Jace walks into your retail clothing store.
He picks up some jeans, a denim jacket, and a few button-down shirts and heads to the change rooms.
While in the change room, he checks the price tags a little more closely, gulps, then he slips out of the store empty-handed in search of something less expensive.
Hannah is perusing through your shoe section. There are shoes everywhere, with no order. She feels frustrated that she can’t find shoes in her size and taste. Grumpily, she stashes her cart in a corner and heads out the door.
Those were two potentially large sales that you lost in the span of a few minutes. And this problem isn’t specific to retail stores.
In E-commerce, these are called Abandoned Checkouts, and a whopping 70% of shopping carts are abandoned before the purchase is made. Let’s take a minute to see what that looks like:
I know, that’s pretty scary to think about. You started on the road to E-commerce like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. In the beginning, it was as though the road was paved with gold, but after taking a few forks in the path, it slowly faded to a dusty brown, and maybe even to bare dirt.
With rocks underfoot, it’s time to backtrack and choose another direction on this road. But to choose the right way, you need to understand why the wrong path was taken, so you can get a better result this time.
The good news is, there are 7 main reasons why shoppers skip out on the checkout. By understanding why customers leave, you can take preventative measures to reduce your cart abandonment rate and bring the customers who leave back to your website.
1. Your Shipping fees are too high and too slow
In the age of Amazon, customer expectations for your products and for your delivery services are at an all-time high. When they order a product, they want it as soon as possible. A purposeful customer can quickly be deterred from clicking through your checkout page only to find an unwelcome $25 shipping fee on their $100 order. Or to see that they will need to wait more than 2 weeks for their items, especially if your shipping isn’t free.
A common misconception with free or flat rate shipping is that small businesses can’t afford it. If you break down the impact of free shipping on your profits vs the revenue you can get back, you will likely find that having free shipping options (especially over a certain dollar amount!) increases average order value and your conversion rate. Customers will happily spend $30 on an item with free shipping over a $20 item with $10 shipping.
2. You don’t have clear Return or Shipping Policies
Policies for returns and shipping can foster a sense of trust in potential customers. If something goes wrong with their order, or if they need to return something, they want to know you’ll have them covered with a clear policy. This customer is much more likely to purchase than one with doubts.
If you’re not sure how to create a return or policy, you can check out Shopify’s free policy generator!
It’s also worthwhile to create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on your Shopify store. This can work as a fantastic space to dispell any potential concerns buyers may have about purchasing, and quickly link or go over your shipping and return policies.
Being transparent and forthcoming about your policies helps your customers make informed choices, and build trust in your products and service.
3. Too Many Pop-Ups
Now, we know some pop-ups can be really effective and well-received by customers. Who doesn’t love getting a discount in a well-designed pop-up? (as long as it’s only offered once!) Pop-ups can offer great value to your customers, and increase conversions for your store.
However, pop-ups with poor design and bad timing are a nuisance on your website. Your pop-ups should serve a purpose, and always look as good as the rest of your website. The content of the pop-up should make sense for the page they’re on and should be short and to the point.
Think about how you experience online shopping, and how you feel about pop-ups. Apply that to your website, and ensure your customers have the best experience possible.
4. Competitors with a Like Product and Lower Prices
E-commerce makes it very easy for customers to shop. It also makes it very easy for customers to shop around. According to Salecycle, 18% of shoppers abandon carts because they wanted to compare prices.
You can pour your focus into gaining traffic and building awareness around your product, but if it isn’t a product proprietary to you, you could still lose the sale to your competitors.
It’s undoubtedly easy for shoppers on the web to find the best deals. You can help prevent customers from hopping onto a competitor’s website by offering similar pricing, discounts or a better product or customer service.
5. Don't Want to Create an Account
Sometimes, the last thing a customer wants to do is create an account for your store, especially without an incentive. You can offer optional account creation in exchange for a discount, but forcing customers to make an account with you prior to purchasing can turn them off the purchase entirely.
As a general rule, the more complicated and time consuming your checkout is, the less likely customers are to complete their purchase. Salecycle states 34% of shoppers abandon the checkout when they are forced to create an account.
Customers want fast and painless checkouts. Think about the popularity of using PayPal Express, or customers saving their information into Chrome. You want to remove any friction your customer encounters during their shopping and checkout experience.
If you want to offer an option to create an account, that’s fantastic! Accounts can be so convenient for customers who want them. Just make sure you aren’t losing sales to customers who can’t be bothered to sign up. Don't forget, you can always encourage customers to sign up after they purchase using your Order Thank You emails!
6. Slow or Untrustworthy Website
Customers have a hard time trusting a website that is poorly laid out or designed, with spelling errors. Typos, dead links, technical bugs or poor copy leave customers feeling like your website isn’t professional, and not legitimate.
This especially applies to mobile versions of your website. Often, a huge percentage of your web traffic will be from mobile users. Sometimes the mobile version can be incompatible with certain browsers or has technical glitches. If your website is not functioning properly for whichever device your customers are using, you can quickly lose the customer’s interest and the sale.
Ensure your website loads quickly, and is free of design and spelling/grammar errors. It’s worth it to double check your website’s copy before publishing it. If you notice after the fact, change it right away to save yourself future sales.
If you can, offer social proof! Customers love to know that other real-life people love your product, and will be more inclined to purchase if you have reviews available. Offer reviews on your products, or a testimonials page linked in your footer. It will be a great asset to your business.
7. Not Ready to Purchase
Sometimes, customers just aren’t ready to commit to the purchase. It’s common for shoppers to browse the internet for products, and research the quality, shipping, coupons, and price. Customers want to find the best value for their dollar.
I myself have definitely done this on my favorite online house plant shop. I fill up a cart every now and again, with full intentions of coming back for it later. More often than not, I am sent an abandoned cart email with a coupon, and I complete the purchase.
This to say, there is a huge opportunity to follow up with these shoppers. If you save even a percentage of these sales, you can recover hundreds, thousands, even millions of dollars in otherwise lost revenue.
Hypothetically that house plant store might make $10,000 a month. This means that without making the most of their abandoned checkouts, they could potentially miss out on as much as $264,000 a year in additional sales. And I might miss out on those additional plants!
While it’s pretty unlikely you can recover all of your abandoned carts, by mitigating the reasons we’ve discovered why people might leave a cart on your store, and by stepping up your abandoned cart recovery strategy, you can increase your conversions and your customer satisfaction all at the same time!