Creative thinking that delivers results

05 Jul

3 tips to curbing online shopping cart abandonment

Category: eCommerce
Written by: Ian Turner
ecommerce, online marketing, digital marketing

As marketers move more and more to becoming a more integral – and quantifiable part of the sales process, they are eager to refine and better influence their ability to ‘close’ sales with customers while limiting the likelihood that these customers won’t buy or may go elsewhere for their online purchase.

Much has been said about what marketers can and can’t do to influence this situation. MarketingProfs recently came out with a thought provoking infographic on why people abandon ecommerce shopping carts. We wanted to take this discussion one step further and provide you with some straightforward tips on how you can minimize the risk your customers won’t buy from your website.

1)    Excessive Shipping Costs

For as long as we can remember, customers have complained about what they deem to be excessive, unreasonable and non-competitive shipping costs as a reason for abandoning their online shopping carts. And while things have improved significantly in this regard in recent years, there are still too many online retailers that don’t believe this aspect is a key part of the buying process for many customers.

As noted by the MarketingProfs article, 23% of online buyers indicated high shipping costs as their primary reason for abandoning their shopping cart, second only to the more benign “just looking” explanation. For Canadian shoppers, a related frustration centres on those large US and foreign retailers that operate a significant bricks and mortar presence in Canada yet fail to provide an online shopping experience that is devoid of international shipping costs, duties and long delays in receiving products.

While we won’t get into the logistics issues related to the latter problem, suffice to say that shipping costs CANNOT in our opinion be a major reason for cart abandonment. The market is simply too competitive and customers are too fickle and price-sensitive to allow this scenario to persist any longer. Retailers risk alienating their loyal customers if this condition is allowed to continue.

2)    Instore Pick-up

One ecommerce best practice that from our perspective has taken longer than expected to catch on with bricks and mortar retailers is the idea of reserving items online for pickup instore in a relatively short period of time.

While we do understand the logistical challenges this concept creates, the fact it offers a new and compelling delivery channel for customers that effectively integrates the online world with the conventional one should be impetus enough for companies to make this a priority for their business.

That this idea can save customers unnecessary shipping costs while providing goods in a more timely manner proves it’s the win-win customers are looking for from their preferred retailers, one that can truly be a home run and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. That it can also help to better manage store inventories is an added bonus that online marketers should not ignore.

3)    Ecommerce chat functionality

Much like an instore transaction, customers often have questions about a product just prior to making the decision to buy. It may have something to do with price, warranty, durability, product details or a variety of other things. Nevertheless, customers may have questions that require an answer just before hitting that buy button that can put their mind at ease and make the purchase decision an easier one.

That’s where chat functionality can come into play as a big win for customers and the businesses that offer it in their e-store. It enables customers to ask specific and often times detailed questions with relative ease that they would often ask instore. The fact they can’t do this easily in the online, ecommerce world could very likely result in increased cart abandonment.

This brings up another related item – generic FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). These are often positioned as a viable solution to customer inquiries and a feasible alternative to online chat. FAQs simply aren’t an adequate solution to satisfy the needs of many customers who have unique needs and questions. They find these FAQs to be too basic and generic, difficult to navigate to find the answers you’re looking for and oftentimes outdated and irrelevant. They just aren’t good enough in many cases!

The one challenge with each of the three recommendations noted above is they all have a ‘cost’ associated with them and thus will have an impact on a company’s bottom line if and when implemented.

The actual costs for each solution will vary based on a variety of factors related to your business and your website so if you’re looking for a more in-depth and personalized analysis specific to your company, it’s best to contact us to setup a meeting to discuss this in greater detail.


We would be happy to sit down with, outline the options available to you based on your unique situation and circumstances and come up with a plan that works for both your company’s strategic priorities and your marketing budget.