Tackling Basket Abandonment


Basket abandonment affects every online retailer. According to the Baymard Institute, 69% of online shopping baskets are abandoned on average. In other words, only 31% complete the purchasing process. Although a 100% conversion rate is unrealistic, by understanding why some customers fail to convert, and by making slight adjustments, businesses can easily lower their rate of basket abandonment.

Why do customers abandon their baskets?

Unexpected Costs

According to Statista’s research, the main explanation for basket abandonment is unexpected costs – 56% of customers claim that this deters them from completing a purchase.

Statista’s main reasons for basket abandonment:

Reasons for Abandonment

How to combat this: Be honest with your costs upfront – both delivery and tax. That way, when a customer reaches checkout, they are already willing to spend the whole purchase price. You could also offer free shipping, either for everyone, or just when a customer spends a certain amount. Although this may seem costly, free shipping will increase sales and revenue, which could in the long-term increase profit.

Delivery Issues

Price is not the only problem when it comes to shipping. Slow shipping can also deter customers, as can a lack of shipping options. Online shoppers are often buying goods impulsively, so if a product will take a while to arrive, it is likely they will look elsewhere.

How to combat this: Your delivery process should be as quick as possible. If you cannot afford to provide quick delivery to everyone, make sure you offer different options, with the quickest delivery costing a premium.

Website Navigation is Too Complicated

25% of customers fail to convert due to an overcomplicated website layout. One issue could lie in the duration of the checkout process: a long, confusing checkout process is likely to prevent conversions. Similarly, customers like to see what they have in their basket at all times, so if this is not evident on the page, customers may abandon their basket.

How to combat this: Make sure your website is easy to navigate by having clear page headings and obvious call-to-actions, as well as simplifying online forms as much as possible. Be sure to have a basket summary on all pages. If your checkout process has to be long and is over multiple pages, make sure to add a progress indicator, so that customers can see exactly where they are in the process and know how long they have left.

ASOS’s progress indicator lets customers know exactly where they are in the checkout process:


Concerns about Payment Security

17% of customers fail to complete their purchases because they are worried about payment security. On larger sites, this is less of an issue, but if your website is relatively unknown, it is natural for customers to be concerned about becoming a victim of fraud.

How to combat this: The key to solving this issue is reassurance. Reassure your customers that your website is reliable, either through customer testimonies or by displaying security logos. You should also make sure to provide sufficient contact details so that the customer can reach you easily if a problem were to arise. Consider offering a variety of different payment methods, so that each demographic you are targeting has a trusted way to pay.

Forced to Register

One qualm customers have with online retail is that they are forced to make an account. This is time-consuming, and also requires customers to provide intimate information.

How to combat this: Offer a guest checkout option, where a customer enters only their email address. This way, customers have a relatively quick checkout process, and do not have to provide excess information. However, retailers still have their email address for retargeting later.

Not Mobile Friendly

According to IMRG, 45% of visits to ecommerce sites were made via smartphones or tablet devices. Nearly a 1/5th of online retailers still have no mobile offering, and as a result customers using these platforms are inclined not to follow through with a purchase. In a recent survey, Accenture revealed that only 48% of mobile shoppers find it easy to purchase via a mobile device.

How to combat this: Create a mobile-friendly version of your website, paying particular emphasis to the payment page. If you can, creating an app is a great way to connect with your client base, and returning customers are more likely to convert – a win win.

A retailer could do all of the above, and their conversion rate would never be 100%. Unfortunately, there are some reasons behind basket abandonment which are out of anyone’s control. For example, some visitors are simply assessing the product, and have no intention to buy. Similarly, real-life distractions could make a customer unexpectedly leave their computer. However, there are tricks to improve your basket abandonment rate even after the customer has failed to convert.

Ad Retargeting

According to Adroll, a retargeting platform, “2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting brings back the other 98%. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your [retargeting] ads to them as they visit other sites online.” The premise of retargeting is as follows: a shopper visits your site, but fails to complete a purchase. With the help of Google Adwords or Adroll, you can display your advert to that shopper on other websites, reminding them of your product, and subsequently improving your conversion rate.

Email Recovery Campaigns

Another way to remind potential buyers of your product is through email recovery campaigns. Even if they only register a guest account, you still have access to their email address, so then create up to three emails to send out at set intervals if they abandon the basket. To be as effective as possible, emails should include both pictures and positive reviews of their chosen items, as well as a strong call to action to get them to complete the product. Mentioning your refund policy is also a good idea, as the customer feels less at risk buying your product if they know they can return it. In terms of timing, the first email should go out within 24 hours, the 2nd within 48, and the 3rd within a week.

Lucy Bayley

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