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[Google] Make the Sale: Build, Launch, and Manage E-commerce Stores: Tips for reducing cart abandonment

Around 70% of e-commerce customers abandon their online shopping carts without completing their purchase. In a video, you learned the common reasons behind cart abandonment, which is when a customer adds an item to their cart but doesn’t complete the purchase. Now it’s time to explore the solutions to these issues.

Reason #1: Just browsing or not ready to buy

One of the main reasons customers abandon their carts is because they’re just browsing or not ready to buy yet. They might want to do more research, compare prices, or explore all the options available to them.

Solution: Recapture the customer’s attention

Just because a customer isn’t ready to buy yet doesn’t mean the sale is lost. They may decide to come back later and complete their purchase. To recapture their attention, you can use dynamic remarketing, which allows you to show previous visitors ads that contain products and services they viewed on your site. You’ll learn more about dynamic remarketing later in this program.

If you have the customer’s email address, you can also recapture their attention by sending an abandoned cart email, which is a follow-up email sent to customers who added an item to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase. You can also add an additional incentive by offering free shipping or a discount if the customer comes back and completes their purchase. Research demonstrates that about 11% of customers who receive an abandoned cart email will click through and complete their purchase. That may not sound like a lot of people, but it’s an easy way to capture lost sales, since the process of sending abandoned cart emails can be automated.

Reason #2: Extra costs for shipping, taxes, or fees

Another reason customers abandon their online shopping carts is because of extra costs for shipping, taxes, or fees. If the customer isn’t aware of the total cost until they begin the checkout process, they may leave the site if the total is higher than expected.

Solution: Offer free shipping

One of the ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment is to offer free shipping. If your store sells products that would cost too much to ship for free, you can offer free shipping over a certain threshold, such as free shipping on orders of $25 or more.

It also helps to be transparent with customers about the total cost of their order before they begin the checkout process. You can allow customers to estimate the shipping cost by entering their zip code on the product page or in their cart.

Free shipping banner on a website with call-to-action button to learn more

Free shipping banner on a website with call-to-action button to learn more

Reason #3: Requires an account

Customers may abandon their cart simply because they feel it would take too much time and effort to create an account for your store. They also may not feel comfortable having their personal information saved on the site, or they may be wary of receiving unwanted marketing emails.

Solution: Enable guest checkout

One of the best practices for creating an online checkout process is to allow customers to check out as a guest. This means the customer isn’t required to create or remember a username and password in order to make a purchase from your store.

Another great option is to allow customers to sign in using a social account, such as Google, Apple, or Facebook. This allows the customer to move through the checkout process faster, since it automatically fills in the information saved in their account.

Call-to-action buttons that allow the customer to sign in or choose guest checkout

Call-to-action buttons that allow the customer to sign in or choose guest checkout

Reason #4: Long or complicated checkout

Sometimes customers abandon the checkout process because it takes too long or they don’t understand how to complete the next step in the process.

Solution: Simplify the checkout process

Customers will be more likely to complete the checkout process if it’s short and easy to complete. You can simplify the checkout process by removing unnecessary fields and only asking for information that’s necessary in order to complete the customer’s order.

Reason #5: Difficult to navigate on a mobile device

A growing number of shoppers are using their smartphone or mobile device to shop online. Since the screen is smaller than a desktop or laptop computer, navigating a website that’s built for a larger screen can be frustrating.

Solution: Design a responsive website

Make sure your website is easy for customers to navigate on any device by designing a responsive website, which is designed to work on all types of devices, including computers, mobile phones, and tablets.

A responsive website is designed to work on all types of devices.

A responsive website is designed to work on all types of devices.

Reason #6: Security concerns

Trust is another reason customers abandon their online shopping carts. If a customer is concerned about the privacy or security of their personal information, such as their credit card number, they may decide not to complete the purchase.

Solution: Secure your website

You can address customers’ concerns by making sure your website and payment methods are secure. Google recommends securing your site with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), which is a method of transferring information over the internet that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site.

In order to use HTTPS, you must obtain a Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate, also known as a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which is a digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection. Displaying the symbol for the TLS or SSL certificate during the checkout process helps customers know whether they can trust your website. Plus, the padlock symbol in a web browser’s address bar indicates that the site is secure.

A web browser address bar that displays the padlock symbol

A web browser address bar that displays the padlock symbol

Reason #7: Preferred payment method not available

If customers can’t use the payment method they want, they might leave your site, and you’ll lose out on sales.

Solution: Offer flexible payment options

You can make customers happy by offering multiple payment methods, including debit cards, credit cards, PayPal, or mobile payments, like Google Pay. Another option is to allow customers to pay in installments.

Reason #8: Slow delivery times

If customers need a product by a certain date—or even if they don’t want to wait long for it to arrive—they may abandon the checkout process if the delivery estimate is too long.

Solution: Enable faster shipping

Switching to a faster delivery provider or partnering with multiple delivery providers can help the customer get their product faster. If you partner with multiple delivery providers, you can allow the customer to choose the shipping option they want based on the estimated delivery time. You can also give customers the option to pay for faster shipping.

A checkout page with standard, priority, and expedited shipping options.

A checkout page with standard, priority, and expedited shipping options.

Reason #9: Errors during checkout

If customers encounter an error during the checkout process, they may get frustrated and leave your site. Even if the error allows them to continue the checkout process, they may not trust the accuracy of their order, which may lead them to abandon their cart.

Solution: Test for errors

It’s important to test your website regularly for errors, including the checkout process. Don’t assume customers will contact you if something on your site is broken.

Reason #10: Unsatisfactory return policy

Customers know there’s a risk in buying a product without being able to observe it in person. If a site doesn’t offer returns, if the return period is too short, or if the customer is required to pay for return shipping, the customer may hesitate to complete their purchase.

Solution: Adopt a generous return policy

Customers are more likely to buy if they know the store will allow them to return the product if it doesn’t meet their needs. A generous return policy demonstrates that the company fully backs the quality of their products.

A banner that reads “Free and easy returns” on a website with call-to-action button to learn more.

A banner that reads "Free and easy returns" on a website with call-to-action button to learn more.

Key takeaways

Reducing cart abandonment involves providing a great customer experience and optimizing the checkout process. This reading describes the most common reasons for cart abandonment and the solutions to these issues.

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