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Three Steps for Stopping Checkout Abandonment

by James Duval  |  
December 7, 2012

You've gotten your customer on your site, and even to the checkout page, but (as you well know) your efforts don't end at the "Add To Basket" button. If you want to encourage your website visitors to complete their purchases, you need to double-check your checkout process.

Any e-commerce site owner knows the frustration resulting from the abandonment of a full shopping basket; all online shops suffer from a certain amount of checkout abandonment. But the most likely causes of a high rate of abandonment are few, and they're relatively simple to rectify.

Here are three key areas that can generate improved conversions if you pay attention to them. I explain what steps to take in each area and why doing so will improve conversion rates.

1. Optimize the checkout process

You don't have to look far to find one of the main reasons for customers' abandoning their purchase at the checkout: your checkout process.

Making sure you comply with the following three checkpoints will maximize completion rates:

  1. You do not force registration for purchase.
  2. You offer more than one payment option.
  3. Your procedure is simple and quick.

Forcing registration to your site in order to complete the checkout stage does little more than cause potential customers to abandon their purchase.

Many customers will be first-time purchasers, and they may not initially plan on using your site to purchase again. Trying to force the issue will often put such buyers off. So make sure you include a "Checkout as Guest" as well as a "Register and Checkout" option.

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James Duval is a technology and business expert for GKBC and a freelance journalist.

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  • by Jeff Long Fri Dec 7, 2012 via web

    Great article, James! I know you mention that a phone call might be the best way to recover an abandoned transaction because it provides the most straightforward way of determining the root cause for the abandonment. There are new smarter technologies available that recognize causality for the abandonment (eg. payment problems, shipping costs, promo code, etc.) and allow you to tune the email message to their unique experience. Might be worth a look.

  • by Puru Sat Dec 8, 2012 via web

    Nice thoughts James! In our case, we find more abandoned carts before the checkout - though we have tried to address most of the issues mentioned by you, a checklist like above will help us retook our design once again.


  • by Carolin Mon Dec 10, 2012 via web

    Great article, James, but I'm not sure how well a personal call is received when the shopping cart was abandoned by someone who doesn't live in your country. I would probably stick to an email (preferably a personalized one) in those cases, what are your thoughts?

  • by Arthur Carlos Mon Dec 10, 2012 via web

    Great article! But, we're in Brazil, and not force a registration it's bad because we need some personal information about the user to checkout.

    So, if we need these information, force the registration it's a way once the users will give us their data.

    Or you have another advice?


  • by James Duval Wed Jan 16, 2013 via web

    @All - sorry I took so long to respond, I didn't realise this had been published! Super excited to be on Marketing Profs, it's a great site.

    @Jeff Long - Cheers for the recommendation. I really appreciate it, and I'm always interested in expanding my technical knowledge. Sounds like a rich area to explore.

    @Puru - glad to help. Little things can have a big impact, especially when we're talking about the larger eCommerce sites!

    @Carolin - that's a really good idea. A personalised email can be a brilliant option for many. Where a phone call shines is that it does not require technical writing proficiency. I know that English Majors can sometimes be easy to find in the market, but a good copywriter is a rare thing in my experience. If you have the resources, go for it! Some companies might not be able to, though.

    @Arthur Carlos - if you need the information, you need the information. However, registering is an extra step requiring a username/email address and password. Allow users to either painlessly and securely create a user account, with few extra steps required OR allow users to enter their details but avoid creating a user account. That's my opinion. Cheers!

  • by Carolin Wed Jan 16, 2013 via web

    Thank you for your thoughts, James. I have been in charge for the abandoned shopping carts of a small company and have made a lot of awkward phone calls to people not living in the same country that 'just wanted to see the total price' of the software packages offered. I've now gone over to sending out emails instead and have had much better success. I do use a template, of course, but try to add a personal touch to each. It doesn't take more work than if I were to call them, so this is way better for our company. I suppose each business has to see for themselves which technique works best, though.

  • by James Duval Wed Jan 16, 2013 via web

    I think you raise a really important point that most, if not all, businesses should consider. Especially in conjunction with what Jeff Long said higher up the thread!

    This is the reason I love the blog/comment thread format. 9 out of 10 times the commenters add genuine value to what was said in the original post.

  • by Kristen Hanna Fri Apr 19, 2013 via web

    Googd topic on Shopping cart abandonment which is the major problem faced everywhere. This is due to several reasons like long step checkout process, page reloading time, out of stock and many more. The major reason is many step checkout method. so I can suggest you to try one step checkout method which reduces the shopping cart abandonment.

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