6 marketing techniques that will reduce shopping cart abandonment

The product is in the cart, but why aren't they checking out?

red monitor with shopping cart icon online shopping
Thinkstock (Thinkstock)

If you own an ecommerce business, chances are you see your fair share of shopping cart abandonment. In fact, 74 percent of retail shoppers will walk away from an online purchase after adding items to a shopping cart, according to SaleCycle. In some cases, customers come back later to complete the purchase but all too often, the sale is never completed.

The reasons for abandonment can vary from one customer to the next, but there are some things businesses can do to reduce those behaviors. Here are some things to consider before you launch your next ecommerce marketing campaign.

1. Be transparent

Every ecommerce site owner should be aware of the danger of shipping charges. More than 35 percent of customers abandon a shopping cart once they see the cost to ship the items they want to purchase. If your goal is to lure customers to your site with a low price, only to make up the difference with excess shipping, you can expect high abandonment rates. Avoid being shortsighted in your marketing efforts. Rather than merely bringing customers over to shop, make sure your campaign will lead to conversions.

2. Prioritize user experience

If user experience design isn’t tied into your marketing efforts, you’re already behind the competition. The best ecommerce sites make the entire process seamless, from the time the customer clicks on a link to the purchase confirmation message. Despite the fact that product pages are the most critical, followed by the checkout page, many brands pour considerable time and energy into designing a winning home page. Invest in product pages that fully describe each item, as well as a checkout process that includes a checkout progress bar and information about shipping and taxes, and you’ll see your abandonment rates drop.

3. Use images

When customers make online purchases, they don’t have the luxury of interacting with a product in person. Before buying an item, online shoppers usually rely heavily on images when making a decision. Instead of putting all your effort into producing high-quality images for your marketing messages, extend some of that energy toward photos for your product pages. Showcase each product using multiple pictures, giving customers the option of zooming in to see items up close so that they can feel confident in what they’re buying.

4. Create urgency

Marketers have long used urgency to compel customers to buy. But that technique may also cut down on shopping cart abandonment. When your marketing messages convey that product quantities are limited or a deal only lasts a set period of time, customers know they need to take action soon. The problem with this technique is that it only works when used sparingly. If a store repeatedly claims to be “going out of business” or ads say every product from a brand is in limited quantity, eventually customers will write the claim off as a gimmick.

5. Use remarketing

Remarketing has become one of the most popular tools in digital marketers’ toolbox, giving them the opportunity to reach out directly to customers who have previously shown an interest. For those who added items to a cart without completing their purchases, this type of remarketing is especially useful. You can use tech tools to send ads specifically addressing the forgotten items to those customers. If the price drops, you can let the person know, increasing the chances of a second look.

6. Build trust

Trust is an important part of winning new customers, especially for smaller brands that aren’t yet established. Each step of the conversion process should enhance trust in your products, from your product images and descriptions to the security of your checkout process. Testimonials and reviews can be helpful in boosting that trust, but recommendations are even more powerful. If customers see their friends have liked a particular brand in a Facebook sponsored post, for instance, they’re more likely to take a look at it, especially if they trust those friends. By consistently providing a reliable product and high-quality customer service, you’ll gradually begin to build a foundation of trust that will increase conversions.

Marketing professionals always look for new ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace. But all that work is wasted if customers don’t follow through with a purchase. By designing campaigns for purchases rather than clicks, businesses can see a better return on their investment.

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