April 11th, 2010 | 3 MIN READ

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment: 10 No-Brainers

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

If you're an online retailer, you care about reducing your shopping cart abandonment rate. 'Nuff said. The following are 10 no-brainer ways to turn abandoned carts into completed orders.

1. Keep the cart alive

According to a study by SeeWhy, 16% of males and 26% of females abandoned a cart because they wanted to complete the purchase later. Many customers expect that their carts will remain in tact when they return. Persistent shopping carts maintain cart contents using persistent cookies.

2. Allow guest checkout

According to Forrester Research, 23% of shoppers will abandon when asked to register before checking out. Unless you absolutely must require registration, test a guest checkout and see how much it impacts conversion.

If you already have guest checkout, consider testing its placement on the page. Presenting it before the login fields (left side, so customer "sees" it first) may also give you a boost.

3. Conduct a split path test

A checkout process with many steps (pages) can appear daunting and difficult. Reducing steps in the checkout process can help. Conversion optimization guru Bryan Eisenberg recommends using no more than 4 steps, and conducting split path tests.

4. Win their trust

Security badges, SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates, lock icons, privacy policies and "shop with confidence" links can all ease a customer's fears of sharing personal information with you.

Don't forget to place security assurances where customers feel the most anxiety (hint: near the credit card field).

5. Use inline validation

Instead of showing errors after a form has been submitted, notify customers of incorrect input as they fill out the form using inline validation. One usability study found a 22% improvement in success rate with this tactic.

6. Decode the CVV

If you require the CVV (card verification value) code that appears on the back of the customer's credit card, make sure you explain how to find it. Novice online shoppers may have never been asked, since retail stores don't require it. The CVV code is only required in card-not-present situations.

7. Make the button big!

No joke, cart button size, color, text and placement can impact conversion. Marketing Sherpa credits cart button design as one of 7 tweaks that helped Newegg.com boost online sales by 30%.

Need some inspiration?

8. Provide contact info and live chat

Make sure your customer service number and live chat links are prominent in the checkout process in case there is a problem with the website or the customer needs to ask a question. A study by BoldChat found that 76% of customers want to chat about cart abandonment.

9. Optimize for performance

As we learned in our webinar Every Second Counts: How Web Performance Impacts Shopping Behavior, consumer expectations for page load speed are getting higher and higher each year. Forrester Research found 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% would abandon if it takes more than 3 seconds. This is true not only for home pages and product pages, but each step of your checkout.

Payment gateways can often slow down your response time, especially when they are not located near the customer. Make sure you are testing regularly, in more than one geographic location, and optimizing your site with services like Strangeloop, Akamai and Gomez.

10. Pull the trigger

If you've captured an email address in the first steps of the checkout process, you can send a triggered email (or triggered coupon) which may save the sale.

Though easy to execute, only ~11% of the Internet Retailer 500 follow up with abandoned carts by email. Here are some tips to get you started.

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