Abandoned Shopping Carts

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abandoned-shopping-cartRecovering them is easier than you think

About ¾ of all online shopping carts are abandoned. (sigh) And, it’s been increasing since e-commerce began. There are a lot more options, competition, and comparison sites now. People have more choice than ever before.

Shopping online takes very little effort, unlike going to the actual shops, which can shave as much as 8 months from your life expectancy. You have to really want to go to the shops. You have to commit!

You have to get kids dressed, find their shoes, get yourself ready, find the kid’s shoes again, bundle everyone into the car, fight for a parking space, put the kid’s shoes on again, battle the crowds, push an actual wobbly shopping trolley around with kids swinging off it and chucking everything they see into it, queue for the checkout, discuss with a depressed teenager why you don’t want a rewards card, wonder if you need to mortgage the house to pay the bill, stop all the checkout chocolate from going into the trolley, realise one kid is missing a shoe, cut your losses and go straight to the car via the bottle shop.

It’s surprising there are not more abandoned shopping carts in real life. Filled with kids.

Reasons for abandoned carts

Shopping online is much easier, but has it’s own risks. You don’t always know whom you are buying from. Anyone can set up an online store these days. You don’t know your way around their store and don’t know their shipping costs or policies.

Often people will shop for the same thing on several sites simultaneously and complete the sale right up the step where a credit card is required, to see if there are any hidden costs or gotchas. This produces abandoned shopping carts.

There are lots of reasons why carts are abandoned

  • Complicated checkout process
  • Surprise shipping costs (this is the main one)
  • Long shipping times
  • Unreasonable returns policy
  • Doing research
  • Any sort of vagueness or lack of trust in you, your business, your brand, your products or where you operate from
  • Forced account setup
  • If you collect too much private and unnecessary information and if you are unclear about what you are going to do with it.
  • The site is difficult to use on mobile devices (Abandonment rates are 10% higher for mobiles)

So far I’ve listed a lot of things. It feels productive, but I’ll get to the point.

Reducing vs. Recovering

Addressing the points above will reduce your abandoned shopping carts. However, we’ve written previously about making your website clear and concise to improve conversion rates here, here and here. This article is about recovering shopping carts.

If you’ve ever shopped on eBay or Amazon and left something in your cart, you probably received a series of follow up emails reminding you of your silly forgetfulness or possible aneurism at the checkout.

Many abandoned cart cases are simply a result of the customer going away to think about it. Filling the carts was their research process and often they just need a prompt from you to complete the sale.

A series or system of prompts builds trust and shows that you are not going to take their money and run. It shows you have systems and processes. It also follows a core sales principle – a ‘NO’ is just the first step towards a ‘YES’. (No idea if that book is any good.)

Abandoned cart follow up systems look complicated, but they can be simple to set up. Mailchimp has an abandoned cart follow-up process built in. If you are running Woocommerce on WordPress, which is very common, install the ‘Mailchimp for Woocommerce’ plugin and follow the setup steps.

It comes with 3 pre-formatted emails. You may only need to add your logo and you are ready to go. All content and layout is also editable. The emails can be triggered at time intervals you choose, for example 1 day, 3 days and 2 weeks. The emails will also show the products that were abandoned with a direct link back to the cart. By the third reminder, you may want to add a discount coupon code as an incentive to complete the sale.

This little process can reduce your abandoned cart rates by as much as 30%, depending on how engaging your follow-up emails are. You’ve gone to a lot of effort to get customers into your online store and actually buying things. That’s the hard part.

Take the guessing game out of your checkout process. Provide free of flat priced shipping if you can. And, put a follow up process in place to chase abandoned carts/indecision.

Then none of us have to endure the hell of actual shopping.

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