6 ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Aug 30 2019 | PayPal editorial staff | 6 min read

Did you know that, on average, 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed? It’s one of the biggest challenges for selling online.
Why do shoppers select products but leave without buying? Sometimes it’s because they can only pay with a credit card, and they don’t want to. Others might not feel confident that the site’s payments are secure. And people shopping on mobiles often abandon a purchase due to overly complex or confusing checkouts.
So let’s look at 6 ways you can improve your checkout and encourage shoppers to complete their purchases.

1. Put yourself in their shoes

Checkouts that seem simple to you may actually frustrate, confuse or annoy your customers. Annoyed, confused and frustrated customers are less likely to complete a sale.
Too often, businesses develop websites without ever experiencing the checkout flow from a customer’s point of view. If you walk through the checkout process as a customer would, you can learn a lot. So how do you “play customer”?
 
  • Leave your expectations at the door. Approach your site without preconceived notions of how it should work. Don’t just test features you know and understand – make mistakes and see what happens.
  • Pay attention to every step. Where do you get stuck or feel frustrated? Make a note of those specific pages or actions – that’s where you’re most likely to lose customers.
  • Ask your family and friends to help. Ask people who don’t know much about the inner workings of your site or business to test your site and buy something. Watch them while they browse for products, place items in the shopping cart, and try to check out – and jot down where they hit snags. Even two or three such “testers” can help you uncover your biggest problem areas.
  • Buy from other sites. Go through the checkout of other online stores and compare their processes to yours.
  • Don’t try to solve everything at once. Focus your efforts on making the experience faster, easier and more secure, and you’ll be addressing the most common reasons customers fail to complete online purchases.
 

2. Remove obstacles

When you design an eCommerce website, the little things matter. What may seem like a small step – requesting one more piece of information or adding one more screen before checkout – can be the trigger that makes a potential buyer abandon their shopping cart. The more screens, the more input fields, the more likely customers are to walk away from a purchase.

Streamline your checkout process and get rid of any obstacles on the path between product selection and completing a purchase.
 
  • Keep it simple. Only ask for the information you need to fulfil an order. Never ask for the same information twice.
  • Use autofill. Greet returning customers with pre-populated form fields so they don’t need to re-enter billing and shipping information.
  • Remember what you learn. If a customer makes an error or forgets to complete a required field, just flag the problem. Making a customer re-enter an entire page of information is an excellent way to lose a sale.
  • Offer a shortcut. Add a PayPal button to the shopping cart page so customers who choose PayPal don’t need to enter billing and shipping information.
 

3. Go easy on data collection

Just because you can gather data about customers, doesn’t mean you should. Weigh up your desire for customer data against your need for them to complete the sale. If you ask for unnecessary information (like their date of birth or for them to sign up to a newsletter), you may frustrate your customers or even make them suspicious. That’s hardly a positive sales experience.

Remember that a quick, successful checkout nets you a valuable result: a happy customer who is more likely to return.

Instead, save those requests for information for post-checkout or return visits. While first-time customers are simply interested in checking out quickly, returning customers are more likely to value the benefits of setting up an account, such as pre-populated forms and faster checkout.

The ”thank you” page is also a good place to ask buyers to create an account or sign up for a newsletter – it doesn’t get in the way of completing their purchase and helps encourage post-sale engagement.  
 

4. Think mobile first

Smartphones and tablets are everyday tools. In 2018, 72% of Aussies shopped on their mobile, and 48% of them did so every week. 30% of mobile shoppers abandoned a purchase because the experience wasn’t mobile-friendly.

But smaller mobile screens and buying on the go creates an environment ripe for cart abandonment. The takeaway? Online sellers must optimise their sites for simple mobile payments or lose out. To make your site mobile-friendly:
 
  • Design for small screens. A mobile-optimised website is good. A mobile-responsive website – where a site flows and scales to suit the browser or device screen – is better. Your eCommerce site should adapt on the fly, working on a small screen as well as it does on a large one.
  • Use larger fonts and buttons. Place action buttons (like “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now”) at the top and bottom of each page.
  • Cut down the data entry. Everything we’ve said in this guide about streamlining checkout goes double for mobile.
  • Test, test, test. Your site should look good and work smoothly on a wide range of devices and operating systems. Get your friends and family involved to maximise your testing reach.
 

5. Share the right information at the right time

Giving your customers the right information at the right time in the checkout flow minimises confusion – and that can help reduce shopping cart abandonment.
 
  • Eliminate surprises. As soon as a customer adds a product to their shopping cart, display the product description, item price and shipping cost.
  • Brand the experience. Add your logo and colours to each page of the checkout experience, including the PayPal checkout page. It boosts customers’ confidence that they’re on the right path.
  • Highlight payment options early on. Alert customers to all your available payment options before they reach the shopping cart. That way, they know they can pay with their preferred method.
  • Provide a roadmap. Show buyers where they are in the checkout process – it’s a good way to keep them moving toward the final step. A flow diagram or numbered steps (for example, “Step 3 of 4”) can reduce a customer’s anxiety or frustration.
 

6. Give customers more payment choices

Showing shoppers that you offer their favourite ways to pay can improve sales. In fact, just knowing they can pay with PayPal has a powerful effect on customers; accepting PayPal Checkout can give you up to 82% better checkout conversions.*
 
  • Highlight PayPal. Make the PayPal acceptance mark clearly visible on your home and product pages. Ideally, it should be high on the page so shoppers don’t need to scroll down to see it. If that doesn’t work for your site, list PayPal alongside other payment types elsewhere on the homepage. Many sites put this information in the footer as well as at the top of the homepage.
  • Provide a checkout shortcut. Use the “Check Out with PayPal” button to give customers a shortcut through the checkout process and reduce the likelihood of them abandoning a shopping cart. Add the button to the shopping cart or initial checkout page next to your standard checkout button. You can even add it directly to your product pages for faster purchases.
  • Partner with a payment platform like Braintree. An innovative gateway can provide all the latest payment options, including the ability to pay by Apple Pay, Google Pay and other digital wallets.
  • *comScore online panel, Q4 2017. Analysed shopping behaviour of 1 million US consumers on 20 large merchant sites. Checkout conversion is measured from the point where customer selects a payment type to completion of purchase.
     

 
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.