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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Feeling Abandoned? Keeping Online Shoppers Until the Sale Is Made

Feeling Abandoned? Keeping Online Shoppers Until the Sale Is Made
Credit: Sam Aronov/Shutterstock

You've probably done it dozens of times: You add an item to your online shopping cart and start going through the checkout process, but before you finish paying, you ultimately decide against the purchase and close the website.

If you have done this recently, you're not alone. According to statistics from the Baymard Institute, the average online cart abandonment rate is about 68 percent. "Abandoners" may leave items unpurchased for any number of reasons. A recent study by website testing provider Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) found that the most common reason for online cart abandonment was unexpected shipping costs, which deters 28 percent of online shoppers from completing a purchase. Twenty-three percent of the more than 1,000 respondents said they would abandon their cart if it required them to create a new user account, while 16 percent wouldn't follow through with a purchase if they were "only conducting research."

"Online shoppers are diverse and constantly changing," Paras Chopra, CEO and founder of VWO's parent company, Wingify, said in a statement. "Our intention with the report was to enable brands to better understand how people are spending money online, as well as the factors that affect their purchase behavior. In the highly competitive e-commerce marketplace, even a slight marketing misstep can be costly."

The key to winning back shoppers who abandon their purchases — especially millennials — is retargeting them with discount offers, Chopra said. The VWO survey found that 54 percent of all shoppers and 72 percent of millennial shoppers (ages 25 to 34) would go back and purchase the products they left in their cart if the items were offered again at a discounted price. A simple way to accomplish this is to run a remarketing campaign that displays the item(s) a shopper abandoned.

"The retargeting ads you display can be as targeted as you want," Chopra told Business News Daily. "If a buyer comes to your site to purchase a hat, you can have retargeting ads of that same hat show up when the shopper is on a news or music website, for example, as long as those sites accept the ads."

You can also opt for a "recovery" email marketing campaign, and send a series of one to three personalized emails to shoppers who didn't complete a purchase, Chopra said. [For a side-by-side comparison of the best email marketing software, visit our sister site Top Ten Reviews]

If you want to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate, Chopra advised offering alternative payment options, such as PayPal and American Express in addition to Visa and MasterCard; providing support in the form of a telephone number or live chat on the checkout page to ease shopper concerns; and optimizing your website for mobile use to make the checkout experience as seamless as possible. 

Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.