Posted October 15, 2007 8:16 am by with 13 comments

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People buying online are an impatient bunch. No waiting in lines and the checkout lane is always open. But customers do abandon their carts, and it’s something online marketers want to prevent. e-Consultancy has some tips to help you get customers to finish the sale. Research from MarketingSherpa put abandonment rates at almost 60% (read MarketingSherpa’s tips).

abandoned-shopping-cart.jpg10 Tips to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

1. Security – You’ve got to build trust with customers. One way is to put third party logos on your site and (of course) use a secure server address (https).

2. Keep the process short. Keep it to as few steps as necessary. Any longer and customers could change their minds.

3. Let customers know where they are in the process. Use a status bar or tell them what step they are at out of the total number of steps.

4. Checkout isn’t a time to ask for user feedback. Wait until the purchase is complete so you can keep the process streamlined. Only ask for what is needed during the buying process and make it easy for customers.

5. Don’t make customers register on the site before they buy. Again, ask at the end.

6. Keep customers on track by putting no distractions in their way. Don’t put advertisements or any information that’s not important to the sale. Don’t link off the page. They suggest using popups for necessary information (like a privacy policy or terms and conditions).

7. Use established patterns and ways to collect information. In other words, don’t make customers think too hard or cause confusion or frustration.

8. Let them pay with PayPal. It’s a good option for customers who don’t want to enter credit card information they won’t have to. However, they do have to register first.

9. Give shipping information – customers want to know when they will get their items. Tell them when to expect their order and offer many shipping options. is good at pointing out how quickly you can get your package with express shipping. Shoppers can make impulse buys, give them the option to get their package fast. I would add how much is shipping and taxes – some customers are comparison shopping.

10. Give contact details – in real life it’s easy to know who to contract if you have problems or questions. Online it’s not. Giving contact information is another way to build trust with customers. That means a phone number, email address, and physical address.

One last point. Customers sometimes use shopping carts to save items that they aren’t ready to buy. That’s why I like sites that have wish lists.

  • If on line marketeers follow these rules, I for one will not abandon my net shopping half way through. Often, I find the response slow and product information comes too late and it is also often frustrating to see “currently out of stock” notices.

  • You must ensure that your shopping cart works, is easy to use and provides alternatives to customers.

  • I think it’s pretty bad that a mere logo can increase a customers’ confidence in a website..

  • Adam I think it’s what the logo represents. If you trust one company that backs another, you’re more likely to trust that second company.

    Using that logo helps you benefit from the brand of another.

  • This is an excellent list. 8 is a new one I haven’t seen before that I very much agree with (since I know many people don’t implement credit card handling correctly when they do it themselves). I also agree with Steven (and disagree with Adam) on the logo question: it’s not the display of the logo, it’s what you had to go through to earn the logo (say, a security audit for trust-e or scan alert, or a background check for BBB) that provides the value.

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  • Good article. Great point on building trust and confidence. Sometimes choice of site colors can help with this too.

  • The thing I took away from this was the wishlist feature. That is such a valuable tool and a great way to figure out what your customers want if you are unable to currently provide it. sadly it’s rarely seen.

  • Good article. Offering flexible delivery options is a great way to reduce shopping cart abandonment. A number of online retailers in the UK are offering that as well as sending alerts via email or SMS when there order has been despatched. Also have a look at – they have an interesting system that offers flexible delivery choices to consumers and also for the retailer it can integrate with many parcel carriers. Here in the UK we have over 10 carriers (Royal Mail, Parcel Force, DHL, ByBox, Amtrak, DX, FedEx e.t.c)

    Jay Gohil’s last blog post..Exploring 150 years of Anglo-Sikh Heritage

  • Is there really a high correlation between adding a paypal account and increasing conversion? I’ve been trawling the internet for answers to this and I keep getting conflicting responses.

  • Robert,

    Not sure about paypal – but smaller retailers have seen an increase in conversions when they have added Google checkout as one of their payment option.

    Jay Gohil’s last blog post..Exploring 150 years of Anglo-Sikh Heritage

  • Mark Bagshaw

    I think having paypal on there as an option is great, as so many customers are hesinant as to weather they should buy from a site they’ve never visited before or not, but I would only leave it in as an option, as many people would find this just as inconvinent as those with just a paypal account.