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The definitive guide to reducing abandoned carts for Shopify: 2022 Update

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Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by LAUNCHTIP

In this guide, we cover the essentials including what abandoned carts are, why they occur and the various techniques & tactics we can deploy to reduce them occurring on your store.

What are abandoned carts?

Abandoned carts occur when a visitor to your store has added something to the cart but has then exited the store without entering or completing checkout. On average, around 70% of visitors will abandoned their carts before making a purchase.

abandoned carts

The further the potential customer got to completing checkout, the higher the chance of cart recovery. For example, if a first time visitor adds a product to the cart and then navigates away from the site, the probability of recovering this cart is less than if the same visitor had entered the checkout flow and provided contactable details.

Why do abandoned carts happen?

Abandoned carts happen for various reasons including:

  • Window shopping: This is a visitor that is essentially shopping without the intent of purchasing anything.
  • Time: The doorbell rang, you are late for an appointment, the ad break is over… Any distraction that takes you away from shopping.
  • Price: A savvy shopper may be price checking you and decides to opt for another store to complete their purchase.
  • UX: Short for “customer experience”, many elements can prevent a checkout from unclear shipping/refund polices to store issues (payment providers), poor design and slow response.

To pinpoint the exact reason why abandoned carts occur can be a needle in a haystack. Further more to this, there is no one size fits all. Each abandoned cart is essentially unique and the reason for abandonment will vary from cart to cart.

How to reduce abandoned carts

Reducing abandoned carts is very much a trial and error scenario. Having analytics in place will certainly help to some degree but the key metric is your “cart abandonment rate”. This is what you want to reduce in the long run. In the short term, you will want to increase your “cart abandonment recovery”. This is the amount of abandoned carts you successfully recovered.

By taking steps to address certain areas, you will be able to reduce multiple abandoned carts with minor changes. For example, if you don’t have clear shipping policies on your store and then trial “free shipping on all orders” with a vibrant banner, you may experiencing a reduction in abandoned carts (as well as a lift in conversion rate). Use an app like Ping to portray clear messaging for your store and reduce abandoned carts.

adidas_ping_clear_usp_messaging

The same could be applied to price point as another example. If you reduce your price by 10%, more visitors may enter and complete checkout because you are now competitive. This means those shoppers that were finding somewhere else to checkout now complete their original checkout on your store.

Techniques used to reduce abandoned carts:

  • Reduce price (too expensive)
  • Increase price (too cheap!)
  • Provide clear shipping polices (don’t make shoppers have to search for it)
  • Provide a clear returns policy e.g “30 day easy returns”
  • Speed. Declutter plages, reduce heavy images. Choose optimized themes or have a custom theme built.
  • Monitor. Use heat map and recorded real world sessions to identify drop off zones.
  • Analytics. Identify customer journey exit points.
  • Optimize product description, add video and sell your products/lifestyle better.
  • Authority. Provide key resources: about, contact, terms, privacy, unique selling points, established and press coverage.
  • Offer multiple shipping options: Free, express, insured, international
  • Offer guest checkout: don’t force a signup.
  • Offer multiple payment methods: Credit/debit, PayPal, Shop Pay, Amazon, Apple Pay,

How to recover abandoned carts

Once you have implemented actions to reduce root causes of abandoned carts in the first instance, you should now look at techniques to recover abandoned carts that do occur.

Techniques used to recover abandoned carts include:

  • Send a request after a certain time
  • Send multiple requests (ideally up to 3)
  • Incentivize
  • Remarket

Send a request

Sending a simple request to recover the abandoned cart is usually your primary winning technique. Sometimes we get busy or distracted in life so a welcome reminder is all it takes. A request can also trigger a decision making process. Perhaps the visitor was unsure but now they have had time to think about it, after receiving a request to complete the checkout, they commit and purchase.

Send multiple requests

The initial request may help you capture some low hanging fruit as they say. These are the easiest of carts to recover. For individuals that need some further nudging, an abandoned cart series (usually consisting of 3 request) is a great way to cast your abandoned cart fishing net out further.

abandoned cart series shopify

Repeated exposure to products an individual showed intent to purchase can assist in converting them. Perhaps the first request was overlooked, ignored or missed. A second or third request may just be enough to convert them to a customer. Whilst a majority of success will always come from the first in a sequence, the second or third can help capture that slightly higher hanging fruit on the tree.

Incentivize

A nudge in the right direction is sometimes all it takes. Including a discount can help convert abandoned carts greatly. By presenting product(s) to an individual they showed interest in alongside a time-sensitive offer can convert very well. A time-sensitive discount can create also create an urgency based scenario where individuals will miss out if they don’t act now.

This can also be tied into the above point regarding multiple requests. You could have the first request in a series with no discount, the second with a small discount and the third with a best and final discount. Most email sequence providers will make sure to stop an individual from receiving emails from the abandoned cart sequence once they have complete checkout.

How to setup abandoned cart recovery for Shopify

Now that you are well versed on the world of abandoned carts, let’s look at the tech you can utilize to help recover them. Whilst this guide is geared towards the Shopify platform, the principals apply to eCommerce stores in general:

  • Default (Built In)
  • Third Party (Active Campaign, Omnisend, Klaviyo)
  • SMS
  • Push notifications
  • Messenger or Whatsapp
  • Ad remarketing (advanced)

Default

Shopify comes with abandoned cart recovery out of the box. Whilst it is simple in functionality, it will certainly help you take the first step to reducing abounded carts. This is well suited if you are new to Shopify and want to get something in place for the time being.

Default abandoned carts in Shopify
Default abandoned carts in Shopify

There is no sequence or series element, it will only send 1 email at a set time you chose from the options.

 

Third Party

This is where cart recovery can really take off. By deploying an abandoned cart series using a third party provider, you can maximize your success rate. You will be able to see the success rate from each step allowing you to A/B test the series and tweak it to perfection.

Abandoned cart series in Omnisend
Abandoned cart series in Omnisend.

Email Marketing Apps for Cart Abandonment:

Omnisend Abandoned Cart

Omnisend

 

Klaviyo Cart abandoned

Klaviyo

 

Active CampaignActive Campaign

 

sendinblueSendInBlue

 

MailchimpMailchimp

 

SMS

Some customers provide a mobile number instead of an email. Having an SMS cart abandonedment flow in place will allow you to capture these carts. Depeding on the third party provider you use, this may be an option you can activate within the email series. If not, there are apps that offer this functionality.

SMS Apps for Cart Abandonment:

Push notifications

Some push notification providers have cart abandonment flows built in. It is worth having these active as well as your primary email sequence. Usually push notifications aren’t a replacement for email but help bolster your communication channels with your audience.

Push Notification Apps for Cart Abandonment:

Messenger & Whatsapp

Similar to SMS, these are alternative channels that some of your audience will use. Again, you can have these operating alongside your primary email sequence to further bolster your communication. We suggest you only send 1 message through these otherwise you can over-communicate.

Messenger & Whatsapp Apps for Cart Abandonment:

 

Ad remarketing

This is an advanced technique but can play a great roll in bringing back individuals that showed intent. Whilst not a direct form of communication, you can use ad space to subliminally communicate products of interest. This can have a great repeat affect on consumers that will ultimately lead to conversions.

Through platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, you can reach your intended audience with remarketing ads of the exact products they added to their carts.

Ad remarketing Apps for Cart Abandonment:

Conclusion

For any modern day eCommerce merchant, recovering abandoned carts will help you capture potentially lost revenue. Whilst the main focus should be to reduce abandoned carts in the first place, having cart abandonment automated on your store is a must.

Many email marketing providers have made this a set and forget solution. The initial time of setting this up will pay huge returns throughout the lifetime value of your store.

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