6 ways to stop customers walking out on you

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Two thirds of your customers will add items to their shopping cart, then leave. These are customers that were interested enough to browse your site and then add things to their cart. In other words they were considering purchasing something from you, but then bailed. It’s pretty shocking to think that you could actually triple your sales if you could convince everyone to complete their purchase. Of course that’s not practical as a lot of these customers abandon their carts for very legitimate reasons such as not having enough money or they were only researching at this stage.

With two thirds of your customers streaming out through the leaky holes, what can we do to plug up at least some of these holes?

Detailed Product Information

Shopping online is a completely different experience to a physical store. There is no way to touch and feel the product so customers are relying completely on what they can see on your product page. So it’s a no brainer, the better the description of a product the more likely you are to sell it. Go into detail about the purpose and uses of the product and even what the product can’t do, to assure your customers they are making an informed decision. Technical specifications, dimensions, package sizes are all great. Multiple, high quality photos are essential and if you can go the extra mile and have video too, you customer will be highly engaged and trusting of your description.

Follow up emails

If your customer was just researching what they wanted to buy, or was distracted, an automated follow up email is a great way to get them back. The email should detail the items they had in their cart and have a ‘continue shopping’ link to help them easily return to the cart to complete their purchase. A stronger incentive might be to offer a discount coupon for abandoned carts say 24 hours after they initially created it. Be warned however, savvy shoppers will cotton on to this and abandon regularly to receive the discount. You may want to try this tactic from time to time. Most e-commerce platforms now come with a plugin that allows you to easily setup such emails such as Follow Ups for Woocommerce and Follow Up Email for Magento. The downside, you need to know the users email address which is usually by having an account already.


Hands down one of the cheapest forms of pay per click advertising is retargeting. This is when you add users that come to your site to a list, and pay for ads that are only displayed to them. It’s extremely efficient as you are marketing to users that have already indicated interest in your product by coming to your site. These users will then continue to see your ads for a specified period, which is great for brand awareness but also will hopefully trigger their memory to return to the site and continue what they initially set out to do. It also has the added effect of making your business look like you have the marketing budget of Coca-Cola, as your customers may not be wise to this marketing method.

There are a couple of options for delivery here. Google Adwords will show your ads at the top and side of search pages, and Facebook in their activity streams. Both have merits, and where possible use both. If you’re going to spend any dollars at all on pay per click, this is where to do it.

Newsletter sign up

Some customers just aren’t ready to buy yet, or they are such astute shoppers that they wait for specials and offers. The most essential item on any e-commerce store is a newsletter mailing list. Once you’ve built up a quality list of interested customers, you have an extremely low cost, continuous revenue stream. Use this to encourage customers to buy, but also to bring repeat customers back time and time again.

Clear shipping costs

Many people abandon their carts because they weren’t happy with the final costs. In an ideal world your shipping charges would be built into your pricing allowing your customers to know the final cost from the get go. I could go on and on about the merits of free shipping and how you can actually make more money from it, but that’s a whole other article.

Your shipping charges should be as clear as possible, as soon as possible. That means if you charge flat rate, it should displayed somewhere the user is likely to see it, before they add any items to their cart. That could be in the header or footer of the site or on the product page.

Distraction free checkout

When you get to the payment stage of your checkout process, there is really only one thing you want your customer to do, pay. By eliminating other functions at this stage, you are eliminating to the opportunity for the customer to reconsider. Strip back the checkout page by removing links to other pages such as site navigation, product categories, promotions. They only give the user a chance to stop paying.

In summary

These are just a few things you can do to increase the percentage of checkouts on your site. There are a lot more of course, but we may be getting down to the less than ‘one percenters’. Depending on the size of your store they might not be worth going after. Put yourself in your customers shoes, resolve any questions or hesitations they may have and you will surely see a great outcome.


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