Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem in today’s e-commerce world.  Imagine the mother of three squeezing in fifteen minutes of web browsing while her children eat lunch.  She reaches your site, loads up her shopping cart with a few odds and ends, and right before she’s about to place her order, one of her kids spills food on the floor–and you just lost a sale as she closes the lid of her laptop and runs to clean up the mess.

Yeah, this really happens.  Shopping cart abandonment is a fairly common occurrence.  What if you could follow up with your customers, particularly the ones who abandon shopping carts with items in them, and remind them of their pending purchases?  Maybe even offer discounts or free shipping?

The Statistics

Believe it or not, some estimates show that shopping cart abandonment happens as much as 60-70% of the time with traditional e-commerce stores.  That means for every person that comes to your site and places something in their cart, as many as 2 out of 3 will leave without completing the transaction.

With a proper shopping cart abandonment strategy, you may be able to recover anywhere from 20% to 80% of these clients.  It just depends on the client, the type of products you sell, and the reason for the abandonment.

In the example above, the mother of three certainly had every intention of purchasing your products, she just got distracted.  What if you were able to follow up with her, and gently remind her about her shopping cart?

The Strategy

The first part of surviving the shopping cart abandonment phenomenon is setting up your infrastructure to handle these scenarios.

One of the first things we recommend is making your users provide an email address as they add their first item to the cart.  That way, you’ll have their email address if they don’t complete the order, and thus a means to follow up with them.

Now this sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but it’s not.  So many of our clients read about problems like this (and their solutions), and immediately decide “okay, we need all of our clients to register for an account on our site when they initially add an item to the cart.”

Account registration is usually a fairly involved process.  The customer is usually providing email addresses, names, maybe even location, and whatever other text boxes and checkboxes show up in the registration process.  And then there’s that whole “please confirm your email address by clicking the link in the email we just sent you.”  Wow, that’s a lot of work just to add an item to my cart.

So there are two extremes to this situation.  In example one, you’re losing a client because you have no information about them, and they abandon their cart before you have a chance to collect anything.  In scenario two, you’re asking for so much information before they’ve even added the item to the cart that they give up as well.

Our solution?

Require the user to provide an email address (and nothing else) when they add an item to their cart.  Then, when they go to check out, ask for all the other things like address, billing information, etc.  In this case, if they abandon, you at least have the email address, which is a perfectly acceptable (and perhaps the preferred) way to follow up with a potential customer.

The Summary

Shopping cart abandonment is a real problem, and should be taken into account when considering the value of a customer.  By addressing simple issues like this, you may find yourself increasing your sales by 20%, 30%, 50%, or even more.

Let Caffeine help you get your plan in place. Contact us today for your free 30 minute consultation.

Dustin DeVries

Dustin DeVries

Living and breathing software strategy and architecture, Dustin has been building software for over 20 years. He really enjoys working with clients to determine the right technology, whether it’s a web application framework like Django or NodeJS, or a simple CMS solution like WordPress. He received his BS in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M University.During his spare time, Dustin enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, playing guitar, running, and hanging out with his family.