Did you know that the average conversion rate for most ecommerce stores is just 3%? This means that for every 100 potential customers visiting your site, 97 of them will leave without buying.

While a 3% conversion rate is certainly not to be sniffed at, it can be dramatically improved by making a few simple changes to your checkout process.

I recently read an interesting study conducted by Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) about why customers are abandoning cart. I‘d like to share some of their findings with you, and offer you some tips to help you reduce your own cart abandonment rates.

Let me start with some interesting numbers from the VWO study:

  • Around 70% of all carts are abandoned
  • At 28%, unexpected shipping cost is the main reason for cart abandonment among online shoppers
  • At 23%, having to create a new user account is the second biggest reason for cart abandonment
  • 54% of shoppers say they will purchase products they left in their cart, if offered again at a discounted price

And that’s not all. 16% of shoppers say they’ve left the checkout process because they were just conducting research, while 13% are worried about payment security so decide not to proceed. A further 12% of shoppers abandoned their cart due to a confusing checkout process, and the rest are leaving because they want to use a coupon code to save money but haven’t been able to find one.

Slow sites, prices shown in foreign currencies, excessive security checks, unsuitable delivery options… there are so many reasons why people can and will jump ship throughout the checkout process.

Every time a potential customer leaves your checkout without purchasing, you’ve lost a sale. And with a high cart abandonment rate comes a low conversion rate, meaning a loss of money for your business. Abandoned carts represent such a significant amount of lost revenue for e-merchants that it’s surprising to see that so many are still getting it so wrong with their checkout processes.

Yet by simply declaring shipping costs and other potential costs upfront and offering a guest check out, abandonment rates can be lowered by more than 50%.


5 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Improve Your Conversions

There is a lot you can do to reduce the rate of cart abandonment and in turn, dramatically increase your revenue. By implementing just a few of the below ideas, you’ll be amazed at the difference you can make to your conversions.


  1. Clearly Display All Shipping Costs (and Consider Offering Free Shipping)

With unexpected shipping costs the reason for the majority of cart abandonment, you can’t afford to keep these hidden until the last minute. Likewise, make sure your customer is aware of any other additional fees and charges before they reach the checkout. With over half of online shoppers now expecting free shipping, it’s also a good idea to consider offering this. A study by E-tailing group found unconditional free shipping to be the most important factor leading customers to complete a purchase.

When they don’t have to pay for delivery, your customers are also likely to purchase more products. If you do offer free shipping, make sure you display this clearly on your site, and remind your customers how much they are saving at the checkout.


  1. Provide a Guest Checkout

How annoying is it when you’ve spent time shopping on a website and found something you want to buy… only to find that you’re forced to create an account before you can make your purchase? Customers see having to create an account as a barrier to making their purchase. So consider adding an option to create an account after the customer has purchased, using the details that they have entered at the guest checkout. This removes both the barrier and the effort from your customer. By simply removing any mention of creating an account at the registration page, online fashion retailer ASOS actually managed to half their checkout abandonment rate.


  1. Display Security Logos

A quick and easy way of reassuring your customer and boosting their confidence in your site is to display security logos. Many people will decide to leave their purchase completely if they are unsure how secure an online store is. Most people feel confident shopping on big, popular ecommerce sites, but not so much when it comes to smaller, unknown sites. Clearly display your security features to put your customers mind at ease and to reassure them that their purchase is being made safely and securely.


  1. Optimise Error Messages

Although errors during form completions are not that frequent, not being able to resolve issues results in cart abandonment. It’s crucial to help your customers solve any issues they might have completing check out forms. Besides highlighting the erroneous field, it is vital that the error message itself is dynamic.

For example, don’t simply say ‘invalid phone number’. Provide your user with the actual validation rule trigged, such as ‘phone number can only contain numbers’ or ‘phone number should be 10 digits’. This will improve your user’s error solving and lower your abandonment rate.


  1. Use Remarketing

Remarketing has huge potential for converting abandoners into buyers. By keeping track of people who visit your site and using a service like Google Adwords or AdRoll to display your retargeting ads to them when they visit other sites online you can greatly increase your conversions. Fashion retailer PeopleTree used retargeting to get 30% of non-converting visitors to return to their website.

More than 50% of online shoppers claim they would probably purchase the product they’ve left in their cart if merchant would offer it to them at a discounted price, so capture your customers email address early in the checkout process and send them a personalized email with a special offer to entice them back to complete their order.


Customer Experience is Key to a Successful Checkout Process

Cart abandonment is losing your business money, so don’t lose site of the customer experience at this vital step. You’ve already put a lot of time, money and effort into attracting visitors to your site, so don’t fall at the last hurdle by turning them away with a poorly designed checkout process. You should be doing everything you can to ensure your customers stay to complete their purchase.

With just a few simple changes to make your checkout process a lot more user-friendly, you can dramatically decrease the amount of customers abandoning their cart at checkout, and significantly increase your revenue.