February 8, 2019
Reading Time: 5 minutes
A sale is not made until the transaction is complete and the product paid for. And in ecommerce, there’s an unfortunate tendency for shoppers to halt the process entirely before checking out—abandoning their carts at the last minute. It happens for a variety of reasons which we’ll explore below.
Here’s why online shoppers might abandon their carts, and how Shopify merchants can keep their customers interested for the entire journey from browsing to buying.
Why abandoned carts happen
Cart abandonment has always been a problem in retail. But, in traditional shops, customers are hard-pressed to physically walk away from a cart filled with items that have often been thoughtfully listed, targeted, identified and secured within the four walls of the store.
Still, it happens. Confronted with a long checkout line, customers simply run out of time to complete their transaction, or realize that they’ve left their wallet at home. The point is, in the non-virtual world there is usually an immediate, identifiable reason for physical cart abandonment, and most shoppers feel guilty about doing it. Because generally, their actions affect a “real person” who will have to clean up after them.
Not so in ecommerce. Shoppers in this space abandon their shopping carts an astounding percentage of times—according to Barilliance, mobile shopping in particular has an ever-growing cart abandonment issue. And the smaller the screen the shopper has to work with, the higher the abandonment rate climbs. Forbes cites the following averaged rates:
Desktop: 73.1 percent
Tablet: 80.7 percent
Mobile: 85.6 percent
Often, this is because mobile optimization is still a very real problem for many ecommerce stores. Pop-ups can be blocked (especially on corporate-owned phones). Check out “lines” can be just as long online as on real-life Costco tasting day due to the incessant form-filling that many retail sites demand (not to mention the “I am not a robot” proof metrics that irritate the most willing of shoppers). Even more frustrating, items can disappear from carts even during the checkout process—a situation that can so tick shoppers off that they quit the whole operation in frustration.
So, can the “guilt” that brick-and-mortar customers experience be applied to ecommerce?
Tips for reducing abandoned carts
Cart conversion rate (CCR)—or the rate of transactions that “convert” from selecting items and putting them into an online cart to an actual purchase—is a key metric in analysing and increasing sales. Conversely, cart abandonment rate (CAR) is one of the metrics which negatively affects your company’s cash flow most clearly.
To get into the mathematics of it all, here is a helpful step-by-step guide to working out how CCR can have a dramatic impact on sales. To give one example, take a store with a monthly revenue of $45,000. In reducing a 90 percent cart abandonment rate (not an unusually high figure) by just four percent, your Shopify store will net an additional $18k a month. That’s a 40 percent revenue increase.
So, we can see the critical importance of stopping or slowing cart abandonment, and of beefing up abandoned cart recovery efforts. But the question is: how do we do it?
Keep prices transparent
One of the biggest reasons for Amazon’s incredible ecommerce success is its transparent pricing. Shoppers know exactly what the recommended retail price is, how much they will save by shopping with Amazon (or even a variety of third-party sellers with wildly differing pricing!). They are also made aware of how much shipping will set them back and what they will have to pay per year to avoid almost all of these headaches and questions by buying into Prime.
But there’s another kind of transparency that’s attracting ecommerce clients—especially Millennials. Companies that clearly spell out what their markup is, why and how it exists, and where their merchandise hails from, feel authentic to shoppers. They are often willing to pay shipping costs they may otherwise balk at if they feel they understand why said costs are there.
Improve user experience and flow
The famous political maxim “Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)” is just as true when it comes to successful ecommerce conversion rates. Keep your online store easy to navigate, familiar to the user and with a simple and intuitive UX. A clear and uncluttered path to checkout is essential in reducing cart abandonment. Shopify companies have a real advantage here, as their look is clean and clear. And as we all know, keeping your web development costs down—as using shopify allows—keeps your retail prices down, too. Win-win!
Many people do their online shopping on their mobile devices and on the fly. There’s a limited amount of time to complete the transaction and often little privacy as well. Keeping a customer’s checkout procedure consistent and simple, with all the relevant order, timing, and shipping information on one page (including images and size information) is key to a high conversion rate.
Don’t require them to sign up to anything or answer irrelevant questions before they complete their order, and don’t throw up obstacles that will slow them down.
Remind shoppers that the cart is still there
Did you know that almost 25 percent of shoppers who abandon their carts don’t mean to? Either the website timed out before they could complete their transaction, or the site crashed. In these cases, getting your customers back should be a slam dunk—just remind them that their cart still exists and that you’re saving it for them.
Nudge shoppers to complete their purchase by using Shopify data to send a personalized abandoned cart SMS
Of course, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes shoppers leave carts behind because they are hesitant to spend the money or take a chance on a product they haven't tried before. Here's where an SMS marketing platform with a robust Shopify integration—like Postscript—can make a major impact for Shopify businesses.
The game has changed beyond those generic abandoned cart emails. Our savvy SMS text marketing techniques are light years ahead of the competition when it comes to:
Crafting quality, personal SMS marketing text reminders that speak directly to clients
Saving the selected merchandise that the guest has already chosen to purchase
Making a personal connection about why making the decision to buy is a good choice
Offering a shipping or other discount to close the transaction
Including dynamic product photos of products left in a customer's cart
Adjusting messaging and incentives based on whether the customer has purchased from you before—and if so, which items
For example, a brand-new customer might be more likely to convert if you share positive reviews or UGC related to the product they abandoned—whereas a previous customer might act on a message that makes a connection between the item they purchased before and the item they were considering.
Similarly, a customer who has spent a total of $100 or more might be more "worthy" of a large or special discount offer, whereas a customer who has only spent $10 may only receive the standard 10% off.
With Postscript, you can segment your abandoned cart messaging using all of the above and more thanks to our ability to collect and intelligently leverage customer data stored in Shopify. You can learn more about all of Postscript's abandoned cart message capabilities here.
Postscript also has pre-written abandoned cart messaging flows ready for new customers, so Shopify store owners can get their reminders up and running within 15 minutes of installing our software. It’s easy and offers huge revenue benefits. (Seriously—Luxor Linens saw revenue generation of $7 per message in their abandoned cart campaigns. That’s a huge return on investment!)
Offer a sweetener to stick around
Don’t overlook the obvious (remember KISS). Before a customer even leaves your site, consider offering them a personalized reason to stay. Deploy an exit intent popup reminding them to complete their purchase before they close out of the checkout page—and don’t be afraid to sweeten the deal and offer a discount code for remaining on the site and completing the purchase!
Often, even a 10 percent discount via a special “please stay” code is enough to keep a customer on the hook. It seems simple, but keeping your client on your page is your best weapon in the fight against cart abandonment. Never leave a cart behind!
Reduce abandoned carts with Postscript
Abandoned carts may be a fact of retail life, but with the right tools and some common sense solutions, you can do more than bring your customers back to complete a single transaction—you can connect with them and nurture their loyalty.
Postscript provides Shopify owners with a unique way to keep customers engaged, reduce abandoned carts and checkouts, and—most importantly—get their revenue up with a higher conversion rate. If you’d like to find out more about this fantastic tool, get in touch to schedule a demo. To get started, go ahead and install Postscript for Shopify.
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