12 Optimization Techniques to Reduce Cart Abandonment


Reducing any friction in your shopping cart and checkout process is a significant Conversion Rate Optimization enabler. There are several areas within an e-Commerce site that offer opportunities to maximize shopping cart and increase the average order value. In this post, I’ll focus on a few methods you can consider to reduce your cart abandonment and increase your cart value. A standard shopping cart checkout process typically will involve the following five steps:

  1. Add to Cart
  2. Shipping
  3. Credit Card Entry
  4. Confirmation
  5. Order Processing

Add to Cart Rate: The number of unique users that added items to the shopping cart, divided by the total unique users for a given time period

Finished Cart Rate: The number of unique users that added items to the cart and proceeded to the shipping page, divided by the unique users who added items to their cart for a given time period

Finished Shipping Rate: The number of unique users that filled out shipping information and proceeded to the next step, divided by the total unique users who reached the shipping page

Checkout Rate: Assuming ‘Checkout’ is the last step in your shopping cart and confirms payment, then ‘Checkout rate’ is measured by the number of unique users who purchased products, divided by the number of unique users that submitted shipping information

Cart Abandon Rate: This is a measure of the number of unique users who added items to the cart who did not go on to make an actual purchase

Cart/Purchase Rate: This is a metric that indicates purchase completion rates against the number of unique users who added items to the cart

Now that we have got the jargon out of our way, let us look at these optimization techniques to reduce cart abandonment:

  1. Persistent Shopping Cart: Visitors on your site might abandon their shopping cart for various reasons. Visitors that are comparison shopping might exit to return at a later time – or day – to continue from where they left off. By having a persistent shopping cart, the items added to the shopping cart will remain days or weeks after the user first visited. Therefore, increasing the possibility of conversion – without the customer having to go through the process over again
  2. Clear Progress Indicators: Customers usually don’t have the patience to go through an elaborate checkout process. Breaking down your checkout process into smaller parts could give your users the impression of a shorter checkout process – use this technique only if the form fields in your checkout form are indispensable and cannot be eliminated. In this case, instead of having a single long checkout page, break the form elements into sub groups and include a progress bar indicator
  3. Payment Options: First time users of your site may not be very comfortable keying in their card details into your site. Providing your customers with multiple payment options will certainly help improve your conversion rate
  4. Perpetual Shopping Cart: Visitors might be sifting through products within your site without a strong purchase intent or might be in half mind whether or not to purchase. Your best bet to convince these customers to convert is to deploy a perpetual shopping cart. A perpetual shopping cart, as the name suggests, displays the contents of the cart at all times even as your site visitors are browsing through your website trying to decide if they like something
  5. Upsell: The product should be related. Try upselling products that are equal, 20% cheaper, 60% cheaper and so on to know the optimal price point that works. If they are purchasing trousers, upsell a belt and so forth
  6. Non-Commital CTA: Call-To-Action that requires customers to commit makes some customers jittery. Using CTA such as “Add to Cart” rather than “Purchase Now” may help
  7. A/B Testing: Test your Call-to Action – this includes your CTA phrases as well as the button colour. As mentioned above, test “Add to Cart” versus “Purchase Now” to compare results
  8. Guest Checkout: Provision for guest checkout for customers that aren’t interested to log in/register on your site
  9. Form Analytics: Brevity is a virtue as far as shopping cart forms are concerned. With key insights from Analytics, you can understand form fields that are redundant, the ones that cause the maximum cart abandonment, the form fields that take the maximum time to complete and many other key insights to help you optimize your forms
  10. Link Analytics: Track link clicks closely during your customers’ checkout journey. Clicks leading to site exits, or otherwise deviating customers from the defined conversion path should be removed from the checkout path pronto
  11. Segment: Analytics lets you segment your site users in many ways. For instance, track how purchasers behave differently from non-purchasers. Analyze the behaviour flow of non-purchases and compare against that of purchasers to understand their drop-off points
  12. Trustmarks: This is a no-brainer. Customers would expect that their sensitive data remains confidential. A site that acknowledges this implicit but important requirement stands to gain by registering a higher conversion rate. SSL Certificates, Site security certificates, etc., are examples of Trustmarks

Hope you found this post useful. It’s your turn now. Are there cart optimization techniques you find particularly effective. Have you seen significant improvement in conversion rates post deploying some optimization techniques? What have been some key highlights or lowlights of the optimization exercise? Please use the comments section below to leave a line.

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