand-name recognition. Examples of Certificate Authorities include Symantec and DigiCert.
- Satisfaction guarantees: Satisfaction Guarantees reassure shoppers that you’re willing to accept returns for items that are defective, or, since they can’t be fully inspected online, that customers simply decide not to keep. Your Satisfaction Guarantee seal doesn’t have to be fancy — there are thousands of them available for free online. Put it where the customer can see it on every page, such as the global footer of your site.
Think Mobile First
Today, 1 out of every 3 shoppers uses their mobile phone as part of the purchasing process. Unfortunately, the factors that drive shopping cart abandonment are intensified for mobile – for example, 75% of smartphone users abandon sites that aren’t mobile optimized.
To make sure your site is mobile‑friendly, consider the following:
- Accommodate small screens: Ideally, your site’s design should adapt to the device it’s viewed on, working on smaller screens as well as it does on larger ones.
- Use larger fonts (14 pt. or higher) and bigger buttons: Place call-to-action buttons (like “Add to Cart” or “Check Out”) at the top and bottom of each page.
- Test: There are services that show you what your site looks like across multiple operating platforms and devices. Choose ones you think are most important and make sure your website is optimized on them.
- Use PayPal to streamline the checkout: PayPal account holders can check out using only a mobile phone number and 4-digit PIN. The experience is optimized for mobile devices — with fewer clicks and less typing.
Set Up Reliable Nurture Streams
Online stores can see a 5-50 percent increase in sales by reaching out to customers who have abandoned shopping carts via an email nurture stream. These emails invite customers to finish the shopping experience and can also include coupon codes to entice them back to the site.
“The abandoned cart feature is an absolutely amazing tool,” says Tim Angel, founder of ZooGue. “It has definitely saved us time and money. It does all the work for us, literally bringing in nearly $45,000 of revenue in less than a year.”
Platforms that can help automate this process include Bigcommerce, Hubspot, Marketo and other marketing automation or ecommerce technology service providers. Of course, you can set this up manually as well.
Indeed, emails alerting customers to their abandoned cart work exceptionally well:
- The average order value (AOV) of purchases from cart abandonment emails is 19 percent higher than typical purchases
- 46 percent of all cart abandonment emails are opened.
- 35 percent of clicks lead to a purchase back on site.
Timing is of the utmost importance here. You must send the email at the right time in order to stay top of mind, but not too soon, as you don’t want to annoy or bother the customer. Emails sent within 20 minutes achieved a conversion rate of 5.2 percent on average, whereas emails sent within an hour achieved a conversion rate of 4.5 percent. If you wait more than 24 hours after a basket was abandoned, expect a conversion rate closer to 2.6 percent.
In all, be sure to display security and quality protection seals on your site, optimize for mobile checkout and be sure to reach back out to customers who left items in their carts. Be genuine, be helpful and be customer-centric. Remember to use your site the way your customers do and solve for their pain points to increase your revenue.
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About the Author:
Tracey Wallace is the managing editor at Bigcommerce, where she covers topics concerning online small businesses. In a previous life, she wrote about small business and boutique success at Mashable, ELLE and Time Out New York. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Bustle, PolicyMic and Refinery29. She honed her chops at Shoptiques, where she was the director of content for the Y-Combinator startup.