Basket abandonment at any stage of the checkout is one of the key challenges facing any ecommerce business and the abandonment rate has been increasing over the years with rates averaging the 40-50% mark in the early 2010s and a 65-75% average right now! (Baymard Institute). A couple of studies have even shown that the rate can even reach 79% (Listrak, AbandonAid).
Why do Customers Abandon their Basket?
Now, in all fairness to online retailers, drop off is to be expected as consumers window shop, compare prices, aren’t ready to buy yet, saving products for later, exploring gifting options etc – especially over the Christmas shopping period. However, if you remove this element, the top 5 reasons for a customer to leave a website, as the Baymard Institute found, at the checkout stage are:
- Additional costs (shipping, taxes, fees) – 61% !!!!!!
- No guest checkout – 35%
- Complex/long checkout process – 27%
- Unclear order summary – 24%
- Website errors/crash – 22%
Christmas is the busiest shopping period of the year, so if a website is not optimised to prevent basket abandonment, this will hit retailers harder. From Singles Day and Cyber Monday, all the way to the January sales period, retailers will see higher basket values and for SMEs certainly, this shopping period could form a majority of annual sales (up to 40%, according to StitchLabs).
Unlike the ‘just browsing’ segment of customers, the good news is that the above issues can be resolved with Design and Development changes to your website. So, how should retailers be optimising their checkout experience to reduce basket abandonment over this peak shopping period? With seven years of experience in helping our ecommerce clients prepare for Christmas, we’ve shared our top five tips for increasing revenue and decreasing basket abandonment.
(1) Clarity on costs (ALL OF THEM)
The Festive buying bonanza is all about price for a large majority of customers, so if your prices for products, delivery, taxes etc are not made clear from the start, you’ll see an increase in drop off from the buying journey and potentially, fewer customers shopping with you in the future.
Unclear costs to the consumer will cost you money, so ensuring your website is optimised from the first points of engagement will help to increase revenue and customer retention. Ask yourself if you are giving customers a clear picture of their order end to end with the following features:
- Static blocks – highlight any discounts, delivery information (eg free UK delivery) or other promotions in your website’s main header. This will get your customers’ attention and clearly show why they should shop with you over someone else.
- Clear shipping/delivery costs on your product page – if you’re a global shipper with multiple Magento store views, you could consider a shipping calculator at this level of the buying journey.
- Offer free delivery and quick shipping with a clear timescale for delivery to manage customer expectations – it might not make business sense to offer this all year round, but you could create a sense of urgency by offering this service over the Christmas period.
- Well-placed details of any additional fees eg gift wrapping, handling, taxes etc – a good ecommerce user experience will position important details clearly and in a prominent position so that they’ll be noticed by the customer.
(2) Promote the guest checkout
Over a quarter of shoppers leave a website because the checkout process is too long or they’ve been made to create an account. By highlighting your awesome ‘express’ or ‘fast lane’ checkout experience, you can help to keep customers on a clear shopping path.
Outline the benefits of the guest checkout on your site by including words like ‘fast’, ‘easy’, ‘quick’, ‘speedy’ on calls to action buttons and in well-positioned points throughout the checkout process to encourage conversion. This will certainly be easy to implement on either Magento 2 which uses assumptive guest checkout by default or Magento 1 (if you’ve not upgraded yet!)
(3) Mobile ecommerce experience
Think about the shopping funnel from the customers’ perspective: you’re commuting and checking your emails on your phone, you see an offer come through in the email and click to visit the site, you think it’s a good deal so you add the product to the basket, but when you get to the checkout:
- There’s no address auto-fill or detection and I have to enter all of my information manually
- There’s no PayPal so I now have to enter card details manually as well. I probably need to get my credit/debit card out on the train, tube, tram or bus whilst balancing a coffee and the coat I just took off because now it’s quite hot with all those other commuters around me
- There’s no pay after delivery option like Klarna – this could have been quite useful for me because I really need to see that product in the flesh
- The checkout design is not optimised for mobile and I can’t see where I am in the checkout process, or how much my order is now I’ve chosen my delivery method
Abandonment on mobile was 14% higher than desktop over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016, according to Barilliance, showing that more fine tuning is needed for the checkout on mobile. Making it as convenient and as simple (remove any distractions) as possible will help to improve conversion, but so will combining it with some kick ass remarketing for those people who did abandon basket because their commute ended before they completed their purchase.
(4) Immediate engagement drivers
Have you considered how you would re-market to customers during the Christmas and what collateral you’ll be using to recover some of that lost revenue? There are three things you should consider what points of contact shall we use to approach customers? SMS? Advertising? Emails? Personalised pop-ups on the site? There are a lot of choices out there with some great results. For instance, SMS drove 28.7% of recovered sales across the retail, fashion and travel industries in 2016 (via SaleCycle), whereas email marketing and re-marketing Ads through Google’s network drove just over 20% revenue recovery each in 2016 (via Adobe).
Creating a sense of urgency is a proven marketing technique, especially when you’re re-engaging customers who are ‘on the fence’. Maybe there is a discount or cross-promotion you can give them to encourage purchase e.g buy now and get free next day delivery or 10% off your next purchase.
By re-engaging your customers with an immediate communication that drives meaningful traffic back to your website, you can reduce the amount of revenue you could have lost due to abandoned baskets over the Christmas period.
(5) Measure, analyse, implement
We cannot bang this drum enough to our clients and that is to measure your website because you cannot solve any problems or know where your website is performing well unless you are measuring it.
To analyse your abandonment rate, you can, of course, see how many abandoned basket emails have been sent out but to take a deeper dive, you can review data in Google Analytics or start utilising Magento’s Business Intelligence tool.
Need help with your ecommerce website?
Our award-winning team of specialists have been building bespoke ecommerce websites on Magento for the past 7 years for premium and luxury brands. To find out how we can help you with your ecommerce project, get in touch with us on 0207 739 5745 or email our Client Services Manager, Natasha Green, on email@example.com