Where Customers Are Abandoning Your Site — and What to Do about It

The average shopping cart abandonment rate for ecommerce sites is close to 70%. That means more than two-thirds of shoppers leave items in their cart without making a purchase. For all websites, this is a huge loss of potential sales.

On top of that, a number of visitors are coming to your site and leaving before they even make it to the shopping cart or checkout pages.

There are a variety of reasons visitors leave your site. In some cases, they simply came to the wrong place. (Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about that one.) But in other cases, they are at the right place and likely just need to be steered in the right direction. These are the ones you should focus on.

We've put together a list of the most common places customers are abandoning your site along with some quick tips on what you can do about it.

1. Your Homepage/Landing Pages

Why they leave: Your visitor doesn't see what they're looking for.

When visitors first land on your site, whether it be your home page or a landing page, you have a limited amount of time to capture their interest. If your site takes too long to load (most people give up after 4 seconds), has confusing navigation or just doesn't appear to have the content or products a visitor is looking for, chances are, that visitor is going to bounce without further engaging with your site.

Improving page speed will not only increase user engagement, but will also help you in search results.

What to do:

1. Make sure your search listings and ads match up with the content on your site. If the content on your site is completely different than what the user was expecting, they will likely hit the "back" button.

2. Simplify your navigation. Your nav bar should be a table of contents, not an entire index.

3. Test your site to see if it loads slowly, and if it does, fix it, and fix it fast. Improving page speed will not only increase user engagement, but will also help you in search results now that Google has officially made page speed a ranking factor.

2. Your Product Pages

Why they leave: Your product pages aren't getting the message across.

If you you have low quality product images, poorly written product descriptions, and no product reviews or other forms of social proof, people will be hesitant to add whatever you're selling to their cart.

Since online shoppers can't feel or touch the product before they buy it, they rely on product pages to do the job for them.

What to do:

1. Improve your product descriptions and images. Since online shoppers can't feel or touch the product before they buy it, they rely on images and well-written product descriptions to do the job for them. Take the time to invest in quality content and images.

2. In today's world, social proof matters. Over 70% of consumers say that reviews make them feel more comfortable that they are buying the right product, and 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend. If you aren't already collecting and displaying product reviews on your site, invest in a review service now. There are many easy-to-use apps and tools out there to get you started.

3. Your Shopping Cart

Why the leave: Your shipping options are limited and expensive.

The good news is your visitor made it to the shopping cart. The bad news is, they are now seeing high shipping costs and slow shipping times. If this is the case for your site, you may be losing customers — 56% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart due to unexpected shipping costs.

Customers expect to pay for shipping: they just get thrown off when presented with unexpected costs.

What to do:

1. Offer fair shipping costs. We know, the cost of shipping is expensive, but is it worth losing a new customer? Consider offering flat rate or free shipping. Not sure if you can make free shipping profitable for your business? Here are some ways to figure that out.

2. Be up front about shipping costs. Customers expect to pay for shipping: they just get thrown off when presented with unexpected costs. If you offer do offer $5 flat rate shipping, then say so on the homepage of your site, or in a banner across the top of your site. That way, the user won't be caught off guard once they begin the checkout process.

3. Offer a variety of shipping options. Amazon Prime has set some high shipping expectations for consumers and other companies are quickly hopping on board. If you don't offer 2-day or next-day shipping options, it may be time to reevaluate your shipping provider. In today's society, we want things and we want them fast, which is why 45% of consumers now expect items to be delivered in two days or less.

4. Your Checkout Pages

Why they abandon: Your visitors feel overwhelmed or insecure during the checkout process.

Your checkout pages are the location where you're asking visitors to share their personal and financial information. If they don't feel safe, they may up and leave your site.

Further complicating the checkout experience by forcing account registration can also be a huge turn off for customers. According to a recent survey conducted by Splitit, 87% of online shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if the checkout process is lengthy or complicated. This causes users to feel annoyed and skeptical, ultimately resulting in them leaving your site without completing their purchase.

87% of online shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if the checkout process is lengthy or complicated.

What to do:

1. Add a trust badge to your site. Trust badges give users the added reassurance they need to confirm that a site is safe. According to a study by InFlow, sites displaying the McAfee SECURE trustmark — available for Volusion customers here — saw a 15.7% increase in conversions compared to sites without it.

2. Offer guest checkout options. Don't push people into registering with your site or signing up for your email list if they don't want to. 23% of shoppers will abandon their cart if they have to create a new user account. This added step complicates the checkout process and pushes people away. Instead, give users the option to create an account by offering options for both account registration and guest checkout.

5. Your Mobile (or Not Yet Mobile) Site

Why they leave: Your site isn't responsive or mobile-friendly.

Even if you're doing all of the above things right, your ecommerce site needs to be responsive of you're bound to lose customers throughout your sales funnel.

As of December 2017, 82 percent of U.S. shoppers use a mobile device to shop online. Nowadays, online shoppers expect a site to be mobile-friendly, otherwise, they will likely leave and shop at a site that is easy to use from their mobile device.

82 percent of U.S. shoppers use a mobile device to shop online.

What to do:

1. Build a responsive site, now. Luckily, for Volusion customers, most of the themes are already responsive, which makes it easy to build a website for desktop and mobile from the get go. If your site isn't built for mobile yet, there are plenty of resources available, from how-to guides, to designers and developers who can help walk you through this transformation.

We promise you, the work you put in now will pay off. By 2021, mobile ecommerce sales in the U.S. are expected to surpass 420 billion dollars. That's a piece of the pie you don't want to miss out on.

Wrapping Up

If you're following all of the above tips, and still seeing higher than normal abandonment rates, consider looking into additional options. For example, make sure you're following up with potential customers via an automated abandon cart email or run remarketing ads on social media channels. Just because a visitor leaves your site, it doesn't mean you've lost them forever. Luckily, there are many options available to track them down and keep them interested.

What strategies do you use to make sales? Let us know in the comments!