How to Minimise Cart Abandonment

Do you know how much your e-commerce store is losing to cart abandonment? The answer may shock you. The scary truth is that the vast majority of prospective online shoppers build carts on e-commerce websites and then abandon them without completing their purchase.

While cart abandonment is to a certain extent inevitable for e-commerce companies, it does not mean that you are powerless to drive cart abandonment rates down. Here we identify why so many shoppers abandon their purchases and look at how a few operational changes and tweaks to your website can help you to target shopping cart abandonment.

What is cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is the process whereby a prospective shopper fills an online shopping cart with products they might like to purchase. The shopper begins the checkout process but abandons it before the purchase is complete.

You can calculate your e-commerce website’s cart abandonment rate by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the total number of initiated transactions.

Some surprising statistics about cart abandonment

Whatever your online store sells, and whoever your target market is, consider cart abandonment one of your top priorities, otherwise, you risk leaving money on the table. As busy as the day-to-day operation of your business keeps you, the longer you wait to address this phenomenon, the more you could lose in potential sales revenue.

  • Recent UK statistics paint a bleak picture, with average cart abandonment rates of 75.33% in Q2 of 2022 according to Statista
  • A 2018 survey by Barclaycard estimated that UK retailers are losing out on around £18bn per year in lost revenue
  • The smaller the screen, the higher the abandonment rate. Statista places mobile abandonment rates at 80%, with 74% for tablets and 72% for computer

Most common reasons for cart abandonment

Now you’ve seen the scale of the problem. But what can be done about it?

Perhaps the best first step e-commerce companies can take is to identify the causes of cart abandonment and use them to inform their future strategy. Some of the most common reasons include:

Perceived lack of payment security

If website users are unfamiliar with your brand, they may be wary of making a potentially unsafe transaction. Unless they are assured that their purchase is 100% secure they won’t be buying from your store. That said, going too far in the other direction may also cause friction for shoppers. Customers may be deterred if they need to go through multiple apps or enter one-time passwords during the checkout process.

Hidden costs

Shoppers may feel cheated if they build a shopping cart and then find that the price of the transaction is significantly raised when they get to the checkout. Extra costs like VAT, shipping and handling, and card fees should be incorporated into the prices that shoppers see, or they will likely abandon their shopping carts.

Checkout complications

Lengthy forms or having to set up an account can make the checkout process needlessly complicated. Shoppers value their money, but they also value their time. If the checkout page is too complicated or takes too long to load, you may lose sales.

Unclear delivery terms

It’s very important for online shoppers to know when their purchases will be delivered to them. If the checkout page does not give them autonomy over delivery times or at least provide a clear idea of when their item will be delivered, the purchase may be abandoned.

Reducing your cart abandonment rate by optimising your e-commerce store

Being proactive about checkout optimisation can remove the friction and pain points that shoppers experience when they abandon their shopping carts. Here are some changes that you can make to your e-commerce store and checkout to reduce cart abandonment.

Enable guest checkout

Not all shoppers want to create an account with your online store. While you can absolutely encourage them to do so with special offers, discounts and promotions, they should be able to check out as a guest.

Make checkout quick and seamless

A few tweaks to your checkout’s UX can make for a much faster and more frictionless purchase. For example:

  • Reduce your forms to necessary fields only

  • Use auto-fill forms to retrieve information stored in the user’s web browser or password manager

  • Use an address predictor tool to automatically find addresses based on postcodes

  • Use an autofill feature for shipping and billing addresses if they are the same

  • Give customers the option of saving their data so that they don’t have to input it again when they next check out

Give shoppers easy access to the information they need

Information that can make or break a sale such as your returns policy and delivery times should be prominently featured to give shoppers clarity and confidence.

Offer multiple delivery options

Free standard delivery is always appealing to shoppers, but if they can pay a small premium for first-class or next-day delivery, most appreciate being given a choice.

Provide assurances

Trust needs to be earned with new customers. Assure them that their transaction is 100% secure, and that their data will be handled in accordance with UK GDPR guidelines. Incorporating social proof like Trustpilot scores and customer reviews into your homepage also provides a greater level of assurance at checkout.

Make sure your online store is responsive

A 2021 report by Klarna reveals that 70% of online shoppers shop via their mobile phones more than they used to. This is why it’s so important to ensure that your online store has a responsive design i.e. one that is optimised for use with a mobile phone.

Optimise page-load times

Users expect fast page load times, and long page loads can lead to skyrocketing bounce rates. In fact, Google’s research reveals that the chance of a user bouncing increased by 32% when a page load time went from one to three seconds, and by 90% when the page load time went from one to five seconds.

Optimise page load times by:

  • Using a Content Delivery Network

  • Reducing image sizes and specifying image dimensions

  • Optimising configurations if using an e-commerce platform

  • Using compression software

  • Avoiding redirects

  • Using faster servers

Integrate marketing tactics to target cart abandonment

Optimising your website isn’t the only way to reduce the impact of cart abandonment on your turnover. As well as driving more traffic to your website and driving sales, your marketing tactics can also help you to target cart abandonment.

For instance:

  • Build social proof through user reviews and social media interactions to build trust in your brand
  • Use retargeted ads to encourage shoppers to return to their cart
  • Send abandoned basket emails to customers to remind them that the contents of their cart are waiting for them
  • Make the fact that you accept multiple payment methods part of your messaging, especially if you offer Buy Now Pay Later services

Square can help

We strive to make e-commerce easy for our customers to sell online with a suite of solutions for retailers, restaurateurs and anyone else who wants to sell their products via the internet. We can help you to design an e-commerce site with seamless UX and an effortless checkout, add secure Square payments to your existing website or provide abandoned basket reporting tools and customisable abandoned cart emails.