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5 Ways to Dramatically Reduce Shopping Cart Abandoners

Why would a person fill up the cart at an online store, make their way to check out, and then leave everything in the cart? That’s the question that many, many online retailers face, both big and small. Around 70% of all online shoppers will leave an online cart before buying anything at all. That’s a lot of cart abandoners who aren’t buying.

Did they lose interest? Did they actually not want to buy from you? Or is the cause of their leaving something else entirely? And if it is, what can you do to get them to click that final button to buy?

The top five reasons why cart abandoners exist are:

  1. Unexpected charges or difficulty figuring out the total charges
  2. No option for guest checkout
  3. Unexpected or high shipping costs
  4. Complicated checkout processes
  5. Insecure websites and checkout pages

To combat these issues, here are five corresponding strategies to re-engage your cart abandoners and convert them into happy customers. We’ve also included pro tips so that you can implement these strategies today in your online stores.

State Your Prices Clearly and Upfront 

When a customer is online shopping and gets to your checkout page only to see multiple unexpected charges, they will be less likely to complete their purchase. This is also true if your pricing information is confusing or they can’t identify why they are being charged additional costs. Never underestimate the power of clearly stated prices and estimates. For example, a shipping range cost at the bottom of each of your listed articles can go a long way in making customers feel educated as to the final price of your product. When people know exactly what they’re paying, they’re more likely to find it and not be swayed by the final cost when everything is added together on their bills.

Pro tip: Keep it simple. You can stand out among the crowd by keeping a price sheet in an easily accessible location, even if all you can offer are estimates for shipping.

Provide Options for Guest Checkout

The faster a potential customer can complete a purchase the better in terms of conversion rate. This is what makes offering guest checkout a strong cart abandonment strategy. Now, from the company’s perspective, guest checkout isn’t the most desirable. However, if it gets you more sales, providing an option for guest checkout may pay off in the long run. At the very least, it’s worth crunching the numbers or running a survey to see how many of your site visitors are leaving you because you don’t offer guest checkout options. 

Pro tip: Offer incentives to sign up as a member. Some initial ideas include free shipping, instant coupons, and the promise not to spam your members’ inboxes. A good place to offer incentives is the “Thank you for ordering page,” where you can ask the user to save their details for future purchases.

Factor in the Shipping Cost in Other Ways if Possible

Online shoppers love free shipping and will oftentimes spend more money than they intended if a certain dollar amount is required to qualify for free shipping on their order. So, take advantage of this. If you’re faced with really high shipping costs as a business, consider factoring in these costs in other ways, if at all possible. If that’s not possible, offer solid explanations as to why it’s costly to ship your product and why consumers would be willing to pay that much. At the end of the day, when you have an excellent product, people will pay the shipping cost. 

Pro tip: If there truly isn’t an option to cut back on your shipping costs, offer free shipping and add the price of shipping into all your product offerings to combat people’s propensity to back out of buying.

Streamline Your Checkout Process

People don’t want to wade through long checkout processes. The self-checkout registers at grocery stores are living proof of this. If you have a lengthy checkout process, you should ask yourself, “What are some ways I could shorten it? What are some steps I could eliminate? Are there too many opt-ins, pop-up offers, or other pages that are getting in the way?” To find the answers to these questions, consider going through your checkout process as if you were a potential customer. This way you can easily identify anything that may be a potential barrier to a customer completing their purchase. You can also go through the checkout process on a competitor’s site to see how your process compares in terms of speed and ease of use. 

Pro tip: The faster people can check out, the more people will buy from you. People value simplicity, particularly in the checkout process. This is why one-click buying is so appealing on sites like Amazon.

Secure Your Website

When online shoppers purchase from your store, it is important that they feel confident giving you their personal and financial information. Small business cybersecurity is slated to be one of the most serious economic and national security challenges in 2020. While small business owners think that their website is too small to become a target of web exploitation, this lack of awareness about the risks and consequences can cost you time, wealth, and trust. This is why it’s crucial to upgrade your security as needed so that customers feel safe while checking out.  

Pro tip: While it may cost a bit more, getting your Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate can pay off big time if you make most of your sales and transactions online. Websites with an SSL certificate installed can be accessed through the HTTPS protocol, which means that all the data being transferred between you and the website you’re visiting is encrypted and private. According to Google, “Having a secure website with an SSL certificate will have an advantage over unsecured websites.” 

If you’re a small ecommerce business, a third-party service such as PayPal can be a great alternative solution.

Recapture Shopping Cart Abandoners with a Retargeting Campaign

By implementing the five strategies above, you will drastically reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate. But what do you do about those who still leave your website without making a purchase? That’s where retargeting comes into play. There are two main retargeting campaign strategies ecommerce businesses can use to re-engage cart abandoners and get them back on their website to complete a sale. 

Retarget Cart Abandoners with Display Advertising

Using display ads to retarget customers is a pixel-based strategy that requires the use of browser cookies–or JavaScript–to track who visits your page, abandons a shopping cart, or leaves midway through the checkout process. With this information, you can then display engaging ads to those customers as they browse other websites. By showing them photos of the products they left behind, they are more likely to re-engage with your brand by following the advertisement back to your website where their abandoned shopping cart is waiting. 

You can also take your retargeting strategy a step further by displaying similar advertisements on platforms like Facebook to increase the likelihood of a potential customer returning to your website. 

Retarget Cart Abandoners with Email Marketing 

You can use pixel-based technology or list-based technology to retarget cart abandoners through email marketing campaigns. If you capture a potential customer’s email address while they are on your website, you can then use this contact information to serve them a cart abandonment email

Similar to the display ad, this email should contain images of the products they searched on your website and left behind. Because you have more room to add content in an email, you can also include 5-star reviews and product highlights. Remind your customers what’s so great about the product(s) they put in their cart. To make your email even more enticing, consider adding a one-time discount code or limited offer if possible. 

For a ready-made cart abandonment recipe to help drive visitors with products in their carts back to your website and over the finish line, click here.


Evi is the Email Marketing Associate at AdRoll. She is passionate about testing out growth strategies that enable users to leverage AdRoll capabilities across the lifecycle stages. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking Mediterranean specialties and spending time with her dog.