Every ecommerce manager faces the challenge of converting those shoppers who fill their basket with goods, only to leave them behind and not complete the checkout process.

Current abandonment rates can reach 75%, so here are some research-led tips on how to deal with this perennial problem.

But first, let’s look at the top 5 reasons people abandon their shopping baskets in the first place:

1. High shipping costs (44%)
2. Not ready to buy (41%)
3. High product price (25%)
4. Saving the products for later consideration (24%)
5. Shipping costs weren’t clear (22%)

(Source: Invesp)

5 tips for preventing shopping basket abandonment

1. Allow guest check out.

In all of the research this is coming out as a key success factor in driving abandonment rates down. Obviously you need key information such as their name, email address and card details; but stop there. You’ve then got all you need for your contact database and the customer isn’t forced to go through a lengthy process answering unnecessary questions. Design the checkout process so that it gives the option of creating an account right at the end once the sale is complete by just registering a password. Simplicity is key, and by providing a pain-free checkout process you’ll have increased customer satisfaction immediately.

2. Watch what you say.

Pushy sales language is off-putting and makes customers feel like they are being harangued – never a good feeling, and especially bad if many of your customers’ purchases are impulse buys. If you’re guilty of bombarding customers with ‘Buy it now – last chance’ and other messages of a similar vein then redesign your promotional banners and checkout pages to be more subtle and softly persuasive. Think more along the lines of the ‘Customers who bought this also liked this’ approach.

3. Use thumbnails to show what’s in the basket.

Having thumbnail images of the items included in a shopping basket displayed on the checkout page reassures shoppers that they are buying the right things. Including these can increase conversion rates by 10% as shoppers don’t get confused and feel like they have to start the process all over again.

4. Offer the best payment options.

Concerns about payment security came high on the list of reasons why shoppers don’t complete the checkout process in research by Econsultancy, with 58% of respondents saying that it was a concern. Be upfront about the security procedures you have in place to keep their data secure and consider offering PayPal options. 83% of online stores that implemented PayPal on their site saw an increase in sales of up to 18%.

5. Follow up abandoners with email marketing.

This tactic has been proven to be very effective and 2013 statistics show that 48.1% of basket abandonment follow-up emails were opened, 14.9% were clicked and 33.3% of clickers went on to complete a purchase. This article from Internet Retailer outlines the success of specialist DVD ecommerce site Movies Unlimited, which ran a campaign that e-mailed shoppers 24 hours after they abandoned a basket.

It gave them options to buy the items, save the basket for later or clear the basket. If shoppers didn’t respond, they received a second e-mail offering the same options. In the first three weeks of the campaign, Movies Unlimited saw a 1.5% increase in purchase transactions that it attributed directly to recapturing sales from abandoned baskets using follow-up emails.

shutterstock_154651550+ Make sure your follow-up emails aren’t simply deleted…

In 2013, Adestra surveyed over 2.2 billion emails and created a report on the best and worst email subject lines to use. ‘Alert’ and ‘Daily’ were among the most successful words, while some commonly-used terms actually performed poorly. Find the full report here.