Reduce your ecommerce stores cart abandonment

Did you know a whopping 69.2% of e-commerce shopping carts are abandoned? Put that in real terms that's 7 out of every 10 shoppers on your site.
Now here's the question - what's your cart abandonment rate? Is it near 70%? If so, these strategies will help recover your share of $260 billion lost each year in the US and EU to cart abandonment.
How to calculate your cart abandonment
Calculating cart abandonment is simple: you divide the number of transactions completed by the total number of shopping carts with at least one item in them. You then multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage.
According to Wikipedia, cart abandonment rates vary between 60% to 80% with an average of 69.2%.

Why is my cart abandonment so high?

If your site has a high cart abandonment, I would recommend you start by looking at these potential causes:
1. Surprise extra costs
No one likes nasty surprises. Entering the checkout process only to discover shipping taking too long, costing extra or too much, is the number one reason for cart abandonment.
The earlier in the funnel you can display positive news about the total cost and fast delivery times, the more customers will choose you over the competition. Adidas is a great example of a site who display exact shipping costs before entering the checkout funnel. I would also look to add an indication of delivery time, such as a label that says ‘Get it in 1-3 days’.
2. Long checkout process
Do you know how many form fields you have in your guest checkout flow? The average is 13 with the optimal being between 6-8. Here’s a few simple ways to reduce the number you have.
  • Ask for full name
Don’t ask for ‘first’ and ‘last’ names using individual fields. Instead have a single ‘full name’ form field. Users perceive their name as a single entity and will successfully type ‘Sally Jones’ when asked for their name. Top tip, don’t forget to programmatically split the inputs into two fields in your CRM.
  • Shipping and billing address
If your site is for a B2C audience. It's highly likely your customers shipping and billing address will be the same. Default to this being the standard option and only expose the additional billing address form fields on a click or tap.
  • Address line 2 & company form fields
These fields are often not required by many users, but for those who do they are critical so we can’t just remove them. A nice solution is to initially hide the fields and make them expandable to reduce the initial cognitive load. Farfetch uses this approach in their check out flow.
3. Form field labelling & help
We don’t want customers to be asking questions during checkout. We want the information they need to provide to be clear and obvious. Make sure you have persistent form field labels and provide help text for every field.
A common mistake I see is form field labels disappearing when a user starts typing their information into the field. This is especially problematic when using form autocomplete and information is entered into a wrong field. The user has to then go back and manually delete the input to see the form field label and then re-enter and validate.
Made has an excellent approach to form validation and supporting help copy. Validation happens in realtime and notifies the users of errors instantly.
4. Mobile optimisation
If you’re driving the majority of your traffic from Facebook and Instagram, a large proportion of your traffic will be on mobile. So it’s very important that your check out process has been optimised for mobile devices.
Make sure your site is responsive and displays well on popular mobile and tablet screen sizes. Offering mobile payment options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal will drastically reduce checkout times and increase your customer lifetime value. Customers will shop repeatedly at stores with mobile optimised and short checkouts.
5. Payment options
Be considerate to customers payment preferences, make your checkout process as flexible as possible. The common options we tend to recommend:
  • All major credit cards
  • Paypal
  • Digital Wallets
Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services:
  • Klarna
  • Clearpay
  • Laybuy
  • PayL8r
  • OpenPay
  • Splitit
Boohoo has a wide range of payment options and has a clear descriptions of when payments will be taken.
This BBC article reports that buy, now pay later services are growing at 39% a year, but warns of the risk of younger consumers sleepwalking into debt. So be cautious that yes these services can increase your revenue, but you don’t want to use them irresponsibly.
6. Think about your ‘discount code’ strategy
What do you do when you see a discount code on a checkout? You get a fear of missing out - so you leave the checkout process and Google search to try and find a code.
It is an experience often overlooked and neglected by many sites. Don’t let this little inconspicuous box drive traffic away from your site... here’s two strategies to consider:
  • If you are not currently running any discounts, think about whether you need the discount code form field at all. Removing it will reduce distraction and stop your customers leaving mid-checkout and not returning.
  • It doesn’t feel very nice to be paying more for something than someone else. Why hide your discount codes away? Display them prominently throughout your site so all visitors get your best deals. e.g. Argos has a voucher code page that is linked from the footer of all pages. The page displays all currently active discount codes. If no codes are active, then the discount code input is removed from the checkout process. Nice work Argos!
Boohoo displays their popular discount codes above the input field. This gives the customer a nice feeling of getting a deal and stops them from going off and googling for codes.
7. Remove navigation from checkout page
You’ve nurtured the customer all the way down the funnel to the checkout page, so you want to keep them there and finalise the sale.
A tactic we commonly use on pages when we want to encourage conversion is to remove other navigation options. We don’t want any unnecessary distraction that may result in the customers abandoning. Keep their focus on entering payment information and choosing a delivery method.
Wickes is a good example of this: the navigation has been removed to focus the customers attention on completing the checkout process.
8. Display trust signals
Trust is the most important aspect in any sales process. As the buyer, you need to feel 100% confident that you’re buying a quality product from a quality retailer. Make sure that your checkout looks and feels trustworthy.
Make sure you have SSL security seals and keep users on the same domain. We are all continually warned against phishing scams and being jumped off to another domain can make users jumpy about entering credit card details.
Consistency is also important at this stage, if the checkout feels of a lesser design quality to the rest of the journey, it can cause users to hesitate and abandon.
9. Always offer guest checkout
“I just want to buy some paint, why do I have to create an account?” Was a sentiment expressed to me recently by an annoyed participant during a usability testing session.
Reduce friction in the checkout process by allowing people to checkout as a guest, without the need for creating an account.
You will be capturing their email address as part of the journey anyway, so you can still enrol them into your cart abandonment emails if they abandon.

Is it time to optimize your checkout?

If your cart abandonment rate is near 70% it might be a good idea to think about a conversion rate optimisation program. We can help you reduce that number by creating an optimized checkout experience.
Tangent offers a free landing page assessment for companies looking to optimize and improve their sites. In our free report, we will highlight the areas of your site that are blocking conversion and help you plan a roadmap of design improvements and testing ideas.

Update as of 04.02.2021

On point 5 of this article, it is suggested to include BNPL services at check out to accommodate customers. On 02.02.2021, the FCA announced that BNPL firms such as Klarna will now face regulation after a four-month review following the surge in popularity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with many users struggling with debt. Firms will now have to conduct affordability checks before lending, ensure customers are treated fairly if they are struggling to repay, and give the consumer to right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman. You can find out more about the regulations here.