When a visitor goes to a bricks & mortar store, there is a 20% to 30% chance that they’ll make a purchase. Online, this rate is around 3%. While this difference in conversion rates can be partially explained by the very different experiences they offer, there’s definitely a gap between the quality of service delivered on each channel.
In a store, sales advisors are available for customers - able to to answer their questions, reassure them, make recommendations and earn their trust. Online, visitors often find themselves alone and without answers or reassurance.
Fortunately, the vast majority of marketers understand this issue and an increasing number of them are optimizing the experience they provide, particularly by personalizing the browsing experience and carrying out A/B tests. A major (and potentially very costly) optimization issue for all e-commerce players is cart abandonment - and this article explains how you can address it successfully.
1 What is cart abandonment?
Cart abandonment is when a potential customer on your website adds items to their shopping basket - but then leaves the site without completing their purchase. Calculating your abandonment rate is easy: divide the total number of final conversions by the total number of add-to-carts.
Cart abandonment is an essential e-commerce KPI that you cannot afford to ignore:
- It can reveal a number of issues in your conversion funnel.
- Reducing it by just a few points can have a significant impact on your turnover.
CART ABANDONMENT RATE - AN ALARMING AVERAGE
On average, 69% of visitors who add items to their cart leave the purchase funnel without converting. In this article, we’ll look at the problem at two key moments in the customer journey:
- Before cart abandonment
- After cart abandonment
2 What are the causes of cart abandonment?
Before trying to reduce your cart abandonment rate you need to understand the different factors behind it.
As this research shows, the most popular reasons for abandoning a cart are when extra costs (such as shipping) are added during the sales process and adding complexity to a purchase, for example forcing people to set up an account or having a checkout process that is too long.
3 How can you stop visitors abandoning their carts before they leave?
Here are seven recommendations to make your purchase funnel more efficient and reduce cart abandonment on your website.
1. VISUALLY REMIND YOUR VISITORS OF THE CONTENTS OF THEIR CART
Instead of just using plain text to show visitors of what is in their cart, insert visuals to reassure them of their choice. Here’s an example of what Darty does.
Here the visitor is clearly reminded of the contents of their cart with:
- a picture of the product
- the brand
- the product reference
- stock levels
- the price
If you don’t believe using images will reduce cart abandonment then run an A/B test - in our experience the results will speak for themselves.
2. SIMPLIFY THE PURCHASE FUNNEL
Once a visitor has added an item to their cart, you need to do everything you can to accelerate their conversion and reduce the risk of cart abandonment. The harsh reality is that you lose potential candidates for conversion each time you add a step to your sales process. The moral of the story is therefore to keep it simple.
Additionally, make sure you only ask for the personal information that you need to offer visitors a full service (for example, surname, first name, address, email and telephone). Remove any information fields from your forms that are likely to distract (or even discourage your visitors.
3. LET YOUR CUSTOMERS CHOOSE THEIR PREFERRED PAYMENT METHOD
Let’s imagine that one of your customers is on your website, is about to pay for the contents of their cart and… cannot pay. Or at least; they cannot pay using their preferred method.
It goes without saying that, it is crucial to offer visitors the convenience of all the major payment methods available on the market (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, bank transfer, etc.). This is good practice that can also be found on the Darty website, which offers its customers a full range of options.
4. REASSURE YOUR VISITORS ABOUT THE QUALITY OF YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE IN CASE OF PROBLEMS
When buying a product in a physical store, you can touch it, try it, measure it, and so on. None of this is possible when buying online. The consequence of this obvious barrier is that you might not be satisfied with the product when you receive it a few days later. It is therefore very important:
- to ensure you have a clear returns policy in place
- to remind customers of it when they are about to convert
What’s the winning combination to deliver reassurance?
- Free delivery: remember that research finds that shipping costs are the biggest barrier to completing a purchase. According to Deloitte 69% of web users are more likely to convert on websites offering free shipping.
- A quick and free way to contact you (toll-free hotline)
- Free exchanges and returns
This combination has been adopted by French women’s fashion brand Claudie Pierlot which always reassures customers by reminding them of these points when they are about to complete their purchase.
If you don’t offer free shipping, then highlight any additional services that help to guarantee peace of mind for your customers after their purchase.
For example, if you add a product such as an oven to your cart on the Darty website, a pop-in immediately opens to offer a premium support service in the event of problems. It’s hard to miss the message.
5. PROVIDE ADVICE TO YOUR VISITORS WHEN THEY ARE ADDING PRODUCTS TO THEIR CART
Cart abandonment is a major issue in the fashion sector. To resolve this Lacoste has adopted a twin-track approach. Firstly, the brand takes every opportunity to remind visitors that returns are easy and free, and to reassure them about how secure different payment options are.
Secondly, Lacoste has implemented a personalized size-recommendation system to provide the best advice to potential customers when they’re choosing garments. An A/B test revealed that this personalized system leads to 1.5% more purchases and, most importantly, reduces returns by 22%.
6. DON’T FORCE YOUR VISITORS TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT TO MAKE A PURCHASE
Research shows that this is the second highest reason for cart abandonment, with well over a third (37%) of people complaining about it. You should invite visitors who already have an account to log in, and suggest to others that they create an account, but you should never make this a condition of purchase.
The best compromise is to create a guest account for your visitors when they are confirming their purchase, using the data you need to fulfil their order (surname, email and postal address to send a package, or a simple email for an online service, for example).
French cinema chain UGC.fr uses this strategy to good effect. Visitors who don’t yet have an account are given the chance to create one automatically when they book a ticket, using their email address (with the visitor then just having to tick a box to register on the website).
By doing this UGC.fr makes checkout seamless and friction-free for new visitors.
7. RETAIN VISITORS WHO ARE ABOUT TO LEAVE YOUR WEBSITE
The optimization team at the French Mint (Monnaie de Paris) has configured a recommendation pop-in.
It is displayed to visitors who have viewed at least two product information pages and who are about to leave the website (i.e. when their mouse is leaving the website area). This personalized campaign is particularly effective because it is only aimed at visitors who are known to be interested in the site’s products as they’ve looked at two product information pages.
Additionally, Monnaie de Paris uses a valuable social proof lever in its retention pop-in by suggesting products that are popular with other visitors, to suggest other pages for visitors to browse.
4 How do you win back visitors after they have abandoned their carts?
Despite all your efforts, your visitors may continue to abandon their carts. Don’t panic, you can still bring them back and help them to checkout their purchases. Here are three particularly powerful ways to reactivate cart abandoners:
1. REACTIVATION BY PERSONALIZED EMAIL
When a visitor who came to your website doesn’t return, sending a reminder email is the best option to bring them back. Sending a reactivation email enables you to:
- remind a visitor about a purchase they were about to make,
- highlight products in the same category,
- bring the visitor back to the website, where you can personalize their experience in real-time.
With a solution like Kameleoon, you can fully personalize the content (subject, heading, body, visuals and incentives) of this type of email based on a visitor’s browsing behavior. There are four key ingredients to combine when putting together an efficient reactivation email:
- Carefully crafted copy
- Strong visuals
- Multiple links in the email taking the visitor back to the cart
- A tempting incentive so that the visitor opens and clicks on your email.
This approach is used successfully at Fnac.
The cart reminder at Fnac
When a signed-in visitor browses the brand’s website, adds products to their cart and leaves the website before checking out, Fnac contacts them later by email to remind them of the contents of their cart.
This email from Fnac uses all four of the ingredients listed above.
First, the subject is short, understandable and personalized. The copy and the content of the email are based on the visitor’s behavior on the Fnac website. The visuals and colors used call clear and immediate attention to the goal: finalizing the order (with the CTAs in red), along with a visual reminder of the item waiting in the cart. All the elements are also clickable to make it easy to access the cart again.
2. PERSONALIZED ON-SITE REACTIVATION
Once your visitor is back on your website (ideally after clicking on your email), you can personalize their experience in real-time so that they complete their purchase.
Invite known visitors to log in when they arrive on your website
When you visit a website such as Amazon, Cdiscount or Fnac, but aren’t logged in, even though you already have an account, you’ll be subtly invited to do so.
This is a key step to bringing the visitor back to where their experience ended the last time and to encourage them to convert.
Once visitors are logged in, brands can tailor the experience in subtle, but effective ways. For example, offering a personalized product recommendation and addressing the customer by name can have a significant impact on pushing your visitors to convert. It’s worth noting that in an increasingly cross-channel context, in which visitors can connect from their computer, smartphone or tablet, it’s even more relevant to invite them to log in so they’re recognized and their navigation experience can be unified.
Remind a visitor who comes back to your website (after leaving it) about their cart
This reactivation technique is used by Russian sports equipment chain Sportmaster.
This personalized pop-in is only triggered for visitors who are returning to the brand’s website after having left it without buying. It should be noted that this pop-in appears when the visitor returns to the website, regardless of where they came from. The idea is to push them to complete their purchase as soon as possible. They cannot miss this pop-in, which not only interrupts the person’s visit but also slightly grays out the rest of the page.
Although seemingly minor, this operation yields significant results for Sportmaster, since it has increased purchase completions among return visitors by almost 6%.
3. RETARGETING THROUGH OTHER CHANNELS
The third and final reactivation technique is retargeting. If you haven’t managed to retain a visitor on your website before they abandon their cart, and if you have been unsuccessful at getting them back to your website via your reactivation emails (or you don’t have their email address because they have never signed in), then you can use retargeting to reach abandoners.
Remember, only 3% of web users convert when they visit a website. This means that the remaining 97% are candidates for retargeting, such as by using display or Facebook advertising to bring them back to your website). Retargeting works by placing cookies on your visitors’ browser when they arrive on your website, after they have given their consent.
A buyer comes to your website and leaves it without converting. If your retargeting strategy is correctly configured, you should be able to show this visitor the products they viewed on your website via display or Facebook advertising campaigns and get them to return.
E-commerce merchants lose money every day because of cart abandonment. By following even just a few of these retention and reactivation techniques, you should be able to get a larger proportion of visitors to go through with their purchases, benefiting engagement, revenues and your overall success.