When shoppers breeze through a brick-and-mortar store without buying something, merchants don’t have many options to re-engage prospective customers except chasing them through the parking lot (not recommended). Online merchants and advertisers, however, are better equipped to reel online shoppers back in if they abandon the checkout process.
Checkout abandonment, or cart abandonment, is when a potential customer adds items to their cart for purchase, starts to checkout, and then drops off without completing the transaction. This can be due to a sudden change of heart for the consumer but, more often than not, it involves friction within your checkout process.
While they both take place within the final steps before conversion, it’s important to note that checkout abandonment and cart abandonment are slightly different. While cart abandonment happens when a consumer adds a product to their online cart but doesn’t start the transaction, checkout abandonment is when a shopper enters the checkout process and drops off before placing the order.
All the top reasons for checkout abandonment come down to one issue: a poor checkout experience. Whether it’s poorly timed forms or hidden fees, ecommerce merchants who note the flaws in their checkout flow and work to fix them can increase their conversion rate by more than 35%.
In reality, 40% of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) said cart abandonment was more than a minor issue, with 12% ranking it as a “significant issue,” according to Paysafe’s “Lost in Transaction" report. But the issue goes deeper because far too many online retailers fail to fully leverage cart abandonment data to convert prospects. It’s more than just an oversight, because not capitalizing on this data means businesses are leaving money on the table.
Reducing checkout abandonment is crucial for improving the overall conversion rate of your online store. Here are some strategies you can implement to keep shoppers engaged through the checkout process.
Keep it simple: Long and complicated checkouts can discourage customers — Keep the number of steps in the payment process to a minimum. Most checkout flows can make a 20–60% reduction in the number of form elements shown to users. Implement a one-page checkout if possible, or use a step-by-step process with a progress indicator. Many users prefer to checkout without making an account — allow them to do so by offering a guest checkout option.
Be transparent with fees: No one likes getting to the final step of checkout only to see an added shipping or convenience fee. Be transparent about the total cost of the purchase, including taxes and shipping fees, as early in the process as possible by providing a cost calculator on product pages or in the shopping cart.
Offer multiple payment options: Offering a variety of payment options, including credit/debit cards, digital wallets and other popular methods will appeal to all shoppers. Consider providing BNPL or installment payment options to cater to even more customers.
Inspire trust and safety: Display trust badges and security seals to reassure customers about the safety of their personal and financial information. Clearly communicate your site's security measures so shoppers don’t abandon their cart before placing the order.
Optimize for mobile shoppers: By 2025, more than 10% of all retail orders will be placed on a mobile device. Especially as this number grows, ensure your website has a responsive web design and optimized navigation to avoid frustrated mobile users abandoning checkout.
Lean into convenience: Online shopping is all about convenience! Make it easier for customers to enter their information by implementing auto-fill features for forms, and allow users to save their shopping cart so they can return to it later without the need to start over.
Stay top-of-mind: Sometimes all a shopper needs is a little push. Use exit-intent popups to offer special deals or discounts to users who are about to abandon checkout. If they continue to abandon their cart, implement an automated system to send reminder emails with the items in their abandoned cart.
Keep your design clean: Make sure your checkout page is simple, well-designed, and easy to navigate. Remove distractions and unnecessary elements. Optimize your checkout (and all pages) to load as quickly as possible so shoppers don’t get frustrated by a slow user experience.
Although the goal is to avoid checkout abandonment altogether, shoppers will likely still slip through the cracks. That’s when data comes into play to reengage those lost customers.
Merchants and online advertisers who tap into cart abandonment data and other customer information can lower customer acquisition cost (CAC), generate better return on investment and increase profitability.
Merchants should aim to recover 10% to 15% of shopping cart abandonment leads. With those figures in mind, consider how much additional revenue you could make if you converted those leads into sales. Moreover, you might have already spent dollars to acquire those leads, so do not let it go to waste.
Whether you call them “prospects” or “partials,” re-engage these shoppers who left your ecommerce store before they forget your product or service.
Break up the checkout process into two web pages so you can capture the shoppers’ contact information on the first page, even if they do not submit their credit card information during the next step. (Be sure to include a progress indicator so shoppers can see remaining steps.)
A sophisticated ecommerce platform should enable merchants to easily track who did not complete checkout, then retarget those prospects. Here are some ways merchants can segment data for retargeting campaigns.
The platform should also allow merchants and advertisers to export this segmented data or connect data through integrations with other ecommerce tools.
Once merchants and advertisers dial in on shoppers who did not complete checkout, the next step is deciding how to retarget them. Consider the following three channels for retargeting cart abandonment leads. Keep in mind your customer acquisition cost (CAC) for these campaigns will be lower compared to working off a cold lead list because these shoppers have already shown interest.
Email nurture campaigns: Sending targeted emails is still an effective way to reach shoppers while keeping CAC low. Incentivize email receivers to immediately purchase by offering discounts, bundles or savings on their next purchase. Be sure to select an email automation solution that uses machine learning to determine the optimal times to send messages.
SMS follow-ups: Complement email campaigns with SMS marketing, especially as consumers grow more comfortable receiving texts from brands. An Omnisend study reported a 10.7% click rate for SMS marketing messages worldwide in 2022.
Call center outreach: Use call center agents to contact prospects who did not complete checkout. Instruct the agent to complete the transaction over the phone. This is also the perfect opportunity to offer a subscribe-and-save option if available.
Like all campaigns, it is essential to test and refine these retargeting strategies. Compare conversion rates from cart abandonment leads with leads from other traffic sources to determine which strategy proves most successful.
Connecting with prospective customers can be challenging if an ecommerce platform cannot easily connect to other retargeting technology. Since sticky.io is an API-driven platform, it's simple to integrate with SMS platforms, email marketing providers, call centers and other ecommerce tools. Before migrating to a new ecommerce platform, check with the provider to make sure the platform can support your specific retargeting strategy and fits with your current technology stack.
Online retailers and advertisers consistently hunt for more consumer data. But a database brimming with buyer behavior details can only go so far. By capturing cart abandonment data and retargeting prospective customers, merchants can ensure these shoppers — and their dollars — do not slip through the cracks.