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What are the top reasons for basket abandonment and what can be done about them?

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Basket abandonment (or cart abandonment for the Americans among us) is one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome for eCommerce website owners. After all the hard work through digital marketing channels such as SEO and social media, losing potential customers at the last hurdle can be incredibly disheartening.

However, the good news is many of the issues causing basket abandonment are avoidable. With that in mind, let’s walk you through the primary culprits before walking you through the steps to address those issues.

What are the leading causes of basket abandonment?

While no single issue causes basket abandonment alone, there are several that consistently come out near the top of the list in customer surveys. So just what are the main stumbling blocks that, together, cause a whopping 70% of online shoppers to abandon their baskets?

  • Unexpected high costs – This one is right at the top of the list, notorious for putting customers off and the most common cause of basket abandonment. Costs that don’t appear until the user lands on the checkout page. High delivery/shipping costs are usually the worst culprit, but not including taxes such as VAT is likely to have a similar effect.
  • Forcing shoppers to create an account – While it’s important to gain contact information from prospective shoppers for marketing and customer service purposes, forcing them to go through the time-consuming rigmarole of creating an account is usually enough to send shoppers to the virtual exits.
  • Casual browsing intent – The reason the average basket abandonment rate is so high may well be because so many people visit eCommerce sites just to browse. For instance, those visiting fashion eCommerce stores are often simply looking for clothing inspiration and adding items to their basket to “save” as their favourites without having any intention to purchase.
  • Not seeing their preferred payment option – One of the keys to checkout conversions is offering the customer’s preferred payment option. Whether it’s PayPal or debit card, they’re likely to look elsewhere if their preferred option isn’t available.
  • Concerns over website security – Of course, no one feels comfortable entering their payment details into a website that looks dodgy. From an unsecured connection (no SSL) to worries about who holds and stores your payment data, a website that doesn’t look trustworthy at the checkout will lose the sale.

So, now you know the issues that are most likely causing your abandonment issues, what can you do about them?

How to solve the most common basket abandonment issues on your site.

Fortunately, many of the problems described above have relatively straightforward solutions. So without further ado, let’s walk you through them, issue by issue.

Make costs clear from the outset.

Shoppers hate last-minute surprises that increase their checkout total. So make sure the price of your goods is accurate, both on your product and category pages. Remember to include VAT on all items (if applicable) and display shipping information (including prices and delivery times) prominently, rather than hiding them in the website footer.

Eliminate friction during the checkout process.

The key to high conversion rates is seamless checkouts. The aim is to get your customer from their basket to order confirmation in as few clicks as possible. Remove the need for a consumer to create an account and let them check out as a guest instead. You can always incentivise customers to sign up for an account (perhaps by offering a discount), but you should avoid forcing it upon them.

Offer flexible payments to nudge hesitant shoppers into purchases.

When they check their basket at the end of their “window shopping” session, casual browsers with low purchase intent are usually put off by the total. Thus, take measures to increase affordability and lower barriers to purchasing. Offering a buy now, pay later option (such as Klarna) removes the fear of carrying out the purchase by giving the customer more time to pay for the products they buy.

Offer your customer payment variety.

In addition to payment flexibility, it’s a good idea to offer payment variety to ensure your potential customer’s favourite way to pay is available at the checkout. This move to expand your payment options becomes vital as you expand internationally. There are significant variations in payment preferences from country to country, even within a close-knit region such as Europe.

Display trust factors to build credibility.

Part of the conversion equation is convincing customers that you can be trusted to hold and process their payment information. Thus, you need to take all necessary steps to prove trustworthiness. An SSL certificate with a green padlock is a good start. However, you can take several other measures, such as placing trust seals on the checkout page (such as a PCI compliance sticker), showing other customer reviews to build social proof, or prominently displaying a money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers are all excellent trust-building moves.

Basket abandonment is frustrating but avoidable for eCommerce site owners.

While basket abandonment is an ongoing headache for many eCommerce site operators, there are excellent solutions to many of the most common issues.

While we haven’t covered every single aspect of basket abandonment here, following the steps laid out above should make your website much more enticing to even the most casual of shoppers and increase your chances of converting visitors into customers.

This blog article was also published on our subsidiary website, Cakecrumbs.