5 crucial tips to avoid cart abandonment

The world of e-commerce looks like a zombie apocalypse movie after the virus has broken out and the initial panic has died down. At this point in the movie, the audience is presented with a wide shot of shopping carts; all abandoned precariously along the aisles of the ransacked homeware store.

5 crucial tips to avoid cart abandonment - MadBit Dublin

The global cart abandonment rate for Q3 2017 is 78.4%, up 1.5% on the previous quarter.

source: SalesCycle

Online shops across the globe are littered with abandoned carts. The world of e-commerce looks like a zombie apocalypse movie after the virus has broken out and the initial panic has died down. At this point in the movie, the audience is presented with a wide shot of shopping carts; all abandoned precariously along the aisles of the ransacked homeware store.

You could say the abandoned cart is a global pandemic, much like the zombie virus… but that would be ridiculous. Especially as we have the cure!

Why the potential customer carefully selects a product to Buy now or Add to cart only to never complete the purchase can seem like a perplexing mystery, but there are often very specific reasons why this occurs. The simplest of tweaks to your website’s UX design and a reshuffling of the checkout funnel can dramatically reduce cart abandonment rates while increasing sales.

Take a look at our 5 tips to avoid cart abandonment and find out what you can do to re-engage that hesitant shopper.

5 tips to avoid cart abandonment and re-engage shoppers

1)    Keep it quick and easy

The main reason people buy online instead of in-store is for convenience. Online shopping is expected to be quick and easy, so it is important to meet that expectation. A sense of fluidity should be maintained throughout the checkout funnel, from the moment the customer ends up on the website to the final click they make on Complete purchase.

Check your site performance

According to HubSpot, our attention spans are currently shorter than your typical goldfish, coming it at only 8.25 seconds. For this reason, we would like to take a moment to applaud you for getting this far into our blog. Thank you. But how do you sell to goldfish? At the very least, make sure your website is performing at its best. Consider all lags, crashes, freezes and 404s to be the equivalent of salt water, aka goldfish poison.

No more long forms

Inputting information is the most tedious step in the checkout funnel, especially if you are working on a small screen. Streamline this step as much as possible with autofill fields. If they are already a registered customer, this should be easy. However, a simple trick that will be appreciated by all your customers is the Shipping address is the same as billing address tick box. Remember, whatever makes your customer’s life easier is good for your business.

Easy navigation

Ensure the customer knows where they are at all times. If a button says Back, ask the question back to what? Shopping? The previous step in the checkout process? Similarly, where does Continue lead the customer? Instead of leaving this open to interpretation, use a more definite language to guide the customer along.

It is helpful to keep the checkout process linear and to keep each step in the process visible at all times. This will make it easier for the customer to edit mistakes they may have made in a previous section without losing forward momentum towards the final stage of the checkout.

2)    “Register with us!”

Do you make registration the first step of your customer’s checkout journey? Google released a humorous video, Online Checkout, as a part of their Google Analytics In Real Life series, which depicts why this is a really terrible way to start the checkout process. The video shows how forcing a customer to have an account to purchase an item would never work in a real-life checkout scenario, so why do it online? Granted it is highly beneficial to keep growing your email list, but there are better ways to do this!

Instead of distracting the customer from their purchase by asking whether they are a new or returning user, requesting an email and/or username, and potentially sending them on the longwinded rigmarole that begins with the Forgot username link, make it easy for the customer to follow through on their purchase no matter who they are. For example, Continue as a Guest is a simple yet effective way to allow the customer to circumvent the sign-in process and continue on to checkout.

3)    Returns policy

Where is your returns policy? Is it easily accessible and reassuring for the customer? Buying online has been generally normalised to the point that most people are happy to do it. What has helped this normalisation process immensely is the humble returns policy. The risks that come with not being able to test the product before purchase, of not being able to hold a particular salesperson accountable if anything goes wrong and of paying before having even received the product, are largely pacified by a robust returns policy.

4)    Inspire trust

There are two particularly significant kinds of trust in e-commerce:

  1. trust in the product or service to be as described, and
  2. trust in the security of the company and their website.

Once the customer feels uncertain about either of these factors, they are very likely to grind to a halt mid-checkout, no matter how much they want what is in the cart. So, how can you inspire trust?

Customer reviews

The returns policy ensures that if anything goes wrong, the customer will be taken care of, which is fundamental to good customer service. But ideally, of course, nothing will go wrong! If you know your product or service is great and that once the customer has it, they will be satisfied with their purchase, you want to inspire trust in your offering to help them decide to buy. For obvious reasons, simply telling customers “Our product is fantastic!” won’t do the trick.

BrightLocal’s research into this subject revealed that “88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” Why not make it possible for past customers to either rate their purchase or leave a short review. Not only does this give new customers confidence in your offering but now your returning customers feel valued as well.

88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations - MadBit Dublin


At some point during the checkout process, the customer has to input sensitive information, such as their debit/credit card details. It is at this moment they will decide whether they trust this company and their website. Reassure them by having the appropriate security measures in place, such as providing a secure URL with an SSL certificate, displaying all security certificates in the checkout process and by offering PayPal as a method of payment.

5)    Surprise shipping costs

Your customer has made it to the last and final page of the checkout funnel. Yay, right? Don’t celebrate too soon. If the total price of the purchase has suddenly skyrocketed due to shipping costs, your potential customer will feel robbed, and probably duped. This is bad for the particular sale, but also bad news for your brand.

If shipping costs are going to be expensive, this needs to be communicated to the customer before they have spent valuable time and energy going through every step of your checkout process. However, ideally, this should not be the case. Many customers these days expect free shipping with the option to pick express delivery for an added cost. It is worth noting that although shipping expenses are a real cost for your business, this does not make it an extra service in the eyes of the customer. After all, shipping is simply a necessity when purchasing online.

At the end of the day, a quick and smooth checkout process is essential if you want to reduce cart abandonment. Test, test and test again to make sure you have removed any kinks, idiosyncrasies and roadblocks that may stop people completing a purchase. If you’re unable to identify the problem areas, you can use tracking to see where people are dropping off. Sometimes, relatively small tweaks can have a significant effect on the experience and result in a big increase in sales!

Do you need to make some important changes to your checkout funnel? As experts in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design and strategy, we can help! Get in contact today to optimise your website for a user experience your customers will love.