In a perfect world when a customer adds a product from your ecommerce store to their cart, they’ll purchase it shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes customers add items to their carts and then leave your site, going days, weeks, or months without completing their purchases and many never return at all. 


Research has shown that up to 75% of all online shopping carts are abandoned before a customer makes a purchase. To make matters worse, only 2% of customers actually complete a purchase on their first visit. With Aussie retailers reeling from one of their worst Christmas seasons since the Global Financial Crisis, businesses need to be intentional and focused about their digital shopping experiences. 


While abandoned carts obviously aren’t ideal, they’re not the worst thing that could happen. After all, you’ve already succeeded at the hard work of drawing visitors in to your store and getting them interested in your products. All you need to do now is help them follow through with the checkout process.


Is your shop mobile friendly?
While traffic dominates on mobile, 63% of ecommerce revenue comes from desktop (nearly triple that of smartphones). Despite this, you should still ensure that the design of your site is mobile-friendly to increase the likelihood of a purchase made through a smartphone. Building an ecommerce site using pre-existing themes on WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin can cut down on design costs while enabling you to create ecommerce sites optimized for both desktop and mobile. 


Have you simplified the check-out process?

In today’s privacy focused world, it’s critical that your ecommerce store provides a guest checkout option for those who do not wish to create an account. Forcing the customer to sign-in or create an account is a major contributor to shopping cart abandonment. To further streamline the checkout process, enabling an express checkout option makes it easier for the consumer to complete the purchase without complex navigation. Shortening the checkout process with a single page checkout reduces the hassle, saves time, and ultimately makes it easier for the customer to complete the purchase rather than abandoning the cart due to a poor user experience.


Everyone loves free shipping

Excessive shipping charges not added until the end of the checkout process will freak out most shoppers and lead to an abandoned cart. Some statistics show that around 61% of users who abandon their cart do so because of shipping costs being too high. It’s better not to surprise the shopper with unexpected shipping prices, but rather tell the customer up-front, or at the beginning of the checkout process, what the shipping price will be. You could also motivate the customer to earn free shipping by spending a certain amount, spend $50 to get free shipping. 


Gentle email reminders

For those who added a product to their cart, filled in their email address, but abandoned their purchase, an email reminder with extra incentives could be the inspiration they need to get back to their shopping cart. Often a user will abandon a shopping cart after changing their mind, or an uncertainty of wanting to purchase something at that immediate moment. Or perhaps they simply forgot there was something in their cart. To help decrease shopping cart abandonment, try sending follow-up emails that contain some sort of incentive, like free shipping or a coupon code. Studies show that around 63% of cart abandonment instances should be recoverable. An abandoned cart is not something to fear, but a lesson in how you can improve the customer experience. Follow these four tips to turn an abandoned cart into opportunity to surprise and delight


Mark Randall is country manager ANZ of WP Engine