If you’re an eCommerce entrepreneur, your shopping cart abandonment rate – i.e., how often your customers put items in their online shopping carts without finishing the transaction and purchasing those items – should be one of your major concerns. Research from the e-tailing group suggests that about half of all eCommerce goods that got put into shopping carts last year were abandoned.

The good news, however, is that roughly 63 percent of that seemingly lost revenue is recoverable – as long as you know how to bring customers back to complete their transactions. Here are a few easy methods for lowing abandonment rates and getting customers to return to their abandoned carts.

1. Invest in Shopping Cart Recovery Software

Shopping cart recovery software is an application that aims to bring wayward shoppers back to your site, typically via automatic email reminders. Most of these programs work like so: When a customer abandons their cart on your site, the software kicks in and sends an email to the customer, reminding them that there is still merchandise in their cart.

According to the e-tailing group report cited above, this is the most effective method for reducing shopping cart abandonment rates: 61 percent of the retailers surveyed in that report said automatic emails were “very/somewhat successful.”

2. Offer Free Shipping

If you make shoppers pay for delivery, you are probably losing customers. Sixty-one percent of customers are “somewhat likely” to cancel their entire order if they find out that shopping costs extra, according to research from ComScore.

Like it or not, today’s customers expect free shipping; if you don’t have it, you’re encouraging abandonment.

The good news is you don’t need to cut your profit margins to offer free shipping – you just need to built the cost of shipping into the prices of the products themselves. So it’s not really “free,” but it is a pricing illusion that works.

If you don’t want to provide free shipping the first time round, you can also use free shipping as an incentive in your follow-up emails to customers who have abandoned their carts. That might be enough to entice them back to their transactions.

3. Offer a Price Match Guarantee

LampsYour customers are also likely to abandon their shopping carts if they find better prices elsewhere. To defend against this, your best bet is to offer a price match guarantee: If the customer finds the same product anywhere else for a lower price within a set period of time, you’ll refund the difference.

By offering a price match guarantee, you remove a significant barrier to purchase and increase your chances of retaining a potential customer on site until they complete the purchase.

4. Improve the Sales Funnel

The “sales funnel” in this context refers to the set of pages that takes a visitor from the site’s landing page to the cart and payment page. If your eCommerce sales funnel is too complicated or confusing, you’re likely to lose customers.

The four key sales-funnel-related reasons why customers abandon carts are:

- website navigation is too complicated;

- the website crashed;

- the process takes too long;

- and excessive payment security checks.

You should test your sales funnel to see how user-friendly it is. You can do this yourself, or you can call in the help of a focus group. You can also compare your site to your competitors’ sites. If your sales funnel is longer, more complicated, more bug-ridden, and more frustrating than the competition’s, then you’re definitely losing customers.

Build a good-looking site, offer a good product, and the sales will come – right? Wrong. If you really want to boost sales, you need to pay attention to all the little details and nuances of your site’s shopping experience. Unless you address the naturally distracted states and fickle needs of today’s consumers, you’ll miss out on a significant number of potential sales.

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