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Stop Losing $4 Trillion to Abandoned Carts

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Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise is left in abandoned carts each year. The good news? An abandoned cart does not automatically translate to a lost sale—if you can successfully draw customers back to buy.

But why exactly are customers leaving your site before purchasing, and what can you do about it? Here are the top five reasons for abandoned carts, and how you can overcome this challenge to improve conversion.

Top five reasons for abandoned carts—and what you can do about it

Reason #1: Shipping costs more than expected

The challenge: When it comes to shopping online, nothing is more alarming than reaching checkout—only to encounter an unexpected cost for shipping. Free shipping is no longer a luxury; it’s expected from an industry where e-giants hungry to compete in shipping wars roam.

The solution: Free shipping is no longer optional, but essential, for businesses to thrive. Fortunately, there are many ways to offer free shipping and still make a profit.

84% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that offer free shipping.

One way several Miva merchants have found success with free shipping is by increasing the minimum order value to qualify. And if you’re worried this will turn off customers, don’t—93% of consumers have gone to extra lengths for free shipping (WSJ).

Helpful resource: Check out these six strategies to make free shipping profitable, especially as the biggest shopping season of the year draws near. 

Reason #2: The customer is comparison shopping; not ready to purchase

The challenge: “Window shopping” is no longer relegated to brick-and-mortars. In fact, the speed of the Internet only quickens the capability to comparison shop.

And while low prices are a top reason to stick with one shop, it’s not what leads to loyalty (read: more profit) long-term.

The solution: Any competitor can outbid your prices tomorrow; it takes much longer to build trust with quality products and superior service. Plug-ins and programs available today can reduce abandoned carts in two ways: through customer reviews, and immediate service.

Sharing customer reviews on your site helps convince window-shoppers and newer customers of your legitimacy, while live chat services can guide them to purchase. On-site service messaging programs such as chatbots can prompt the user with helpful reminders or offer assistance with any questions or issues, cutting down on time spent making decisions in order to convert.

Today, more customers than ever expect chatbots, and are willing to spend more through them—$600 more.

Through customer reviews and superior service, brands eager to connect in personable ways will emerge with the sale—and the customer’s loyalty.

Reason #3: Distractions cause your customer to bounce

The challenge: Whether comparison shopping (see #2) or attending to another task, customers are bound to bounce from your site. Remember: abandoned carts don’t equate to a loss of interest, as 3/4ths of shoppers intend to return; they just need a reminder, and a reason, to do so.

The solution: With abandoned cart emails, you get to draw customers back to the goodies in store—at their convenience. When timed right, abandonment marketing automation has the potential to increase conversion on an otherwise lost sale.

When sent within 20 minutes of abandoning the cart, the first automated email saw an increased conversion rate of 5.2%.

Helpful resource: Take control of the timing, conversation, and sale with abandoned basket emails. One of the newest features of Miva Merchant 9.7 (set for release this month), abandoned basket emails personalize communication, giving customers a reason to return.

Reason #4: Customers are forced to create an account 

The challenge: Not everyone wants to create an account on your site, and that’s okay. The more hoops you require customers to jump through, the more likely you are to see abandoned carts. 

The solution: Allow your customer to check out as a guest, but also provide the opportunity to create an account after checkout is complete. In addition, offering discounts or rewards in exchange for their email address allows you to solidify a longer-lasting relationship through personalized recommendations and ongoing communication.

75% of consumers report scouring their inboxes just to look for relevant discounts.

Reason #5: Preferred payment option was not available

The challenge: Over 46% of abandoned carts occur on the payment page. The purchasing process must be as seamless as possible; people are not going to go through the trouble to set up another method of payment if it doesn’t suit them.

The solution: As more consumers take to mobile shopping, companies like Apple and PayPal offer their own trusted solutions to streamline checkout. Both Apple Pay and PayPal OneTouch enable single touch purchasing from a trusted source customers already use.

In the U.S., mobile wallets are expected to surpass the use of both credit and debit cards BY 2020.

Helpful resource: In addition to Apple Pay and PayPal One Touch, Miva quickens the checkout process with MivaPay. MivaPay is a PCI-compliant, secure solution used to store credit card information, automate billing, and auto-renew subscription.

Improve customer connection, reduce abandoned carts

The ecommerce marketplace, and life, are overwhelmed with demands for attention. By connecting to your customer in targeted, more personal ways, you stand to stand out among the crowd—winning the sale and loyalty long-term.

Further reading:

About The Author

Che Elizaga

Cheryl Elizaga is a Brand Strategist and Copywriter with nearly a decade of experience catalyzing meaningful, measurable action for Fortune 100 companies and industry pioneers alike. A contributing author to the Miva Blog, Cheryl helps ecommerce companies own their brand and harness the tools and technology of the leading Miva platform to drive growth.

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Author's Bio


Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.