On average, two out of three people never hit ‘pay’ when they’re buying goods online. As e-commerce merchants are all too aware, that’s a huge 69% of potential customers who give up mid-way through the buying journey.
Independent e-commerce research institute The Baymard Institute has been tracking cart abandonment annually for several years now and unfortunately that percentage rarely waivers. That could be about to change.
Cart abandonment and COVID-19
Early indications from other studies reveal that cart abandonment rate during COVID-19 has changed for the worst, not the better.
Since the pandemic began, data analysis from retail monitor platform Amperity reveals an astonishing 94% abandonment rate compared to 85% over the same period last year.
In a way, this isn’t surprising as people are at home with arguably more time to browse. Customers have created almost 47% more shopping baskets since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when compared year-on-year. Although Amperity’s figures are based on a small sample size, it seems online window-shopping could be a new lockdown and post-lockdown pastime.
What causes cart abandonment?
The Baymard Institute’s most recent study from September 2019 finds that 58.6% of customers surveyed state they’re “just browsing”. Which leaves 41.4% remaining potential customers that, with a better checkout flow, could increase conversion rates by 35%.
Whether it’s an overcomplicated checkout flow, lack of clarity on the cost, declined payments, limited payment methods or poor user experience (UX). Many of the reasons are tied to the payment process.
What strategies can you adopt?
As a merchant, there are several strategies you can test and learn from to improve your conversion rate and capture that elusive 41.4% of in-market customers we mentioned earlier.
Personalize your customer’s experience
Tailor your customer experience to what you know about them. While you might be a business that focuses on selling domestically, does your data suggest customers are visiting from another country? If so, be flexible. Start their shopping experience with you on the right foot.
Language. Automatically detect the browser language and IP location. If your customer is in France, show up in French and wave the flag.
Currency. Remove friction by enabling your customer to buy in their currency.
Protection. Clearly display the relevant security certificates on the home page and payment pages to build trust.
Defaulting. Detecting the device and browser your customer is using to offer different payment methods can help to streamline the checkout experience and speed up the buying process.
Responsive web design. Make sure your checkout page adapts to the device type, not just browser size.
Progressive Web Apps (PWA). While responsive web design has been around for years, we’re now seeing a growing adoption of Google’s progressive web app methodology. Web elements are minimized so they can be loaded quickly, much like an app experience.
Empower your customer to pay the way they want
Be agile. Adapt as your business grows into new markets or as you consider new business models.
Local payment methods. Selling across Europe, Middle East, Asia? Cards are not always the default choice. Before you expand, build ahead by adding the payment methods you need.
Basket value. High ticket items may be suited to pay later solutions such as Klarna. Some customers may prefer to use Amex over Visa or Mastercard due to rewards. Make sure your digital payment provider is charging you fairly for the offering choice.
Improve first-time conversion. Based on our conversations with merchants, we know that around 80% of them do not offer methods that pre-fill customer data which can speed up transactions.
Perfect your data collection process and remove friction
It’s all in the details when it comes to reducing payment friction for your customer.
Be considerate about the layout of your checkout page. Collect all the data you need on a single page or clearly show the steps involved.
Default to guest checkout. If you know the customer, enable the browser to show login name and password, otherwise let new customers checkout as “guests”.
Encourage newsletter sign-up or refer a friend. Start building loyalty to your brand by using methods like these in exchange for future discounts.
Handle common input errors. Reduce the likelihood of the customer having to submit their details again by automatically detecting the card type and showing input errors.
Make it easy to submit card details. On mobile, showing a full keyboard slows down the process of entering card details.
Customize the look and feel of your payment form. Display your branding throughout the entire flow of your customer’s journey right through to the payment stage.
Continuously improve and adapt
Finessing your checkout experience can take time. But it’s time worth investing.
Evolve payments with your business growth. Be agile in testing new payment methods as you enter new markets, offer new product lines or change how your customers access your product or service.
Reduce declined payments. Work closely with your client success manager to understand the “why” behind the data.
Does your payment provider help you understand exactly why a transaction has declined? Would using a card updater service be beneficial if you’re offering subscriptions?
Scale your back-end process. As volumes increase, merchants can go from processing millions of dollars online to tens of millions and beyond. The cost of taking payments typically reduces but the time spent reconciling transactions and managing disputes can increase.
Could your digital payment provider help you streamline your processes via API connections in the tools you use?
We’ve given you a number of suggestions here, based on our experience supporting our clients. We recommend that you pinpoint one or two tactics that you think could make the most impact on your customers’ checkout experience. Then build on those foundations.