7 Ways Your Ecommerce Start Up Can Combat Cart Abandonment

Image credit: Pexels

Your online shopping cart is an indicator of purchase intent. It shows what visitors to your ecommerce site are interested in. But it’s also a place to learn what stops them from making a purchase. When someone selects an item from your store and places it in the cart, it’s a great feeling. It’s exciting for them because the prospect of having a beautiful item delivered to their door is tantalizing. It’s exciting for you, because it means you’re doing the right thing, you have built something people like! Your business can be profitable and now you have the proof.

So why are there still unfulfilled sales in your customer’s shopping carts? There are a multitude of objections your customers may present before finalizing their purchase. You can check out Salecycle’s latest statistics on shopping cart abandonment here – the global cart abandonment rate is currently a staggering 76.8%. Here are 7 ways your ecommerce start up can combat cart abandonment.

Invest in your marketing and your customer journey

You may start your business as the sole point of contact, but as your business grows, you’ll undoubtedly build a team of sales, finance, marketing and distribution professionals. Make sure you know what you stand for, what you want to achieve and what your ethos is. Even web visitors are impacted by the tone of a brand; the way they are spoken to, how long it takes you to get back to a question, and the look and feel of the online store. Market your business from beginning to end, remember the entire customer journey, and each touch point they encounter along the way.

Neglect people, neglect passion and your business will eventually flop. Build a site that’s beautiful, that’s shows off your best assets and your people. Now you’re on the road to success.

Price it right

Your store is set up, your products are online, you’re ready to sell. But if you haven’t done to groundwork to price appropriately, you’ll put people off for good. Research competitors, talk about the quality of finish, or the designers you use to prove authenticity and credibility. If you believe your products are fantastic – which I hope you do – talk about how great they are. Don’t undersell – believe it or not, underpricing items, or de-valuing your store, can be just as detrimental to a sale as overpricing.

It doesn’t have to take all your time to get this right. Just as is the case with most areas of ecommerce, someone has already thought of a nifty way to automate it for you. Browse these tools collected by Capterra to find the best solution for your business. Begin split testing your pricing to figure out your ideal price point for profitability.

People are powerful – customer service is king

People are the core of your business. Your employees and your customers will be affected by the culture you propagate. Your staff are your biggest asset, so choose wisely, and be professional.

It’s largely up to the visitor of your ecommerce store to have a look around around, check out the merchandise and make decisions. But there is so much you can do along the way to add to their experience and this will help determine if they hit the pay button.

If your visitor has questions about a product, get back to them as soon as possible. If you don’t have time, set up an automated email system to let them know their query has been received. A happy customer is a buying customer. Make sure you have eyes on everyone, just as you would if they walked into a physical retail space. Make them feel important, make them feel known. There are many popular customer service management tools available, such as ZenDesk, that can make engaging your customers in meaningful, memorable ways, a breeze.

For some great ‘people to people’ advice for your start up – listen to ‘Start up Canada’s’ podcast with Chris Kowalewski and Rob Hyrkiel.

Image credit: StockSnap.io

Size and availability of stock

Try not to show items in stock that you don’t have available. It’s very disappointing for a customer to get to check-out and not be able to complete their purchase. Even if an order for the item is on its way, be transparent about that with your visitors and avoid losing them. Set expectations at the beginning of the journey, highlight sales items and give the impression of added value with discount codes for last season’s stock. If your customer feels they are getting a good deal, they’re less likely to object at the final post.

Reviews and product information

Encourage product reviews from happy customers, or provide in depth product descriptions so visitors doing research have a good point of reference and a credible reason to make their choices. Social media is a simple but effective way to achieve this. Make sure your Facebook profile is linked to your site, and likes are available and accessible to see.

Once a visitor makes their purchase, you can send an email thanking them, and once the item has been received, invite them to leave a review on your site and gather positive ‘word of mouth’ – digital style.

EKM is an ecommerce blog that offers lots of tips – including this one – on how to accumulate positive reviews. One of their suggestions is to put the added effort into your packaging. I often order from bespoke, small online retailers because I like to support them. What leaves a lasting impression is when the package arrives with a personal note, or artistic packaging. Go the extra mile, and you’ll reap the benefits.


If you’re delivering items via your ecommerce store, make sure you have delivery prices and delivery options available at checkout. There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than issues with delivery or returns. Make it as simple as possible and offer the options you would expect. You can’t always please everyone, but you can do your best to fulfill the needs of your customers, and still ensure you’re not losing revenue by providing convenient choices.

  • Make sure the pricing of your shipping is reasonable and encourages the final click
  • Consider in-the-bag options and deals such as free shipping on orders over a certain amount
  • Customers loathe being duped at the final hurdle. Don’t be a duper – your visitors’ trust is far too important an asset.

If you’re a small business starting out it’s so important to factor these seemingly small considerations into your business plan.

Payment Options

If you’re in ecommerce, you need to offer the ecommerce payment solutions that are now industry standard. Make sure you have a Paypal account set up and always offer this as a first option. Not only does Paypal offer efficiency for a lot of online shoppers, but it’s one of the safest ways to transact online. And security is paramount to the success of any online business. Without trust, there is rarely a transaction. Ensure you also offer credit card and debit card payments from the usual providers.

Using an ecommerce platform to build and manage your online store is the best tip I can give for ensuring your customers complete their purchase journey. Using a platform like Shopify that uses over 70 payment gateways, means you can tailor your store to your customer’s preferred payment type. While it’s best practice to pick only a very small selection of these, it’s a great way to cater to global customers – this will open your brand up to potential business from across the world. A leading study has revealed that many American consumers possessed a single debit or credit card, so you should increase your payment options to ensure that they can make a purchase from you.

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a customer’s items remain static in their cart. There are lots of tools you can use to remind them of items they’ve left behind or you can integrate a ‘save for later’ option like ASOS do. Your site should be optimized for the customer journey, but as a business you need to know who you are, who your audience is, and how to encourage that final click. Learn from the mistakes of other ecommerce start ups – there are plenty to choose from – and the plethora of forums that enable you to converse with other business owners. The best thing you can do, is know your customer, and give them what they want. If you’re a small business starting out, you’re in the right place to learn important lessons.

I hope this helps your shopping cart conversions – good luck!

Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer.

I’m currently writing on EcommerceTips.org where I share engaging ecommerce content for entrepreneurs – especially those in startup phase. I love delivering simple but relevant tips for new businesses.

Share this post:

The business concept: The distribution channel

Next in our business concept discussion: The distribution channel.

Your small business’ distribution channel is the way your product or service will physically be distributed to the customer. There are two kinds of distribution channels:

  • Direct channel – the product or service is sold directly to the end user.
  • Indirect channel – third-party intermediaries help to move the product from the manufacturer to the end user. Using intermediaries to get products to market is known as market coverage. Thanks to an intermediary’s own contacts and distribution channels, your product may reach a wider market.

What distribution channel should you choose?

Speed and reliability are factors to consider. Today’s customers expect products to be delivered more quickly than before, and they also expect instant access to information. Small business owners will be relying on intermediaries to “deliver” and sell their products to the end user. Some see this as a loss of control, since they have to count on others to make their end users happy.

The ideal distribution channel for your small business is the one that best meets your customers’ expectations about where and how your product or service should be sold. Most services are delivered directly to the customer. However, products usually use intermediaries like wholesalers or retailers.

However you intend to deliver your product and service to your customer, it’s a critical part of your business operations and your business concept. It’ll help you to learn and understand your market, potential suppliers and competitors.

Further reading:

Share this post:

Small business blog posts we liked this week

From customer service to holiday sales (yes, the winter holidays!), we found some good business blog posts this week that we wanted to share with our fellow entrepreneurs:

Share this post:

How to offer a warranty in your small business

What happens if your customer isn’t completely satisfied with your product or service? What will you do to make it right with them? A full refund, partial refund, store credit, no refund? These product and service warranties are a competitive tool – warranties show that a company is willing to stand behind what they sell.

What kind of warranty will you offer in your small business?

The length of the warranty you offer depends on the industry you’re in and what the product is. The aspects of service you want to cover will depend on the situation. Sometimes, products will come with their warranties from the manufacturer. Warranties on services cover satisfaction with the work completed.

The product or service scope should be considered. Will your warranty cover all products or just certain ones? Will your warranty terms differ across products or services?

Think also of the market scope – should the same warranty be offered in all markets, or just some? This decision will rest on local laws.

Another aspect to consider about small business warranty is what the customer must do or not do to keep the warranty valid. Who will honour the warranty – the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or dealer? Customers don’t like to mail products back to the manufacturer, so who should be responsible for responding to a warranty claim?

Warranty claims involve a cost to the small business, but the potential cost to your business of providing no warranty at all can be very significant. A new small business may find it hard to estimate the problems that could come up as its product or service enters the marketplace. We believe warranties are an important aspect of a small business, but you can take steps to minimize their necessity. Careful field-testing of a new product or service will help to take care of product reliability or liability issues once your product or service sees the light of day.


Share this post: