Reducing Shopping Basket Abandonment Without Offering Free Shipping

Shopping basket abandonment is a frustrating part of ecommerce. The user has navigated to a product they are interested in, and even added it to their shopping basket, but then they don’t complete their order. Close, but no cigar.

A comparison study by Baymard shows an average of 68.53% abandonment across the web, which means less than 1 in 3 customers actually completes the purchase. At times, the visitor just may not be ready to buy but this doesn’t tell the whole story. It can’t or we’d never be able to change a client’s abandonment rate.

It is well-known that delivery costs are the number one reason users ditch their shopping basket, with a whopping 58% saying “Shipping costs made the total purchase more than expected,” in a BI Intelligence study. Meanwhile, 4 out of 8 complaints in the same study relate to delivery fees in some way. The fact is, nearly half of online orders now include free shipping and there are ways to make it work commercially.

However, if offering free delivery is simply not possible for your business, here are some alternative strategies to help raise your conversion rate.


You can’t fix shopping basket abandonment if you don’t measure it

Before you can slash your basket abandonment rate, set your goals and funnel up in Google Analytics so that you are able to see what’s happening. Here’s a quick guide on how to set up basket abandonment tracking if you’re unsure.

Tools, such as Hotjar,will also help you track the percentage of users who drop out at each stage of your checkout funnel.


Continue promoting the items as the user moves through the website

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that their goal ends with ‘add to basket’. Unless you make it clear, customers can quickly forget what they’ve added and leave without completing their purchase.

One approach is to add a perpetual shopping basket and mini basket to the header. This will usually display both the number of items and the total value of the basket, and when the user moves their mouse over the basket, they get a mini basket showing the contents with an image of each product.

Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but we still a large number of ecommerce websites that don’t include the mini basket element of this approach.

We know that adding a site-wide visual ‘you-have-stuff-in-your-basket-that-you-want’ reminder with product images can help reconnect with the user with the item. We can help build momentum so they complete their transaction. According to Marketing Sherpa, 65% of companies report an increase in sales using this simple tactic.


Don’t force people into creating an account

This is a classic, but nevertheless true: retail giant ASOS was able to increase new customers by 50% after removing all mention of accounts before purchase. Remember, you can give customers an incentive to create an account after they pay up, rather than scare them away at the first hurdle.


Shorten your forms

Speed up the purchase process for your customers by removing unnecessary fields in the checkout process. Are you asking for title when you don’t really need it? How about a fax number? What about a company name when you mostly sell to individuals? (We see all of these all the time by the way).

We’ve all heard the case study about Expedia massively increasing profits through the removal of just one input field.

There are also other ways to help users to complete forms: by translating any jargon and explaining terms like ‘CVV code’, by reassuring users why you need their phone number and what you’re going to do with it, and by including a postcode look up to make the address input easier.


Show users how many steps are left

There’s still a debate in the ecommerce community surrounding the preference for single and multi-page checkouts. However, there’s one thing that isn’t up for discussion: users want to do as little as possible before buying, so keep it snappy and show them how many steps are left to complete – much like Nixon does.


Make the checkout process a breeze

Last year Econsultancy ran a report of the 11 best ecommerce checkouts in the world. What did they all have in common? Speed, ease of use, no distractions, and basically everything else that makes the buying process as easy as possible for people on the verge of paying up for your goods.

If you want more people to convert, make it as painless as possible so they can rush through it without thinking. Amazon have built their business on making it easy to complete a purchase from the point of adding to basket with things like one click ordering, saved addresses, and saved cards.


Follow up with an email

This little gem is often forgotten. Simply following up an abandoned transaction with an email has been shown to dramatically improve shopping basket abandonment rates; however, Listrak found that only 14.6% of the top web retailers used email as a way to retarget abandoners.


Test, test, test

Don’t rely on gut instinct to reduce basket abandonment. Instead, set up sources of insight so you get a clear picture of what people are doing on your checkout. Then, form hypotheses which can A/B tested to experiment with content, calls to action, layout and navigation at every stage of the buying process.


What about the users who really aren’t ready to buy?

Well, according to the study we looked at from BI Intelligence, this is the second most common reason people fail to complete a purchase. But with email follow ups, exit popups, and remarketing, you can stay in touch with those people and offer them personalised incentives to come back and buy when they are ready.


If you’d like to discuss how we can help you reduce your basket abandonment rate, call us on 0161 713 2434 or request a website Profit Leak Audit now.

Nina Mack

14th April 2016

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