No More Abandoned Carts: Understanding Why Customers Complete A Sale


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We’ve all done it – logged on to an ecommerce site, looked around, started a cart, and then left without completing the transaction. And while some of this is the window shopping impulse we all have, there are other motives behind the abandoned cart.

In order to maximize sales, we have to work to understand what fuels the desire to buy, and create a process that incentivizes sale completion.

Cart Convenience

Where is your shopping cart on your site? If your shopping cart isn’t easily accessible, or requires a lengthy registration process in order to complete an order, customers will be deterred. Shopping is supposed to be quick and easy, so scouring the site to find their cart and then creating a new account – on top of the dozens of accounts most shoppers already have – are not great motivators. These can cause shoppers to abandon ship for a more convenient site.

Understand The End Goal

One commonly overlooked part of the sales process is the look into customer aims. Like you, customers have a job to be done. By inquiring into your audience’s end goals, you can help motivate completed sales, cutting down on all those abandoned carts.

If you’re unsure how to assess the “job to be done” at the core of your customer base, start with more concrete examples. The job of a librarian is to field questions about literature, research, and related resources. The job of an adoption counselor is to guide birth and adoptive families through a complex and emotional process.

Taking these examples, you can then ask, “What’s the job to be done among parents or tech companies,” or whatever population constitutes your customer base. If you can answer this question, you can tailor the shopping and checkout process to help them achieve that goal.

Harness Other Brands’ Problems

Another way to boost purchase completion and end the abandoned cart phenomenon is by harnessing the failures of your competitors. Promising to resolve such shortcomings is a major point of motivation for shoppers. Consider listing the some of the benefits of your product in the shopping cart mode. You don’t have to include them all, but if you can remind customers what they’re investing in – and what they’re resolving – you can help push them toward completion.

Crafting Loyalty

One of the main reasons that we have customers create accounts with our business is that we want them to be able to easily complete future sales. That’s a great and sensible approach – but what about the new customer? It’s hard to create customer loyalty if you can’t move them through the first purchase.

Instead of creating a complicated account registration process preceding checkout, allow customers to use social sign-in or to create their account after checkout. This allows them to do the minimum necessary to complete their shopping experience, and associates your brand with simplicity and convenience.

Shopping cart abandonment will never completely disappear – we all enjoy fantasy shopping too much for that – but we can reduce the practice by building clear motivations and benefits into the purchasing process. When we know what our customers want to get done and can help them accomplish that, we become their go-to providers, and the business they know they can trust.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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