Get actionable strategies on crafting abandoned checkout emails that actually work and keep those eCommerce shopping carts rolling all the way to purchase.
What is an abandoned checkout in eCommerce/DTC?
Let's begin with understanding what is an abandoned checkout flow in eCommerce. But, before that, let us ask you this: How many times have you been to a physical retail shop, filled up your cart with goodies, ambled up to the checkout counter, and then, for some reason, walked away without completing purchasing it?
All of us have done it. The reasons could be manifold - It could be because we realized the product is too expensive, or perhaps you really don't need it.
For an eCommerce website, this is what an abandoned checkout looks like: A customer browses through your online store, selects items they're interested in, adds them to their digital cart, and initiates the checkout process. However, instead of finalizing the transaction, they leave the site with their cart still full. This moment, where the transition from potential sale to lost opportunity occurs, is called an abandoned checkout flow.
But, why does checkout abandonment matter?
It is pivotal for eCommerce and Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) businesses because it highlights a moment of hesitation or a barrier that prevented the customer from completing their purchase. Understanding why online shoppers abandon their carts can offer invaluable insights into improving the shopping experience, streamlining the checkout process, and ultimately, increasing conversion rates. High abandonment rates can point to specific pain points in the customer journey, whether it's unexpected costs, a lack of payment options, or security concerns.
Therefore, for businesses in the eCommerce sector, addressing the reasons behind abandoned checkouts is not just about recovering lost sales; it's about enhancing the customer journey to foster loyalty and drive growth.
8 Reasons why customers abandon the checkout
Now, let's dive deeper into each of the reasons why cart abandonment occurs so that eCommerce and DTC businesses can mitigate it:
1. Unexpected costs
When customers reach the final stages of checkout, being greeted by unexpected costs (like shipping, charges, taxes, or fees) can be a real deal-breaker. This issue often stems from a lack of upfront communication about the total cost of purchase.
To tackle this, transparency is key. Consider incorporating a cost calculator early in the shopping process or displaying estimated costs upfront. This way, customers aren't caught off guard at the last step.
2. Complicated checkout process
A checkout process that feels like running an obstacle course can quickly dampen a shopper's enthusiasm. The goal should be to make the process as intuitive and straightforward as possible.
This could mean reducing the number of pages or steps involved, clearly indicating progress through the checkout process, and minimizing the amount of information required from the customer. Autofill options and the ability to easily edit cart items can also enhance the experience.
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3. Account creation requirements
Forcing shoppers to create an account can feel like an unnecessary barrier to purchase. While account creation can offer benefits to both the customer and the business (like faster future checkouts and personalized recommendations), it's important to also offer a guest checkout option.
This respects the shopper's preference for privacy and convenience, potentially converting hesitant visitors into satisfied customers.
4. Trust issues
Trust is a cornerstone of successful online transactions. Customers need to feel confident that their personal and payment information is secure. For example, customers may often fear: "What if I don't like this product? Will I get a refund from them?"
Displaying security badges, using SSL certificates for encryption, and offering secure payment options can help. Additionally, clear and accessible policies on returns, refunds, and data privacy reassure customers that they're making a safe choice.
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5. Limited options in payment process
Your shoppers don't just expect a smooth payment process, they expect you to cater to their payment preferences too which are personal. For example, in Asian countries, not many people have a PayPal account. So, asking for shoppers to pay via PayPal may result in cart abandonment.
Some may prefer traditional credit cards, while others lean towards digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, or even cryptocurrency options. Expanding your payment options to include several methods caters to a broader audience, reducing the chance of abandonment due to payment incompatibilities.
6. Poor mobile experience
With a significant portion of online shopping happening on mobile devices, a seamless mobile checkout experience is crucial.
This means ensuring your website is responsive, pages load quickly, and navigation is touch-friendly. Simplifying forms and input fields for easy entry on small screens can also make a big difference in converting mobile shoppers.
7. High shipping costs and long delivery times
Competitive shipping options and clear, realistic delivery timelines are more important than ever. Consider offering free shipping thresholds, flat-rate shipping, or multiple shipping options to accommodate various customer needs and expectations.
Communicating expected delivery dates clearly and providing updates can help manage expectations and reduce cart abandonment due to shipping concerns.
8. Lack of customer support
Questions and uncertainties can arise at any point in the shopping process, including checkout. Providing immediate and accessible customer support through live chat, a readily available phone number, or detailed FAQs can address concerns as they arise, encouraging customers to complete their purchases.
Addressing these areas involves a careful balance of technology, psychology, and customer service. By understanding the reasons behind cart abandonment, eCommerce and DTC businesses can create more engaging, reassuring, and user-friendly checkout experiences that not only reduce abandonment rates but also build trust and loyalty with their customer base.
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So, what is an average, good, or bad shopping cart abandonment rate/benchmark?
In eCommerce, every click and cart addition is a part of the intricate dance between browsing and buying. It's like gauging the mood of a party: too quiet, and you know something's off; just the right buzz, and you've hit the sweet spot. So, let's understand what could be an average, good or bad checkout abandonment rate in the DTC industry.
- Average Rate: Across the eCommerce industry, an average checkout abandonment rate hovers around 60% to 80%. It's a starting point, a baseline from which you can measure your online store's performance.
- Good Rate: If your abandonment rate is on the lower end of this spectrum, say 60% to 70%, you're doing pretty well. It means your checkout process is smoother or more appealing than many of your peers. This rate suggests that you have a simple checkout process, making your customers feel comfortable and confident enough to follow through with their purchases.
- Bad Rate: Conversely, if you're seeing rates higher than 80%, it's a red flag. It signals that there's significant room for improvement in your checkout flow or overall shopping experience. Customers are getting cold feet at the final hurdle, and it's worth digging into the why and how to coax them over the finish line.
How do you handle abandoned checkouts? 9 Practical strategies for your online store
Tackling abandoned checkout flows is both an art and science - you need to mix empathy, insight, and strategic action. Implementing these strategies requires a mix of understanding your target audience, leveraging technology, and continually refining your approach based on data and customer feedback. Here're some clear strategies tailored for the eCommerce industry to convert those almost-sales into loyal customers:
1. Cart abandonment emails
Picture this: a customer leaves your site with items still in their cart. A gentle nudge in the form of a personalized email can be just the reminder they need. Timing is key; sending the first email within a few hours, followed by a couple of well-spaced reminders, can significantly increase conversion rates. These automated emails can include:
- A view of what they've left behind
- A simple message to encourage customers urging them to complete their purchase, or
- Even an offer like free shipping or a discount code to sweeten the deal.
2. Simplify the checkout process
Every extra field or complicated step in your checkout process is an opportunity for customers to change their minds. Streamline the process by:
- Eliminating unnecessary steps
- Offering guest checkout options, and
- Using autofill to speed up the transaction
- Displaying a clear progress indicator can also help by letting customers know how close they are to completion.
3. Optimize for mobile
With a significant chunk of online shopping happening on mobile devices, ensuring a smooth, responsive mobile checkout experience is non-negotiable. This means big, clickable buttons, easy-to-navigate forms, and ensuring that your site loads quickly on mobile connections.
Pro tip: Remember to include thumbnails of products throughout the checkout process. It is a signal to buyers that they have the product within their grasp.
4. Offer multiple payment options
People like to stick to their preferred payment methods while paying for eCommerce good. Some are die-hard credit card users, while others prefer PayPal, Apple Pay, or other digital wallets. Increasing the range of accepted payment methods can lower the barrier for completing a purchase.
5. Transparent pricing
Surprise costs are a major turnoff. Be upfront about all charges, including shipping, taxes, and any other fees, as early in the shopping process as possible. Consider incorporating shipping cost calculators and showing estimated taxes before the final checkout stage.
6. Use exit-intent offers
An exit-intent offer can act as a powerful incentive for customers contemplating abandonment. When a customer moves to leave your site, a pop-up offering a discount or free shipping if they complete their purchase can be the nudge they need to stay.
7. Improve trust signals
Trust is crucial in eCommerce. Ensure your site displays trust signals like SSL certificates, security badges, and customer testimonials prominently. Clear and easy-to-find returns policies and guarantees also help build confidence.
Pro tip: If you're taken the pains to build a great checkout experience, show it to your customers by displaying how close they are to getting the product in their hands.
8. Retargeting campaigns
Retargeting allows you to keep your brand and products in the minds of potential customers even after they've left your site. Using display ads across social media platforms or the broader web, you can remind them of what they're missing out on. Tailor these ads with specific products from their abandoned cart, and include compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that bring them back to your checkout page.
9. Live chat support
Sometimes, customers just have a question that's holding them back from making a purchase. Offering live chat support can resolve these queries in real time, reducing the chances of cart abandonment.
10. Analyze and adapt
Use analytics to understand where and why customers are dropping off. Tools like heatmaps, session recordings, and checkout funnel analysis can offer insights into user behavior and help identify friction points. Regularly reviewing this data via Google Analytics and your email service provider and testing changes to your checkout process can lead to continual improvements.
9 Abandoned cart email examples to draw inspiration from
Abandoned checkouts cast a shadow over potential sales and customer relationships. While it's a challenge that every eCommerce brand faces, it presents a unique opportunity to reconnect, re-engage, and convert hesitation into action.
Now, let's look at a few innovative checkout abandonment emails that can reduce your shopping cart abandonment and fetch you more completed transactions. Use this section as an inspiration to send abandoned checkout emails that remove barriers, and reclaim lost opportunities.
1. Last chance to complete your order
The "Last chance to complete your order" email is one of the most popular forms of abandonment checkouts used by online retailers. Here's an example of this email by a health-focused brand and why we prefer it:
- This email is simple and uncomplicated with its design and layout.
- It creates a sense of scarcity and urgency via the copy and the header image.
- It lists the products that the customer might have left in the cart - this is a must-have for these emails. It acts as a reminder of what they had started in their purchase journey.
- It lists other products that store sells to let their audience know what they else is available.
2. We can't hold your cart much longer
This is another example of a 'Last chance to complete your order' and here's why you could pick this and set it up for your eCommerce store.
- Like the previous email, this one conveys a sense of urgency. Saying that 'We can't hold you cart' any longer is a clever way of saying that 'The demand for our products is high, and our shelves are getting empty fast. So, if you want these products, get them quickly.'
- Besides the obvious abandoned cart items that it highlights, it also addresses objections of potential buyers with 6 reasons why they should buy it.
- Every little aspect of the email comes with contextual images so the viewer does not feel lost while looking at it.
3. Your cart is about to expire
This is another example of grabbing your cart before its goes off. Here's why we like this email:
- It has a simple, clean, and clear banner image that showcases the brand. Remember eCommerce emails are as much about design as they're about selling. Such emails help build your brand value in the eyes of your customers.
- The Call To Action (CTA) is to complete the purchase process which is the most logical thing to do.
4. Encouraging buyers to complete checkout with discount offers
"When all else fails, offer an abandoned checkout discount" say eCommerce experts. We've spoken above how offering a discount can nudge buyers in the right direction. Here's an example of one such abandoned checkout email with a discount offer:
- The offer for discount is the most visible message on the email. So, it is clear that the brand is using a discount strategy to get more completed transactions.
- The other thing that we felt it does really well is the usage of social proofs (testimonials) with customer names. This is a psychological hack because eCommerce players like Amazon regularly use it to their advantage.
- This eCommerce uses the copy very cleverly to subtly say that they're a global brand with the words "Customers in 48 countries..." Again, this is a clever way of earning trust from their audience.
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5. Encouraging subscriptions and related savings
If you can sweeten the deal for shoppers who have abandoned their carts by inviting them to subscribe to your offers/discounts etc., then that's a solid plan. Here's an example:
- This brand asks customers to subscribe and save 10% on their purchases.
- There are two clear CTAs in this email: one to subscribe to the brand, and second to complete the purchase process.
- They've also combined their brand values such as 'lower carbon footprint', 'saving the plant' via their email copy.
6. We saved your cart!
This is another one of our favorite email example and this is what we like about it:
- It comes across a friendly, next-door brand with email copy that reflects it. No, they aren't trying to push you into doing that you wouldn't want.
- A clever email example of combining reviews/testimonials with product images. Not a lot of eCommerce brand are able to replicate this and that's why we like the contextual nature of this email. They do not place testimonials randomly instead every product image is accompanied with a testimonial. This also means that they've let their customers do the talking for them instead of writing on their behalf.
7. Occasion-based abandoned checkout email
In this example, we see an email used for specific occasions like Black Friday and this is why we prefer it:
- Although the Black Friday sale is closing, this eCommerce brand insists that you refill your stocks before they run out. Which means that you needn't stop sending emails if you're done sending emails for Black Fridays/Cyber Mondays etc. All you need is a little creativity to send emails to customers who stepped into your online store but left it without buying anything.
- They encourage email subscribers to join a select group of customers to get exclusive deals, new product arrivals etc. This is a good way of building a loyal customer base.
8. Why use our product
In the first email example above, we showcased how the brand gives reasons for you to buy their product. Here's another one that uses it to good effect:
- The first and obvious call to action is to complete the purchase.
- The second portion of the email gives 3 simple reasons explaining why customers must buy from them. It isn't crowded with too much text, rather it uses simple copy to explain it.
9. Using a conversational approach
Here's another example of using a conversational technique to nudge buyers. Let's understand it better to know why it achieves so much in a single email:
- This email showcases the people behind the brand who're making it happen. It conveys a sense of personalization like no other. Remember every email has to convey a story to your audience and this is a simple yet highly creative way of doing it.
- They assure you of simple return policies, free shipping etc. to encourage buyers take that elusive step.
- They also remind customers of their accumulated points, and how much is available for redemption.
15 Abandoned checkout email best practices to implement today
In this blog, we've seen what are abandoned checkouts, why do they occur, and how to minimize them. Let us now round this up with 15 principles that could net you more conversions from abandoned checkouts.
- Craft compelling copy: Engage your audience with clear, persuasive email copy that emphasizes the value of completing their purchase.
- Decode user journeys: Analyze data to understand at which points users are abandoning their carts, allowing for targeted improvements.
- Innovate beyond the norm: Differentiate your abandoned checkout emails with unique content or offers not typically seen in your industry.
- Gather insights directly: Use surveys or feedback tools within emails to learn directly from customers about their checkout experience hurdles.
- Reassure on security: Clearly communicate the payment security measures in place to protect payment and personal information, building trust and confidence.
- Expand payment versatility: Identify and integrate additional payment solution/s preferred by your target audience to remove payment-related conversion barriers.
- Simplify, then simplify some more: Continuously refine the checkout process to eliminate unnecessary steps or information requests, making it as intuitive as possible.
- Streamline the checkout: Design a checkout flow that minimizes complexity and time, encouraging quick and decisive purchases.
- Personalize the nudge: Tailor abandonment emails with items left in the cart, personalized messages, and relevant recommendations to draw customers back.
- Leverage urgency and scarcity: Use dynamic content to highlight limited stock or time-bound offers, prompting immediate action.
- Showcase customer support: Prominently feature options for live chat, email, or phone support in emails to address any concerns or questions instantly.
- Reward their return: Offer free shipping or special discounts in the abandonment email as an incentive for customers to complete their checkout.
- Highlight customer testimonials: Incorporate positive reviews and testimonials to alleviate doubts and affirm the value of your products.
- Use clear, compelling CTAs: Ensure calls-to-action are bold, direct, and enticing, guiding customers back to their carts with ease.
- Optimize for mobile: Guarantee that emails are mobile-friendly, ensuring a seamless reading and clicking experience from any device.
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Enjoyed this article? Follow our CEO, Adam Kitchen on Twitter or LinkedIn, and don't forget to join 2,000+ hungry D2C enthusiasts who lap up our weekly insider insights on eCommerce email marketing.
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