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Rope In More Sales With These Solutions For Shopping Cart Abandonment

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Cowboy With LassoAccording to Forrester Research, 88% of web buyers admit to abandoning a sale at the final ordering step.

It’s the #1 killer of conversions, and most people don’t even know it’s happening. That’s why we call it “the silent killer.”

In this article I’m going to show you…

  1. How to track shopping cart abandonment so that you’re not in the dark anymore
  2. Case studies from other web companies and what they solutions they used
  3. Plus, how you can setup a few crafty solutions I’m using in my own business

Why Visitors Abandon Shopping Carts

According to the same Forrester Research report, the #1 reason people abandon the sale is sticker shock on shipping costs. Many people told Forrester that the only reason they clicked the order button was curiosity or they were just browsing. Like, lifting the tag on a clothing article at a store to see the cost and walking away.

This is the real reason why “Free Shipping” has become so popular. It erases the sticker shock of an added expense for shipping.

When asked by other online research companies, people also said…

  • They weren’t ready to order
  • They wanted to compare prices
  • Shipping time was too long
  • They didn’t know if they could trust the company

Ironically, none of these reasons have anything to do with the actual checkout process. However, everyone is busy trying to increase conversions by figuring out the exact things to put on the page or how to make the checkout process easier.

When, that’s not even the real problem at all.

It’s not about having the perfect shopping cart tool. Or the perfect balance of testimonials/guarantee/trust badges.

It’s not about whether you make it easier to look at or decrease how many fields they have to fill out.

How To Track Shopping Cart Abandonment

The way I track abandonment is with Google Analytics. There are tools and services dedicated to this in case you don’t want to do it yourself.

We don’t do this for clients, however, we do coach them on how to set it up, analyze the data, and optimize performance. Basically, it’s a simple job of setting up goals in your Google Analytics account.

One you have your goals setup you can view your funnels visually in Google Analytics to see how much of your traffic is reaching the order page and how many are completing a sale. The difference in these two numbers is your cart abandonment rate.

If your order form is off site, because your shopping cart software hosts the order form, you might look for another provider. Or ask your current provider if they have a report that shows how many views your order page has received (many of them do).

You need to collect 3 numbers; Total order page views, total completed orders, and total incomplete orders. The 3rd metric can simply be found by subtracting completed orders from your total order page views.

Now, once you have the  total incomplete orders you can divide that number by your total order page views. You’ll end up with a decimal number, multiply that number by 100 to get your abandonment rate percentage. Here is another explanation of calculating abandonment rate by Wikipedia.

How To Decrease Cart Abandonment

If you were to study this topic as much as I have you would realize it really comes down to 3 things.

  1. They left because the price doesn’t match expectations
  2. They left because they were not ready to buy yet
  3. They left because the pages took too long to load (case study)

The first thing you can do to decrease your cart abandonment is make absolute sure that the price on your sales page matches the price they will see on your order form. If you have a shipping cost, make it known on the sales page.

Better yet, wrap your shipping costs into your price and offer free shipping. This removes any unexpected price increase from shipping costs.

If you’re selling digital products you might be saying “free” on your sales page, but when they get to the order form and see “Just pay $7.95 shipping and handling.” Oops, that’s an unexpected price increase and also the #1 most given reason for abandoning a sale.

Marketers think they are clever, but really we’re not all that smart, customers are not stupid. Besides, you should always remember that customers are not looking for a reason TO buy they are looking for a reason NOT to buy. So don’t give them one.

Instead of charging $7.95 shipping and handling, tell them the product just costs $7.95 and shipping is free. (sounding like a broken record).

Or be upfront about the shipping costs. Just make sure that when they hit that order form there is no unexpected price increases.

When I used to work in the infomercial business the company I worked for revolutionized the industry with sales pages that had the order form right on the sales page.

These pages with an order form on the bottom outsold all the other sales process and the CEO built a $150,000,000 company from it. Well, he also invented some of the fastest loading video players too, but I’m trying to make a point here.

If the goal is to REMOVE price expectancy, then having your order form directly on the page is a great solution. It’s one that I have employed in my own business many times, and reminds me I need to go change one of my sales pages to have it’s order form on the sales page.

Two More Solutions To Shopping Cart Abandonment

The 2nd most popular reason for cart abandonment is the prospect just not being ready to buy.

A popular method of solving this is to use retargeting. With retargeting you can place code on your order page and on your order success page. Then set your campaign up so that if they DO convert to a sale they WILL NOT see any ads, if they DO NOT convert to a sale they WILL see ads around the web for the product they were just about to buy.

I use a company called PerfectAudience for retargeting. You can set up this type of campaign with them, most networks that allow retargeting allow this setup.

This is a cheap way to show ads to only highly qualified visitors and keep that product top of mind until they are ready.

In addition to retargeting, I’m also using my email marketing platform to trigger an email sequence upon abandonment. The way this works is the company I use, Hubspot, gives me code to put on all of my pages. As well as the ability to trigger an event based on actions users take on those pages.

If someone visits my order page and does not order they receive a short email asking them if they need any help ordering. It then watches to see if they join my customer list and if they don’t it sends the rest of my sequence of emails about that product.

This is called email retargeting and it’s gaining popularity fast due to case studies like this one and this one.

Additional Reading:

How To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment With User Testing
Shopping Cart Abandonment: Why It Happens & How To Recover Baskets of Money
9 Ways To Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment on Your eCommerce Website

Action Steps

It’s easy to read a blog post like this and feel overwhelmed. It’s a lot to soak in and your brain is reeling from all the information. To make it easier I’ve broken the action steps down for you so you can eat your elephant one bite at a time.

  1. Start by getting Google Analytics goals setup or asking your cart provider if they have a report for this
  2. Measure your own cart abandonment rate
  3. Take steps to make sure there is no sticker shock on your price during checkout
  4. Setup retargeting with PerfectAudience to keep your product top of mind for prospects not ready yet
  5. Ask your email marketing provider if there is a way to trigger an email sequence on incomplete orders

In the comments below I’d like to hear any questions or feedback you have. I’d also like to know if you’ve ever abandoned a cart without completing an order. If so what was your reason? Was it in line with what the research reports claim?

Talk soon,
Justin Brooke
Traffic Strategist

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