Cart Abandonment Rates at Susie’s Lemonade Stand

What Is Cart Abandonment?

Imagine you’re an adorable 9-year-old girl named Susie who is opening up an artisanal neighborhood lemonade stand to make a little extra pocket change to buy tickets at the upcoming county fair (or, probably more accurately, elixirs for her Clash of Clans account).

Her first customer is old man McScrooge who orders four lemonades to go. Susie sets the lemonades out and tells McScrooge that will be $24, only to be surprised by McScrooge’s abrupt departure leaving behind the lemonade he ordered and grumbling about lemonade inflation since his childhood days.  Meanwhile, Susie, her dreams of boosting her Clan squashed, is left staring at four abandoned lemonades and an empty cash drawer.

What you just witnessed was McScrooge abandoning his cart, just like most online shoppers do roughly 75% of the time. As you can see from the chart below provided by Statista, cart abandonment rates have been steadily rising over the past few years, much to the chagrin of online retailers who see how much those lost sales are affecting their overall revenue.

Now you may be thinking, “Hold your horses there cowboy and stop showing me numbers that mean nothing to me. How does someone even determine their abandonment rate?” And you wouldn’t be alone, as many e-commerce companies don’t take the time or learn how to find their cart abandonment rates. Instead of reinventing the wheel, check out this great article by Barilliance on how to measure cart abandonment rates using Google Analytics. I’ll wait…

Ignorance was bliss right? Here you were, thinking your revenues looked good, your company was growing at a good clip, and then you read this article and find out you’ve been leaving a lot of pie sitting out to rot. But hey, it’s easy to point out what everyone is doing wrong, it’s much more difficult to offer solutions. So let’s take a look at how to eat more of that pie.

First and foremost you have to accept that a large portion of your cart abandoners are just window shoppers who had little to no intention to purchase. A study by Baymard found that 58.6% of US online shoppers abandoned simply because they were just browsing and not ready to purchase. But that still leaves us with a large population of McScrooges who are abandoning for other, more curable, reasons. The following graph by eMarketer.com provides an insight into their reasons:

Okay, I’m still just pointing out what your e-commerce store is possibly doing wrong and have yet to offer up any solutions. So let’s just look into some solutions that can have an immediate impact on your abandonment rate.

First, take a look at your checkout process. An overly complicated checkout process with too many fields to fill out can deter potential buyers, especially if they are using a mobile device. That same Baymard study mentioned earlier dives into the checkout process in more detail. It’s worth a read.

Next, let’s dive into shipping costs. If you already have free shipping, then congratulations on following Amazon’s example and you can skip this section after patting yourself on the back on a job well done. If you don’t offer free shipping and are wondering if you could even feasibly offer such an incentive, then check out this blog by kissmetrics that really gets into the nitty gritty of how to make “free shipping” profitable for your company.

Now let’s talk about all those lonely carts sitting around feeling scared and abandoned, looking around longingly for their owner. We’ve all seen them in the physical form at the supermarket and wondered “who’d do such a thing?!” Well, in the world of e-commerce that abandonment behavior is much more rampant. In an article by Business Insider, the author points to data from SeeWhy showing that three-fourths of those Abandoners claim they plan to return to the site to finish their purchase, or go in store if there is a brick and mortar location.

Recovering that about-to-abandon shopper can be trickier if you’re an online only e-tailer. Luckily there are some great post-abandonment solutions out there built around retargeting ads and follow up emails. According to Listrak, emails sent three hours after a cart is abandoned have a 40% open rate and 20% click through rate. Companies out there like Bouncex and CartStack offer services to help bring those abandoners back to complete their purchase.

But a dollar today is better than a dollar tomorrow, right? Going back to Susie, what could she have done differently to have converted ol’ McScrooge from wanting lemonade to actually purchasing and drinking a lemonade? Maybe Susie could have recognized that McScrooge’s hesitant behavior was actually very similar to other potential lemonade shoppers she had previously in the day who also didn’t purchase. By noting these previous behaviors, Susie, our nine-year-old behavioral scientist/entrepreneur, could see the signs and predict McScrooge’s abandoning behavior before he left her stand and offer him a discount if he purchased right there and then. McScrooge becomes a happy customer who feels he got a good deal on his delicious lemonade and Susie is ready to put her new profits towards destroying her opposing Clans.

That type of behavioral based predictive solution is exactly what companies like mine (had to plug at least once, right?) are doing. At Metrical, we are focused on helping retailers intelligently identify and predict shoppers who are going to abandon their online shopping cart before they actually leave. Our solution gives retailers the opportunity to engage shoppers with personalized and time sensitive promotions that result in reduced abandonment and increased top-line revenue. By better understanding your shoppers’ behaviors you have the ability to convert more of them into buyers.

It’s only fair that we end with Susie after pointing out all the faults in her business mechanics. Let’s now look at an alternate version of Susie, one who has implemented some serious changes to her conversion funnel and is slaying it in the lemonade industry. With a streamlined checkout process, an option for free delivery of her lemonade, offering personalized, time sensitive promotions at the point of abandonment, Susie has greatly reduced the number of shoppers abandoning their lemonade orders. And for those shoppers still slipping through the cracks? Well Susie is using good ol’ USPS to send them reminders to come back to purchase (email reminders for you e-tailers).

For e-commerce stores, some of these changes are easier than others. But by implementing changes incrementally, e-commerce stores like yours will be able to reduce cart abandonment and see an increase in top-line revenue. And just like Susie, your clan can better clash with the competition.


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