6 Simple Ways to Lower eCommerce Checkout Abandonment Rates

People make snap judgments about websites and eCommerce stores based on subtle impressions. Does the site load quickly and present a clear and consistent image? Can buyers find what they're looking for quickly? Are there plenty of self-service features for customers such as custom catalogs, third-party integrations and automated calculations of local taxes, duties and shipping charges? Does the website provide support for multiple decision-makers in buying committees? All these things influence conversion rates, and B2B marketers can work on platform efficiency to prevent premature checkout abandonment.

What Are Conversion Rates?

All of a company's marketing efforts flow together into various channels where eCommerce companies hope to encourage visitors to take some form of action. The action could be to place an order, request further information, talk to a company salesperson or sign up for an account. Companies that use purchase orders might be encouraged to initiate the process by getting preliminary approvals from various stakeholders.

Conversion rates are the percentage of visitors who follow through by taking the action that companies want--whether it's placing an order, signing up for a newsletter, scheduling a sales demonstration, watching a product video or proceeding to the next step in a complex sales process (i.e. completing a measurable goal or “converting” from visitor to task completion).

Understanding Conversion Rates

In B2B sales, conversion rates average only 2.3 percent because the process is usually longer and more drawn out than selling B2C retail products for immediate use. Top-performing companies often reach 11.7 percent conversion rates. [1] Strong conversion rates can vary among companies based on the average sale amount, profit margin and industry, but one fact remains universal--if companies can lower abandoned cart rates, they increase sales and the number of active clients for future sales efforts.

Lowering Abandoned Cart Rates While Increasing Sales

All the marketing expenses and SEO efforts to capitalize on organic searches narrow to a point where customers must finally decide whether to buy or pass. That's what the sales funnel is, but clever design, compelling content and platform functionality can shepherd people through the funnel more effectively. The following six strategies can reduce checkout abandonment and increase conversions:

1. Ensure Platform Functionality

Customers use different devices and browsers, and websites should work well on every device that people use. This sounds simple, but the execution isn't always easy or automatic. That's why integration is so important. An integrated website (with automated back-office business processes) performs at maximum speed with automated workflows, relevant suggestions, automated calculations and sales fulfillment. It's important to test the site regularly on different devices and browsers to uncover any trouble spots.

2. Offer Secure Ways to Pay

Providing data security of payment information is a legal requirement of credit card companies, so companies must offer secure ways to pay with SSL encryption and PCI DSS compliance. An integrated site can offer multiple payment options while providing an extra layer of security outside of the platform's firewall. The API layer where integration happens can also be used to verify credit card data and account information. Some payment gateways don’t build in PCI compliance. That’s where Clarity steps in and integrates one, such as Verisign or Trustwave. This puts you in compliance where you’re not storing credit card data yourself.

3. Provide Transparency at Every Stage of the Sales Process

Confirming order and account information in running totals is critical for sales conversions. It might be necessary to get approvals from several decision-makers in B2B sales. Some special orders might require executive approval. Real-time inventory figures are essential to finalizing a sale. Integrated platforms can provide this information in real-time. The site should show a running purchase summary and include separate listings of out-of-stock products. Progress bars can also be used to keep customers informed about where they are in the ordering process.

4. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

The easier companies make the ordering process, the better conversion rates will be. Designers should try to minimize the number of clicks needed to complete a sale. Stored information about a customer should be used where relevant instead of requiring people to enter information that the company already has. Try to use a single checkout form, and display a "Checkout Now" button to finalize a sale immediately. Clarity eCommerce provides 6 out-of-the-box ways for B2B customers to easily re-order products—it’s just that important.

5. Make Shipping Charges Less Painful

There are many ways to make shipping charges more palatable to customers. Unfortunately, shipping charges are one of the biggest reasons for an abandoned cart (up to 72% of buyers will abandoned their purchase if free shipping isn’t available). Some products can cost more to ship than their sales prices. Companies can remove some of the sting of shipping charges by offering reduced-cost or free shipping. Offer free shipping on orders over X dollars, to incent both conversions and larger purchases. Offering multiple shipping options at different rates can persuade buyers to convert. Remember that buyers have different goals--some might want products quickly and are willing to pay a premium to get them.

6. Follow Up on Each Abandoned Cart

Ideally, it’s important to get customer information as quickly as possible in the checkout process. That information proves critical for getting a second chance to make a sale. Integrated platforms can send automated messages to every customer that abandons a cart. The first message might simply be a reminder that the process hasn’t been finished. That kind of message works well when carts are abandoned because of external interruptions. Another type of message might offer a sales incentive or information about alternative products that might be more appealing to the customer.

Basically, the top way to lower cart abandonment rates is to provide better customer service. Integrated platforms automate customer service and self-service options to deliver better user experiences and more compelling reasons to buy. One study found that 7 percent of companies planned to invest in customer service, and of those respondents, 11 percent had higher conversion rates than other companies. Adding SSL certificates and trust seals can reduce cart abandonment rates by up to 30 percent. [2] A side benefit is that Google now raises the weighting of sites that are fully secure for ranking.

Designing a Platform to Lower Abandoned Cart Rates

You need to put some effort into your strategy to prevent abandoned carts and increase sales. Getting everything to work together seamlessly isn’t possible unless all your business applications are integrated into a robust and responsive API layer. The right developer can work with your IT staff to design a system that works for your business in all the right ways instead of requiring continuous adjustments and tradeoffs. For more than 13 years, Clarity has specialized in building highly performant B2B eCommerce marketplaces. Give us a call today to discuss your project.


[1] Blog.capterra.com: The Average B2B Conversion Rate: How to Benchmark Your Performance Against Competitors


[2] Shopify.com: How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment by Optimizing the Checkout


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