• Sandhya Gulsin

Capturing your consumer | 3 considerations to avoid cart abandonment

In Part 1 of Capturing your consumer, we present you with food for thought on why your customer is not completing their purchase journey.


With consumer buying behaviour shifting to online, there has been a surge in digital transactions in recent times. In turn, this has led to much greater levels of competition for sales, with more businesses undertaking digital transformation sooner than they previously anticipated. Businesses transacting online therefore need to ensure they have a strategy in place to convert customers and secure sales.


Optimising customer journeys has become top of the agenda, with cart abandonment being a key factor to be considered as the final hurdle before the sale is complete. According to Forbes “Cart abandonment rates average at 69.57% across e-commerce industries, meaning almost two-thirds of online purchases are not completed.” So what needs to be considered to avoid online cart abandonment for e-commerce sales? We have provided 3 considerations to help your customer complete their journey.


  1. Why do consumers abandon baskets?

One of the main reasons cart abandonment is so high is that users store items they are interested in within their basket, even though they have not decided to buy them. Beyond this though, trying to identify additional reasons behind cart abandonment in order to resolve them can be tricky, as it varies from customer to customer and business to business.


According to research conducted by SalesCycle the main reason for abandonment is due to the “additional unexpected costs being too high”. This mainly refers to shipping costs and it is highly recommended to be upfront about these costs by making them visible early in the process. Pricing must be upfront and clear through various touchpoints prior to the final stage of consumer purchase.


Following shipping costs, the “need for subscription” is the next reason, which refers to the requirement to register before checkout. This can be easily solved by allowing guest checkouts.


The third conclusive reason for Cart abandonment is due to a “long or complex process” which emphasises the importance of a well-planned customer journey. All of the above reasons are symptoms of a disappointing customer journey, heightening the importance of creating an obstacle-free path to purchase.


It is extremely difficult to be certain why people abandon their baskets and as such, it is important to test everything. A key way to do this is through A/B testing, in order to discover if certain approaches perform better than others. This should form part of a comprehensive test and learn programme, which should lead to constant iterations and improvements in the customer journey that ultimately improve performance.


  1. How do abandonment rates vary by sector?

Understanding how your target audience behaves will be influenced by your business type and the sector you are in, with consumer behaviour varying substantially between affordable items and more expensive ones. Amazon, for example, has created a seamless one-click checkout process that provides a near-perfect customer experience through instant fulfilment, but this approach cannot be applied to all businesses as some products require a more informed purchase decision. For a luxury item, the transaction may have a longer consideration time in which the buyer is simply not ready to commit to the purchase any earlier, whereas more affordable items may require little shopping around and instead instant gratification is the order of the day.


Knowing the abandonment rates for your sector is important for setting a benchmark when planning your customer journey outline. The below chart produced by the Statista Research Department shows the shopping cart abandonment rates worldwide for 2020 and you can see the huge disparity in some sectors compared to others.




Automotive faces the highest cart abandonment rates, whilst insurance has the lowest, showing the contrast of a high vs low consideration purchase. In 2017 Smart Insights labelled Retail at 72.8 % and Fashion at 68.3% which also shows how behaviour trends in sectors are ever-changing, with abandonment rates growing in some areas.


  1. The value of a flawless experience

The experience prior to checkout will impact your consumer’s likelihood to purchase. key factors that improve your chances of success are transparent pricing, last-minute incentives, site speed and accessibility.


As mentioned within “Why do consumers abandon baskets?” all key factors for cart abandonment led to a disappointing customer journey. Customers will go elsewhere if they experience website errors, lack of payment options or less than generous returns policies. Transparency in pricing is also vital for engendering consumer trust along their journey and it avoids a nasty surprise at the checkout.


Alongside an honest and upfront approach, personalisation of content or live chat communications can also improve your chances of success. Done well, this can make the customer feel valued and encourage them to favour your product or service over others.


A flawless experience is not always possible as the consumer may face technical difficulties or payment issues from their end. It is then how brands recover from any issues that will influence how and if consumers purchase from them, whether they return and if they will recommend yours to others.


In conclusion, continuous evaluation of your consumer’s journey will help to optimise it and create a better chance of a transaction. The main cause of abandonment could well be down to multiple factors which must be refined in order to guide consumers along their journey to complete the transaction. As e-commerce trends continue apace, keeping on top of new behaviour around your customer's journeys and the reasons behind them, will avoid cart abandonment and encourage a more loyal customer.





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