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Capturing the sale - reducing basket abandonment in eCommerce

Dan Bond
February 9, 2024
4 mins

There are quite a few big hairy problems that online retailers face. And one of the biggest and hairiest is basket abandonment.

Every eCommerce brand has site visitors who browse, select some products, and then vanish like a puff of smoke just before they hit the pay button.

This all-too-common scenario represents a colossal missed opportunity, as widely reported over 70% of all online shopping carts are being abandoned.

This doesn't just signify a lost sale; it signals an incomplete customer journey, a leak in the sales funnel, and perhaps most dauntingly, a missed opportunity to engage with and understand your customer base.

"Shopping cart abandonment is the single largest obstacle for eCommerce retailers to overcome."

Dan Zarrella

Basket abandonment isn't simple

A shopper lands on your page. They browse through the items, adding a few to their cart. Yet, they never proceed to checkout. This is the crucial moment of basket abandonment.

The stakes are high. Reducing this phenomenon by even a fraction means a direct increase in your sales - but reduction requires understanding.

The why of abandonment

To solve a problem, you must know its roots. Abandonment can happen for a bunch of reasons - from high shipping costs, the need to create an account, a complicated checkout process, or simply a lack of payment options.

Understanding the reasons behind your basket abandonment is essential in reducing it.

The impact of user experience

The eternal quest is to make the user experience seamless. A difference between customer expectations and what you're offering can lead to abandonment.

To enhance user experience, good practice is to provide clear, detailed product information, maintain a visually appealing site that is easy to navigate, and ensure a smooth, uncomplicated checkout process.

Easy to say! (Or write)

Timing is everything

Customers' interest may wane with time. An abandoned cart email sent within an hour might just be the gentle push they need to complete the purchase.

The world is full of distractions - and if someone's focus shifts, it might stop them from buying. Urgency is a real motivator.

Winning at every phase - general approaches to reduce abandonment

We'll delve into specific offer tactics in a bit, but before we do that, let's nail down a few overarching approaches that apply to every phase of the eCommerce journey.

Streamline your checkout

There's a reason Amazon's one-click ordering works so well. A complicated checkout process is a sales killer. Minimize the steps required to complete a purchase and make guest checkout as easy as possible.

Be transparent with costs

Hidden costs are not just frustrating; they erode trust. Ensure that shipping costs are fair and clear from the beginning - consider absorbing some of these costs if feasible.

Trust and security

Ensure your customers feel safe and don't consider you a risk with visual security features, trusted payment options, and a return policy that's easy to find and understand.

Mobile optimization

More than half of all online shopping happens on mobile devices. Probably while people are in bed or on the toilet. If your store isn't optimized for mobile, you're missing out on many potential sales.

Using offers to reduce abandonment

The general levers are important and will definitely help. But they take time and investment to get right. Offers, promotions, and discounts are great ways to quickly solve your abandonment issues and allow you to learn more about what motivates your shoppers.

Skillfully navigating this territory can lead those lost baskets back to your shore. Here are some real examples from RevLifter customers:

Ctrl+C codes – granular approach to price comparison

Sports retailer Shop4Runners tackled the price comparison challenge head-on with Ctrl+C Codes. This offered customers €10 off when they copied a product name to go and look for a lower price, keeping them on the site and away from potential competitors.

Exit-intent deals – the art of re-engagement

Premium sportswear maker and retailer Splits59 wanted to reduce abandonment from new customers. Anyone who had already bought from Splits59 were identified by their customer ID. They received "10% off" their purchase, whereas new customers, the priority segment, received "15% off".

Error-code offers – transforming setbacks into sales

By recognizing that customers often abandon orders after entering a code that couldn't be redeemed, Error-code offers helped beauty retailer Wet n Wild offer a 10% discount to complete the sale, increasing conversions.

Optimizing for conversion - using testing to find what works

A/B testing is your best friend, opening doors to customer insights and conversion ratio clarity.

Testing different offer types

Not all offers are created equal. One customer may respond well to a discount, while another may prefer a free gift. Test to find the right formula for each website segment.

Experiment with timing

This involves when the offers are shown and also when reminders are sent. Test different intervals to find the sweet spot.

Personalize the experience

Use data to create customer segments and personalize your offers. Make them feel that the offer was crafted just for them based on what they're interested in.

Don't abandon hope

Bringing abandoned baskets back to life requires strategy, insight, and the occasional dash of creative thinking.