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Most of the people that open a shopping cart on your e-commerce site won’t finish the purchase.

That shouldn’t surprise you. If there’s anything to be learned from most marketing and selling efforts, it’s that it’s very hard to get customers to take action. But the numbers are probably worse than you think.

When research firm The Baymard Institute averaged out shopping cart abandonment rates, they discovered that the average abandonment rate hovered around 69.57 percent. That’s a whopping two-thirds of your customers that browsed your site, liked what they saw, clicked on an item to add it to their cart, then never touched it again.

Even accounting for the fact that 58.6 percent abandon because they weren’t even planning to buy, that leaves a big gap that can be filled with more effective design on your e-commerce checkouts.

The Reasons People Leave

Baymard’s statistics are illustrative of the main problems users have with e-commerce checkouts. There are multiple reasons for each person.

  • 53 percent leave because the extra costs of taxes, shipping and other fees are too high.
  • 31 percent leave because the site wanted them to create an account.
  • 23 percent leave because the checkout process is too long or complicated.
  • 20 percent leave because they couldn’t see or calculate the total order cost.
  • 17 percent leave because they don’t trust the site with their credit card information.
  • 16 percent leave because delivery was too slow on a previous order.
  • 15 percent leave because the website had errors or crashed.
  • 10 percent leave because the returns policy isn’t good enough.
  • 6 percent leave because there weren’t enough payment methods.
  • 4 percent leave because their credit card was declined.

Some of these you can’t do much about …

Shipping costs are fairly static. Delivery has other variables, and you can’t do much about someone’s credit card declining. But there are two segments that you can address pretty quickly: people who don’t want to create an account and those who find your checkout too complicated.

E-commerce checkouts function on the time-honored principle of “Keep it simple, stupid.”

The more moving parts you introduce and the more barriers you put up in front of your customers, the more likely it is that you’ll get a cart abandonment. If you want to increase conversions, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to take action.

Send Cart Abandonment Emails

Around three quarters of all shoppers who abandon their carts actually plan to come back for the items they’ve left behind at some point. How do you get them to come back?

One of the best ways is to send a cart abandonment email. According to internal statistics from email marketing company MooSend, cart abandonment emails average a whopping 40 percent open rate. 21 percent of those users click through, and half of those complete their purchase.

For a very minor investment of time and energy you can set up an email automation that notifies users that they’ve left items in their cart, and it will easily pay for itself. Just nudging people to remind them is enough to boost your e-commerce checkouts significantly.

Don’t Make Them Create an Account

These days we give out our personal information to so many sites that people are a bit gun-shy of handing over more of it to e-commerce checkouts. One more account, especially if you’re just on the site to buy one thing, is too high of an entry barrier for many people.

Offer a guest checkout without making them sign up for an account. Make sure you capture their email—you’ll need it for delivery notifications anyway—but don’t make them sign up. Instead, offer it as an option.

Ease them into it instead of leading with it. Provide an incentive if you really want to get your accounts up—say, 5 percent off their purchase, or free shipping. Something like that will give them the incentive to go the extra mile. You’ll get less abandonments.

Don’t Ask for Payment Information Up Front

Credit card information is stolen all the time. In 2017, 14.2 million credit cards had their information exposed. Is it any wonder consumers are a little leery of giving it out up front?

Don’t ask for their credit card information straight away. E-commerce checkouts that lead with asking for money will average higher abandonments than those that don’t. Instead, lead with simpler information. Ask for their name, shipping address and email address. Then lead into the money questions.

Your cashier doesn’t start a conversation with you by asking for your card at the store …

Neither should you.

Strip It Down

How many fields does your checkout have? If you’ve added too many, you’re going to turn your users away. A complicated checkout process increases the likelihood that your cart gets abandoned.

Make it as easy as possible for people to check out with you with some easy simplification tips.

  • Replace optional address fields with a link. Not everyone needs separate shipping and billing addresses. Don’t make them fill it out. Or if you do keep the separate fields, autofill the shipping address from the billing address.

  • Autofill form data. Make it easy for autocomplete to fill out your fields.

  • Retain customer information. Even if they don’t have an account, you can help them skip steps this way. If they do have an account, it’s even easier.

  • Try a single-page checkout. Single-page checkouts often have higher conversion rates. If you have to click through multiple pages, it’s more likely you’ll lose customers.

  • Show checkout flow. Let users know how far through the process they’ve gone.

  • Remove distractions. Get rid of navigation bars, sidebars, banners or anything else that can make the page too busy. Keep it simple.

Good e-commerce checkouts are simple, clean and easy to use.

They don’t throw up a ton of barriers in front of shoppers. If you’ve been having trouble with cart abandonment, don’t despair—it’s easier than you think to make a dent. Apply these tips and see what checkout optimization can do to your sales.

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