Abandoned Shopping Cart -The Curse of the E-commerce Business.

I am sure all of us who are in the e-commerce business have noticed the following trend. Clients visit your website, add products to their shopping carts and then disappear never to return and checkout. The three cursed words describing this phenomenon are - abandoned shopping cart. Statistics shows that in the last couple of years the abandoned shopping cart rate has risen to approximately 70%, which means that 7 out of 10 shoppers, who place an order, do not complete it. A rate that high is not to be underestimated, especially when it is in a direct relation to revenue losses.

Clients abandon their shopping carts for number of reasons: problems with the payment processor or lack of trust in it, problems with credit cards, not being ready to buy, doing compare shopping, unwillingness to register with the store, high prices and shipping costs. Whatever the reasons, the result is always the same: abandoned shopping cart.

How to overcome this negative tendency? Here are some useful tips on the topic.

A checkout process made easier

Before you start investigating the shopping cart abandonment issue, ask yourself a simple question. Why do people prefer to shop online? The answer is simple; it is much easier, convenient and less time consuming. Then why make it more difficult for your customers and spoil the user experience with a difficult and confusing checkout process? Making the checkout process easier is a good starting point for solving the abandoned shopping cart dilemma.

Reduce the number of pages and the steps a customer has to complete before checkout. Ideally, a one-page checkout form is a step in the right direction. Ask only for information and details that are most necessary for your business purposes. Don’t make your clients feel as if they are being cross examined. The more annoyed a customer gets while placing an order, the greater the chance is to leave your website without completing it.

Another widespread e-commerce practice that has proven to be most irritating is asking your customers to register with your store before placing an order. Nowadays, people are asked on daily bases to make some kind of registration. Sometimes even the simplest thing as thinking of a new password and remembering it can discourage customers to register with your store. Instead, try another strategy, ask them to register after they have completed an order or invite them to complete a guest checkout and to create an account afterwards. 

Going through multiple page checkouts, filling out forms and answering a ton of unnecessary questions can be the difference between revenue earned and a shopping cart abandoned.

As a customer myself I have a single principle when buying: I am willing to buy from those who are willing to make my money worth spending. The same principle applies when being on the other side of the line.

Don’t bamboozle your clients

Many online stores make a crucial mistake when hiding additional fees and term. Make the shopping process in your site absolutely transparent. Always be honest with your customers and clear about shipping and handling costs, sale taxes and other relevant information.  Unpleasant surprises throughout the checkout process in the form of hidden fees and terms may encourage your clients to abandon their shopping carts.

Some online store owners may say that there will always be inexperienced or absent-minded shoppers who will overlook such details and still make a purchase. I would say, don’t rely on this. In the short run you may be able to make an easy profit from such shoppers. However, in the long run such attitude can have extremely negative consequences on your business. You risk losing your credibility which can be critical for your business success.

One thing you can be certain about: try to trick customers and they won’t consider your products or services again.

Remind, reassure, promote!

As an online store owner you may have done everything I have already mentioned, and still have high shopping cart abandonment rate. Go a step further and consider e-mail reminders. The e-mail reminders are a smart way to decrease your levels of cart abandoning especially if done properly. Just remember one important thing: the point is to subtly remind your customers about a purchase opportunity, don’t bombard them with information trying to push them to buy at all costs.

Use sharp, straight-to-the point and witty messages. Don’t try to bully your customers with phrases such as “it is one time opportunity”, “get this offer now or never”, and “buy only now”. The chances are nobody will pay attention to your ceaseless pleading.  Be clever about it and offer something that can make customers reconsider buying from you. Things such as a discount, coupon code, free shipping or support won’t hurt your overall sales performance, but can boost your customer’s satisfaction.

I have good news for those of you using nopCommerce for your online store.  You can now automatically recover abandoned shopping carts, incomplete registrations and unpaid orders with the Nop Customer Reminders plugin. The plugin can be configured to send automatic reminder messages to recover abandoned shopping carts, incomplete registration and unpaid orders.

The Nop Customers Reminders plugin uses a flexible configuration framework where the store owner can specify as many reminders as they need and configure various settings for each reminder. A reminder can be configured:

  • To use one of the three predefined rules (Abandoned Shopping Cart, Inactive Customer, Unpaid Orders)
  • To use a specified period within which each rule action should fall into for a customer to receive a reminder message. For example send a reminder to all customers who have added a product to their shopping cart and not bought it within the last 60 days but not earlier than 30 minutes from now.
  • To send more than one message
  • To use a message template with tokens specific to the nopCommerce store, the customer and the specific action that they took (added a product to their shopping cart for example)
  • To explicitly exclude customers from receiving a reminder message.

Whether you are using nopCommerce for your online business or not, I am sure you have come face to face with the abandoned shopping cart phenomenon. Spend time to understand and deal with this negative tendency, because high abandoned shopping cart rate is lost profit for your business.