Reducing Cart Abandonment: Retail Strategies to Increase E-Commerce Engagement

October 10, 2016         By: Erika Napoletano

If you’re an online retailer, you may be often looking for ways to enhance your customers’ buying experience. When it comes to items left in carts, otherwise known as “cart abandonment,” it’s easy to wonder what you might be doing wrong. Why would a shopper make the effort to click the buy button and then not actually buy?

With the holiday shopping season representing approximately $105 billion in sales for online retailers,[1] now is a great time to take a look at what you can do to improve your customers’ follow-through.

Top Reasons for Abandoned Carts

According to the Baymard Institute, approximately 68 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned.[2] What makes consumers leave products behind?

The factors most often cited include unexpected shipping costs, the need to create a new account, the customer being in the research phase, and payment security concerns. These factors are followed by confusion at checkout and being unable to find a coupon code – two factors that speak to consumers’ desire to use a quick and simple checkout that integrates deals and discounts without having to search.[3]

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Source: KissMetrics survey data

Now, add to these reasons the other possible distractions associated with shopping online (social media and life distractions at the home or office, to name a couple), and it’s easier to see cart abandonment as a part of the buying cycle. However, retailers do not have to settle – your goal as an online retailer is to provide a safe and simple shopping experience, which can drive increased engagement and potentially sales from your customers.

Tips for Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment

As you can see from the chart above, there are real, actionable steps you can take to make sure your customer checkout experience is the best possible. While we can’t do much about life’s interruptions, we can give you some tips for each of these elements.

  • Shipping Costs and Timelines: Make sure you’re putting standard shipping costs in plain sight throughout your site and in your checkout process. This can be as simple as advertising that you offer standard shipping for free or at a low, flat rate (don’t forget to name the dollar amount). Make sure customers know how long it will take to get their purchases with each shipping method. Free shipping that takes six to eight days is far different than free shipping with an unspecified delivery date.
  • Customer Accounts: Consider adding a guest checkout option in addition to account sign-up. If you want to incentivize converting that guest checkout to an account, offer the ability to track the shipment and the simplicity of adding a password after the checkout is complete. This lets guests stay guests and could motivate users to complete the final mile of account set-up – adding a password to all the other shipping and billing information they already took the time to enter.
  • Researchers: Lots of consumers choose to comparison shop. Rather than fighting this behavior, consider adding a Save Cart function for your committed comparison shoppers, allowing them to return to your site and complete their purchase at a later time.
  • Payment Methods: Along the lines of payment security, try to give your customers a wide variety of ways to pay, from credit and debit cards to other methods, so as not to turn away payment methods. Be sure to include Discover, as these cardholders are loyal to their Discover Card due to the benefits and rewards they receive.

“At the heart of e-commerce is a smooth and simple payment experience, which makes payment acceptance a critical component of a holistic e-commerce platform,” said Brian Meier, Director of Strategic Merchants at Discover. “Consumers often look to use a card they’re loyal to when they pay due to the lucrative rewards they receive. Retailers can tap into this behavior by offering broad payment acceptance, allowing consumers to pay with their preferred card.”

Reaching the Customer After They’ve Left Your Site

Now, even if you’ve made all of the above tweaks to your checkout process, you could still have abandoned carts, but one opportunity is email re-marketing. This is a reminder e-mail sent after a specified time to your customer, provided that you have their email, reminding them that they’ve left an item in their shopping cart and sometimes offering a discount incentive to come back.

Several services exist to help retailers with retargeting, such as Barilliance, Dynamic Yield, and Carts Guru, just to name a few, and can help with reaching customers who didn’t complete a purchase. Through re-marketing efforts, site visitors who have abandoned their cart might see the items they left in their cart displayed in ads on different sites, reminding them of their affinity for what they added to a cart. The ads link to your company’s website so they can complete their purchase. Re-marketing campaigns, in essence, allow the items in a customer’s cart to “follow” them around the internet. These repeated impressions increase the chance of the customer completing their purchase.

This article was brought to you by Discover Global Network. For more insights into consumer trends and the world of payments, visit the Discover Global Network website.

[1] National Retail Federation

[2] Baymard Institute

[3] KissMetrics