A new customer comes to your site. Maybe they were Googling a product that you happen to sell, or maybe they clicked on a Facebook ad of yours.
They land on the page, take a look around, and like what they see. Whether this particular guy came for something specifically, or he's doing the online equivalent of window shopping, he picks out the product he wants and adds it to his cart.
Then, he goes to your checkout page.
“Oh, great,” he thinks to himself, “you have to make an account to check out.” He sighs, and goes to start filling out your signup form.
First name, last name, address, phone number. He's on his tablet, and his browser doesn't have an autofill feature.
His phone rings. It's his friend Charlie.
“Oh, hey Charlie. Yeah, cool. Ok, yeah, I totally saw that.”
In the distance, he hears the distinctive crash of porcelain shattering on a tile floor.
“Hang on a sec, something fell,” he says.
He walks into his dining room to see the floor covered in sharp, pointy blue and white shards. On the shelf, his cat gives him a sheepish look.
“Great,” he says to Charlie. “Hang on a minute, dude, my cat knocked a vase over and it broke and went everywhere.”
To make matters worse, this one was a real antique. It was an actual, honest to god Ming vase, dating all the way back to the 1860s.
He grabs a broom and dustpan from the linen closet. “I'll call you back, Charlie, I've gotta clean this up.”
With all this going on, he's got a lot on his mind. Scolding the cat, cleaning up the vase, calling his friend back.
He never did get around to paying for the product. Too much going on. He decides that it's just not worth the effort, at least right now. A month later, he finally remembers it, and he does buy it after all — from your direct competitor.
This rather banal little story is pretty realistic, all things considered. The fact is, life happens.
And when it does, you end up with the most frustrating thing ever for online retailers: abandoned shopping carts.
They came so close to buying something from you. But something else came along. People are busy. Sometimes, things get put on the back burner. And when they do, they're often forgotten entirely.
In a recent blog post at Quicksprout, digital marketing master Neil Patel has some solid suggestions for finding ways to minimize the likelihood of an abandoned cart.
Allow your customers to check out without creating a profile
Obviously, you want customers to have an account with your company.
It’s a great way to track their behavior and keep them informed of special offers and promotions.
However, you shouldn’t be forcing people to create a user profile just to make a purchase.
- It’s an extra step. People are in a rush, and you want the procedure to be quick.
- They may have a fear of getting unwanted emails, text messages, or junk mail.
If your website doesn’t have a guest checkout option, you’re making a mistake.
Here’s an example from Lululemon of the guest checkout option:
It’s a really clean checkout page.
There are two clear options.
Returning users can easily sign into their accounts, and customers without an account can proceed without creating one.
This ensures you aren’t losing sales.
Here’s the thing, though. In order to complete the checkout process, the customer still needs to enter their information.
You’ll have their name, email address, location, and other information.
Once the sale is final, you can entice them to create an account.
All they need to do is create a password.
You already have everything else in your records, so they don’t need to submit information twice.
Here’s a great example of what this should look like:
Give the customer a reason to create an account.
Refer to the image above.
What’s the customer getting in return?
- Option to track the order
- Exclusive discounts
But they shouldn’t be forced to create a profile just to make a purchase.
Make sure that’s optional.
Send an email reminder if a cart is abandoned
Okay. So you may not be able to prevent everyone from abandoning their shopping carts.
Even if you decrease the abandonment rate, you won’t get that number down to zero.
Where do you go from here?
Don’t give up just because a customer abandoned their cart.
If you have their information, reach out and send them a reminder.
Here’s a great example from Saatchi Art:
This email accomplishes a few things:
- reminds the customer of their shopping
- creates a sense of urgency
- offers an extra incentive
The reminder alone may be enough to get the customer to finalize their purchase.
But if it’s not, it creates a sense of urgency by saying “high sell-out risk.”
We’ll get into some more detail on this method shortly.
It also provides an extra incentive by offering a 10% discount.
Earlier we discussed that customers are price sensitive.
They may have abandoned the cart for financial reasons.
Giving the consumer a discount will show them you care.
That promotion may be enough of a reason for them to finish the checkout.
Create a sense of urgency
Earlier I mentioned that Saatchi Art created a sense of urgency with their abandonment recovery email.
FOMO—the fear of missing out.
You can do this on your checkout page as well to reduce cart abandonment.
Some customers are just browsing.
New customers most likely won’t buy something on their first visit to your website.
But you can give them an extra incentive to finalize their purchases.
Create a sense of urgency.
- “Limited quantity remaining”
- “Sale price expires at midnight”
- “14 people booked this flight in the last 24 hours”
- “9 other people are looking at this room right now”
I’m sure you’ve seen phrasing like this before while browsing online.
Hotels and airlines do this all the time.
Act now, or miss out.
You can incorporate this psychological strategy into your checkout process to minimize cart abandonment.
You can read more about preventing shopping cart abandonment over at Quicksprout.