Cut out shopping cart abandonment

Saturday, February 11, 2012 by Richard Howe

With some online stores experiencing abandonment rates of 50% and over, a good checkout process is important in allowing customers to shop without distraction or overly -complex procedures.

If you find your website conversion rate is lower than you would like, take a look at the following areas to bump up your completion percentage: 

Access to information

Making important information highly visible is often overlooked, but this simple step can be a real conversion rate optimisation boost.

Once a website visitor has made their product selection and is into the buying process, a few questions might crop up. Can the item be returned? How long is delivery going to take? Make sure this information is really clear, and not hidden away in some FAQ page. If the visitor doesn't have this information right in front of them, it's going to cause them frustration and the chances are, they become another abandonment. 

A good tip is to take a look at a "clickstream" in your analytics program. This will help you to understand where your visitors are exiting your website, and work on improving that area. Start on your cart’s initial page and see where everyone is clicking to. Go through every page, and have a look if there are non-checkout related pages which people move to frequently.

Clicks back to your product pages are fine as the user may be continuing to shop. But if your FAQ pages are gaining a lot of traffic, it's time to provide some of that information during the checkout process. A good website heat map service will help provide further insights into behaviour. 


With so many voucher websites around it's fairly common for web users to go hunting for a discount code to apply to your site.

However, the use of codes complicates the checkout. When a visitor sees a field specifically for a voucher, the first thing they do is click away from your website in hunt of a code. There are 3 ways to try and ensure visitors don't totally abandon at this stage:

  • Put your voucher box right at the top of the checkout. If the visitor's code is wrong or expired, they won't feel annoyed about having just completed a lengthy form. 

  • Put the box at the end of the checkout, so it's the last thing the customer has to do. As they are so close to completion, they hopefully won't quit now if the code doesn't work

  • Remove your voucher box. If you don't offer them, don't give website visitors a reason to go code hunting!

Delivery addesses

It's true that not everyone wants their goods sent to their billing address. But for those using the same address, they don't want to type everything out twice.

Instead, just make everyone fill out their billing address. Then provide a checkbox if the address is to be used for delivery also. Your system should be able to handle this automatically. Better still, it should be able to save their details, so their next checkout is even shorter. 

International customers

Although you may not have many sales from abroad, have you considered the reason for this may be your confusing checkout process? If you don't state you ship overseas or give customers the option of selecting their country, it's no wonder your online sales are limited geographically.

If you want to attract shoppers from elsewhere, insert an informational section below your checkout FAQs specifically for international orders. Provide information about shipping, taxes and delivery times. Adjust your form fields so they are internationally understood. Not everyone knows that a postcode is also a zipcode.

So there you have it. Don’t force customers to spend any extra time checking-out. When a cart is well designed and working well, the website customer barely even has to think about what they are doing. 


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I gave Richard a very vague brief about how we wanted the general feel for the Harley Wines website and said it'd have to please various parties and that this could lead to a lot of back and forth as we tried to please everyone.While it did lead to a lot of back and forth Richard was patient and helpful throughout, and I never waited long for any response or changes from his end while he had to often wait patiently while I got the green light from various members on my end.

However not once did anyone on my end ask for changes to the style or layout of the website and it's had nothing but praise since it's launch.

Considering we did not have a clear idea of what we needed Richard got the sense of the company and really captured the spirit in a wonderfully laid out and user friendly website. I cannot recommend him highly enough!

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