Ecommerce Abandoned Carts: A Plan of Attack

It’s estimated that 69.89% of online shopping carts are abandoned. That means that – on average – seven out of 10 online shoppers will put something in their cart and then leave a website without making a purchase.

In auto parts, we find cart abandonment rates range from about 60% all the way up to 95%. We see higher cart abandon rates on higher cost items, as a general rule, but also on sites that charge shipping, that don’t have third party ratings, and that don’t have clear shipping or return policies.

There are a lot of reasons that consumers abandon shopping carts, but the most common reasons in auto parts and accessories ecommerce tend to be (in no particular order):

  1. High or unexpected shipping costs
  2. Confusion about the product(s) themselves
  3. Concern about potential problems with shipping or returns
  4. A general lack of trust in the site itself

Here are some tips for addressing each of these cart abandonment concerns, as well as recovering business from cart abandoners.

Start With Product Data, Including Photos

A lot of carts are abandoned because the customer just isn’t quite “sold” on the product(s) they’re looking to buy. Perhaps the customer is concerned the color of the accessory isn’t quite right, or that the product won’t fit their specific vehicle, or that the product isn’t high enough quality to justify the selling price.

To assuage these concerns, you can do the following:

  • Provide four to six photos of the product itself from different angles, including at least one high resolution image of the product on a white background, and at least a couple of photos of the product installed
  • Make sure that the fitment data on the product page is precise and correct
  • Make sure that warranty information is listed on the product page
  • Add installation instructions to the product page and/or a link to an installation guide/PDF
  • Try and address common questions about the product on the page

There’s no right way to describe a product, and the process of creating the perfect page for a product is ongoing. However, most of the conversion rate optimization data shows that pictures help sell products. So, investing in good quality pictures – or simply providing more than one or two default product pictures – is a great place to start.

Check Shipping Quotes In Abandoned Carts

If you’re charging shipping for the parts you sell – and if you’re able to view each abandoned cart to see what shipping costs were quoted – it’s fairly easy to contact customers that were quoted a price that was too high.

This is a common issue in OEM parts sales, for example. Many OEM parts retailers are charging for shipping, and most OEM parts ecommerce platforms over-estimate shipping charges. If you or your staff can check the abandoned cart reports every day and email/call customers who were given incorrect shipping quotes, you can rescue quite a few sales.

post-it Special Offer

Give Cart Abandoners An Incentive To Come Back

If you’re trying to rescue abandoned carts, there are a couple of things you can do in an automated fashion:

  1. Send each cart abandoner an email sequence reminding them that they still have parts in their cart, inviting them to call/email for help, and even offering them a discount to come back and complete their purchase
  2. Re-target cart abandoners with advertising. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all make it easy to re-target website visitors, and you can even re-target users who abandoned carts with additional ads promoting special offers.
  3. Survey people when they’re leaving your cart or checkout page and see if you can find out why. At Spork, all our full-service marketing clients have a cart abandonment survey in place to try and determine why carts and checkouts are being abandoned. Users are invited to leave a note about why they’re leaving, and then asked if they’d like someone to follow-up. These follow-up requests often result in sales.

It’s easier than ever to setup re-targeting advertising campaigns on Google, your own website, and on social media, including Facebook and YouTube. Re-targeting campaigns are a good idea in any case, but especially so with cart abandoners.

Create Simple, Easy To Understand Policy Pages

According to our own data, about 10% of auto parts consumers are deeply concerned about shipping and return policies. According to third-party data, about 20% of all online consumers have returned an online purchase at one point or another.

These numbers are easy enough to understand – about 1/5th of all consumers have returned something they bought online. Of these customers, about half have run into a problem with a return at one point or another and are now “gun shy” about buying online. As a result, they tend to study the Return policy page pretty closely.

The same goes for the Shipping policies page – while only a handful of consumers have had a problem with shipping, those who have had a problem are hyper concerned about shipping policies.

When we review a new client’s site here at Spork, we typically find a return policy page that’s a) overly basic and/or b) detailed, but with intimidating language that can frighten off a consumer who’s had a bad experience. Needless to say, this is one of the first things we fix. The same goes for the shipping policies page, the FAQ page, the privacy policy page, and even the terms/conditions page.

Invest In 3rd Party Validation

Ratings by stars

Last but not least, cart abandonment is a symptom of a lack of trust. People are much less likely to abandon their cart if they know your site, know you’re going to send them the products they want quickly, and know you’re giving them a fair price.

While there are a lot of factors that go into building trust, one easy way to build trust is to invest in a third party seller rating tool like ShopperApproved, YotPo seller ratings, or TrustPilot. While these tools usually cost several hundred dollars per month, they offer your customers third-party validation of your site’s trustworthiness. This typically translates into a lower cart abandonment rate and more sales.

Summing Up – Cart Abandonment Can Be Reduced

While it’s unlikely that ecommerce retailers can eliminate cart abandonment, there’s a lot that can be done to reduce abandonment rates. Generally, anything that can reduce cart abandonment just a few points is worth doing.

If we assume we’re working on an ecommerce site that has a 75% cart abandonment rate, and we assume that this site is selling $20,000 worth of parts each month to 100 customers, than each cart we “save” is worth about $200 in revenue. It doesn’t take more than a handful of saved carts each month to justify updating your policy pages and improving product descriptions.

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