Converting abandoned WooCommerce shopping baskets

If you manage an online store and haven’t previously looked in to cart abandonment statistics, you may be in for a surprise. Conversion specialists SaleCycle report that an average of 76.8% of customers abandoned their baskets instead of purchasing in the 4th quarter of 2016 from a study focusing on 500 leading global brands.

In other words, for every order that these sites receive, three other customers leave items in their basket without completing their order.

If you were running a bricks and mortar store with half full baskets starting to pile up in the corner would you ask a sales assistant to take a soft sell approach before customers leave the shop? Ecommerce needn’t be any different and in some instances we can continue to try and convert after customers leave the site.

In this article, I’ll give an overview of

How to monitor your abandoned baskets

Before investing time in chasing abandoned baskets it is worthwhile identifying how big an opportunity this is for your business. There are a variety of tools available, and harvesting data doesn’t necessarily come at a large cost.

If you’re proficient with Google Analytics you can set up funnels and goals to monitor how many users used the checkout on their session and how many complete a transaction.

Abandoned Cart Google Analytics

If you’re not a fan of Google Analytics there are plenty of plugins available for WooCommerce that will report on abandoned baskets.

It’s good practice to continue monitoring abandonment as part of your website KPIs to gauge the success of any tactics that you deploy.

The perfect ecommerce website

Unless you’re lucky enough to have patented a niche idea for a product that everyone needs, there is most likely 10’s, 100’s or 1000’s of other websites competing for your customers’ attention. Assuming your pricing vs quality strategy is competitive, there is a lot that can be done to give consumers confidence in your website over what your competitors have to offer.

Be upfront with the information your customers want

If a potential customer can’t see how to contact you, chances are they won’t trust your business. Same goes for your policy information and the worst thing you can do for postage and shipping is to inform customers of charges for the first time during the checkout process.

Policies may be presented in a footer navigation, this is a standard approach on many websites. This ensures that you avoid filling out your main navigation bar with this secondary information, although they could be placed in a drop-down menu beneath your About page.

If you have a minimum spend for free postage you can add this information to a promotional graphic on your website or alternatively deploy a widget saying ‘spend another £X to receive free delivery saving £Y’ – not only does this communicate to your customer that there is a cost for delivery, it also boosts your average transaction value.

Optimise page load times

Page load times are so important to a user’s experience that it now forms an important part of Googles search algorithm in deciding how your website ranks. We work with a premium hosting provider and follow best practise to deliver web pages to users as swiftly as possible.

Allow guest checkouts

The only information that is missing from a guest checkout to that of a registered user is a password. All other information such as delivery address is required unless you’re selling digital products.

It may seem like a small inconvenience, but a sure way to lose some customers is to force them to create an account and remember a password.

Show payment options

Displaying information on the payment options that you offer visitors is a great way to reassure customers that their preferred payment option is available from your checkout process. Be it credit, debit, an online option like PayPal or any combination of these and others – provide a little space in your footer to present logos for your payment options.

Live chat

Providing a live chat facility on your website is a quick and efficient way to answer customer queries without the need for them to fill out a contact form.

There are options available which will allow action based approaches such as contacting someone once they have placed an item in their basket.

Test, test and test again

Completing a full test transaction on your website may provide suggestions on ways to improve the customer journey during checkout. Speaking to customers where possible may also provide results.

Personally, I prefer to use experience and science by identifying opportunities and A/B testing. Using two versions of a website enables you to monitor results for comparison and action as appropriate.

An alternative approach to email capture

Emailing customers who abandon their basket often reaps great rewards but customers will still just browse and select products without signing in at the beginning.

Forcing customers to sign in is not something you should consider unless there is a reason for them to do so such as hidden pricing like www.thecycledivision.com. TCD have a B2B business model selling to an approved customer base. Launching a B2C model this way would require some creative marketing as prices should almost always be shown publicly on an online store.

Giving new customers a reason to share their details will provide the information that you need without affecting the shopping experience for everyone else. Take this example from www.nfpc.co.uk who provide a 10% discount for first time orders when visitors meet certain conditions and sign up to their newsletter, see the header bar across the top of their website.

This gives NFPC the information they need to be able to contact guest visitors who add an item to their basket without completing the transaction.

Abandon basket email strategies

An email strategy for abandoned baskets could be as simple as a text based email with a link back to your website or as complex as identifying a few variables and targeting groups of users differently, this can even expand to include action based marketing such as whether the user completed an action from a previous attempt to get them to return to your website.

A popular formula for marketers is the rule of three providing more of an incentive with each email. A basic example of this could be:

Email one – remind users they have items waiting in their basket

Abandon WooCommerce Cart Emails

Email two – remind users they have items waiting in their basket and include a countdown clock for delivery cut off to receive their items by a certain date.

Abandoned Cart Emails

Email three  – offer an incentive such as a discount or free postage for users that have items waiting in their basket. The incentive should be something more than what is publicly available on your live site.

Abandon Cart Emails

The uptake from email three is generally less than email one hence the incentive to complete their order.

Split testing is a fantastic way to tweak and test your strategy to find out what works best with your customer base.

Retargeting abandoned baskets

Browse the internet for long enough and chances are you will start to see adverts on other sites which show some of the websites that you have already visited. Log in to Facebook, Instagram and many other social networks and you see sponsored posts from sites that you have interacted with, in some instances this includes an invite directly to the basket that you previously abandoned.

This is called retargeting and like email marketing… it works wonders.

Facebook Remarketing Ad

This is made possible on Facebook by using their custom audience tool which we can easily integrate into your website.

WooCommerce plugins for abandoned carts

Recover Abandoned Cart

WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart

This plugin works for both members and guests however guests are required to input their email address at the first stage of the checkout process. Any number of follow up email templates can be created for sending at specific time durations following abandonment.

$49 available from Envato.
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Cart Lite Woocommerce

Abandoned Cart Lite for WooCommerce

Again this plugin works for both members and guests however guests are required to input their email address at the first stage of the checkout process. Any number of follow up email templates can be created although the plugin is supplied with a single template.

Free available from WordPress with option to donate.
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Woocommerce Abandoned Cart Pro

Abandoned Cart Pro for WooCommerce

Same as Lite above with a host of additional features such as trigger based emails depending on what’s in the basket, advanced reporting, customer specific offers and coupons etc. See developer website for full details.

$119 followed by $59.50 per annum for updates, available from developers’ website.
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YITH Abandoned Cart

Yith Woocommerce Recover Abandoned Cart

Plugin works for both members and guests with guests having to have submitted their email address in the first step of the checkout process before abandoning. Great for multilingual websites that wish to email members and guests in their native tongue.

$79 available from developers’ website.
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abandoned cart emails

Automate Woo

This plugin comes wrapped with all the features you would expect plus extras for wishlist abandonment, review request, SMS notifications and more.

$99 followed by $25 per annum for updates, available from developers’ website.
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Cart Reports

Cart Reports

A great stats package for monitoring open and abandoned baskets with the ability to contact member customers.

$49 available from Envato.
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Closing thoughts

As website owners, we spend money on a variety of marketing activities to attract new customers but often overlook following up potential customers that have already expressed an interest in our products or services. With a simple strategy this form of marketing can be automated ready to reap long term rewards.

Contact us if you would like to talk through our experience and work towards the perfect strategy for your business.