Top 10 Ways to Lower Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates and Increase Sales Conversions

With an ever-increasing pool of eCommerce retailers to choose from, your business must do everything possible to stand out. If shoppers don’t have compelling reasons to buy from your store, they’ll make their purchases from other retailers.   

Today, we are sharing the top 10 ways to lower shopping cart abandonment rates so you can convert more sales and earn more happy customers.

Quick tip… If there’s only one thing you do today, let it be this: Read #1 below.  

1. Offer free 2-day shipping – or, at least, make expedited shipping affordable.

The most common reason customers abandon their shopping carts is high shipping costs. Slow shipping speeds factor in as a close second for cart abandonment. Knock out both of these objections in one swoop by offering free 2-day shipping.

If you think your business is too small to offer this in a way that’s affordable, there are a few things to consider.

First and foremost, how much would your conversion rate increase if you offered free 2-day shipping? Do an A/B test to see for yourself. You may be surprised at how drastically your sales volume increases. 

You could offer free 2-day shipping with a minimum order value. This minimum number can be based on your delivery costs or by researching what your competitors offer. Keep in mind that Amazon is likely your biggest competitor, and they offer free 2-day shipping for Prime members. If you aren’t offering the same deal, it’s likely creating a lower conversion rate for your business.

If you think you can’t offer free 2-day shipping because your shipping costs are too high, consider utilizing a trustworthy third-party logistics company (3PL). The best 3PLs use their high shipping volume to negotiate discounted rates with the top shipping carriers, such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS. Making the switch to using an eCommerce fulfillment company could make it feasible for your brand to offer free 2-day shipping and still save money.

Other options for making faster shipping work for your business include:

  • Increasing the price of some or all of your products to include associated shipping costs.
  • Offering free 2-day shipping to first-time buyers or email list subscribers.
  • Partnering with a company that offers free 2-day shipping to their members. (Neiman Marcus, American Eagle, Staples, and Newegg all use ShopRunner.)

Think about it this way: The higher your conversion rate, the more customers you have, and the more customers will spread the good news about your brand.

If you still think there’s no way for you to provide free 2-day shipping at this time, consider offering free shipping with a slower method. However, be sure to also provide expedited delivery options, even if the customer has to pay an added fee. Delivery times are a huge factor when shoppers are buying for a birthday or holiday.  

Related article: How to Improve Shipping Speed in eCommerce

2. Be transparent about added fees, taxes, and shipping.

Allow customers to easily see or determine their order total up-front. The simplest way to implement this is to allow customers to input their zip code while viewing their shopping cart to calculate shipping costs. Or, better yet, right on the product page.

3. Don’t require shoppers to create an account.

For the love of money, do not require consumers to create an account prior to purchase. If you want them to sign up for an account, offer the option post-checkout. Be sure to let them know of the added benefits of doing so – such as the ability to gain loyalty points or receive real-time updates for tracking their orders. 

4. Simplify the checkout process as much as possible.

Amazon’s famous “one-click checkout” option has set a high bar for ease of purchase. For your existing customers (those who’ve already purchased from your eCommerce shop or created an account), consider implementing a way to buy more items in a single click.

If this isn’t feasible for you, streamline the checkout process as much as possible. Decreasing the number of clicks needed, or presented, to purchase is one of the best ways to increase sales.

Your shopping cart should:

  • Allow for customers to easily update the quantity and remove items from their cart.
  • Allow customers to view their total cost including tax, shipping, and added fees.

Your checkout process should:

  • Be streamlined and visually pleasing. (Prevent users from getting distracted. Avoid clutter and make it easy to follow. 
  • Require as few steps – and as little information – as possible. (Live by the KISS principle — “keep it simple, stupid!”) 
  • Allow form fields to be auto-populated when possible. (Some shopping cart integrations will autofill City and State fields based on the Zip Code field.)

You can also:

  • Add a progress bar to the top of your checkout page so customers know how close they are to completing a purchase.
  • Remove the navigation menu so shoppers aren’t tempted to exit checkout. (Consider A/B testing a “Continue shopping” button to see how it affects your conversion rate.)
  • Minimize the “apply coupon code” button so shoppers don’t wander off the page to search for a discount code. (Instead of displaying a box to enter a code, include minimized text that reads, “Got a coupon code?” that then populates an input field once it’s clicked. Alternatively, display a popup to first-time visitors, offering a discount code in exchange for their email address. This will make new visitors feel like they’re getting a deal instead of “missing out” on a coupon code. Plus, you can retarget them later!)

5. Ensure your website is error-free and loads quickly.

Savvy shoppers are often scared away by websites filled with broken links and error messages, or sites that don’t load fast enough. You can prevent this by ensuring your website is well built with a bandwidth that can handle drastic increases in traffic. While you still want to use high-quality photography, you may need to reduce image sizes so that your site loads more quickly.

Make sure to optimize for mobile shopping! Check your metrics to view your website’s mobile traffic. Chances are the majority of your users are shopping on their phones or tablets. 

6. Display well-known trust seals and social proof.

Lower your cart abandonment rate by showing consumers proof they can trust you with their credit card. Display badges from well-known institutions (such as PayPal, BBB, or McAfee). And be sure to include customer reviews, your SSL certificate, and consumer ratings (such as TrustPilot or ResellerRatings) to increase buyer confidence.

Don’t have many great reviews? Build up your reviews by encouraging past customers to leave an honest review on your site or a popular consumer review platform.

7. Ensure your return policy is fair.

Customers now expect free returns and fair refund policies. Consider including a satisfaction guarantee, such as “Free returns within 30 days” to boost a shopper’s confidence in your products. Make sure your return policy is easy to read and understand by using plain language and break up the text with headlines, subheaders, and bullet points.

8. Offer popular payment methods.

Shoppers who have never heard of your brand before may be hesitant to give you their credit card details. By offering their preferred payment method, such as PayPal Checkout or Google Wallet, you may be able to increase their trust enough to make a first-time purchase.

9. Offer live chat to customers who have questions.

Anticipate the reasons a customer may not purchase from you, so you can preemptively answer their questions on the product page. For example: Is the item in stock? When will they receive it? Why should they buy now? Why should they purchase from you?

Still, some customers will have questions before purchasing. If you don’t already have Live Chat, consider implementing it to assist your customers. You’ll sell more products if shoppers can easily ask you questions without having to leave the shopping cart to visit your contact page, call or email you, or send you a message via social media.

What else can you do to lower cart abandonment rates?

Even after implementing these strategies to lower shopping cart abandonment, you’ll still have shoppers who either decide not to purchase or simply forget to complete checkout. So how do you reduce that problem and capture more sales? 

Our last tip may be one of the most profitable tactics you employ in your eCommerce business:

10. Create an enticing email sequence to follow up with shoppers who abandon their cart.

A great abandoned cart email sequence reminds customers of the products they wanted to buy and nurtures their confidence enough to complete their order. Consider incentivizing their purchase with a limited-time discount code to seal the deal.

P.S. Make sure your fulfillment operations are able to deliver on your promises.

It’s essential for your brand to deliver on the promises you made during checkout. That means getting your packages out on time – every time! If your company already isn’t set up to reliably deliver on this end, consider what will happen if your conversion rates drastically increase. You can keep it easy on your business by hiring a third party fulfillment center to deliver on time and turn your buyers into happy customers.