Cart abandonment refers to a consumer behavior whereby a consumer does not complete a purchase, despite having added items to their online shopping cart. High cart abandonment rates can be frustrating and costly to resolve if you don’t know where to look. Deserted carts mean that all the investment into marketing and acquiring the customer has not borne any fruit.
Unfortunately, consumers abandon their carts often. Recent research by bSecure into 200 small-sized merchants indicates that Cart Abandonment has reached an all-time high in 2021, lingering at 77% for our sample. Beyond the immediate loss of revenue, if customers are abandoning their carts due to difficulties or distractions of your Checkout journey, they may never return.
Consumers abandon their carts for many reasons. Merchants cannot minimize all the causes for this behavior however some aspects remain well within their reach. The choices businesses make while constructing their checkout journeys directly impact how many customers leave at the doorstep.
The most efficient checkout journeys utilize behavioral economics and psychology to motivate their customers and to understand what drives them away. Some of the key insights from these fields are discussed below:
The Pleasure Principle is a Freudian theory that aims to explain what motivates people to make the decisions they make. According to this theory, people are genetically predisposed to seek pleasure over pain. This means that consumers prefer to be gratified instantly and is partly why most people think eCommerce has been so successful.
For online retailers, this means that your customers should be able to access their desired goods quickly and with very little friction. Compromising convenience will cost you extra as customers turn away and find more seamless experiences elsewhere.
While it may seem that instant gratification is new to eCommerce, it isn’t. Brands across the globe spend a large chunk of their time and resources on building awe-inspiring shopping experiences. While landing and product page journeys have been widely explored, merchants often overlook the last step of the journey: Checkout.
How should you optimize your Checkouts, then? As a guiding principle, it may be helpful to remember that UI goals that apply to the rest of the website like Speed, matter here as well. Two critical things to watch out for are:
Once customers have reached the checkout stage, they only want to do one thing: checkout. Distractions at the stage of the shopping process decreases the likelihood of you making a sale. However, many merchants still force their consumers to engage in tedious tasks and one of the prime culprits for this is the “Registration Form”. Baymard reports that in the United States in 2021, 24% of the consumers abandoned their carts because the site required them to create an account, which involves filling out registration forms. For consumers, filling out lengthy forms delays the gratification a purchase might provide, consequently driving them to alternatives that manage to fulfill their needs faster.
However, there are businesses that require accounts for their customers– subscription-based models for physical or digital goods are a good example of this. For these retailers, it is essential that they reduce friction as much as they can. They can do this by enabling auto-fill capabilities and ensuring that when customers do have to enter information, they are shown the relevant keyboard i.e numeric for ZIP codes, etc.
Retailers can go a step beyond this as well: Shops can integrate their checkout experiences with the larger customer experience of their brand. Techniques like Gamification can keep your customers engaged on screens that are slow to load. While positive reinforcement of your Value-Added Services through notifications and banners can keep customers interested long term.
Regardless of business models, merchants need to pay sharp attention to minimizing the information needed at the checkout stage and only demand what is essential. Retailers can also benefit from making certain text fields optional or bypassing the need for accounts by offering Guest Logins.
Due to the Security vs. Ease tradeoff, merchants must always balance checkout convenience with security. Decreasing risky transactions is not only good business but research indicates that online shoppers are willing to compromise on speed if it provides them peace of mind.
Further analysis of consumer behavior shows that buyers are likely to abandon their carts when they don’t trust the site with their credit/debit card information. This lack of trust is more detrimental than longer checkout experiences or unavailability of preferred payment methods.
UI additions like well-positioned customer reviews, independent ratings, and regulatory badges, as well as, a clearly stated Returns or Exchange Policy can provide the consumer with the last nudge of confidence they need at the doorstep. Additionally, it can help to keep your customers informed before they reach the checkout stage. Layer information about taxes and delivery costs throughout your website so the consumer is not in for a shock as the payment page loads.
While providing customers with a choice is popularly considered to be positive, psychologists believe that it may backfire. In his book, The Paradox of Choice, Schwartz explains how freedom of choice can result in people feeling powerless and frustrated. With too many choices, shoppers tend to focus on the products they rejected, more than the value of the product they chose. Hence, cutting down on choice can significantly reduce stress for your customers.
In an online scenario, this means that merchants should focus on the payment methods they offer. Too many payment options can overwhelm your customer at the checkout, however too few, can drive your customers away. Each retailer must pay careful attention to their consumer’s needs and data to find the right level of choice for their business.
Due to the nature of the internet, even when a merchant implements best practices, customers can get distracted and leave. Instant messaging and email continue to be the biggest causes of distraction, closely followed by pop-ups and notifications. Had these digital distractions not been enough, the real world is also full of noisy streets and ringing doorbells. Some scientific research suggests that people are genetically predisposed to getting distracted easily. For retailers this means that, retaining attention at the checkout is crucial. However, if a customer does get distracted, make sure that they are remembered when they return. Moreover, data shows that cart recovery emails can nudge 5% of the “lost” customers to return and complete their purchase. If your online business is run through an app, push notifications can help you achieve the same ends.
A nine-year study by Baymard found that retailers of large-sized eCommerce sites could gain a 35% increase in checkout conversion by working on design flaws. Hence, businesses can no longer treat the checkout process as something to be mindlessly added at the end of the user journey. Instead, this stage of the shopping experience needs dedicated study and attention. This is why bSecure has already done the hard work for you.
Our Developers have worked tirelessly to ensure that our merchants don’t lose their customers to clunky interfaces and distracting design. Our checkout solution is simple to set up and offers multiple other advantages such as: