Converting visitors into actual customers is the top priority of online retailers but one of their most elusive tasks. There are several techniques you can try to make sure customers actually buy the items they save in their shopping carts. However, the secret to success really boils down to being upfront about policies and offering a checkout process that is easy to navigate.

Based on a 2015 analysis of 29 different studies, estimates that 68 percent of customers abandon their saved shopping carts. This number is on par with the 2014 shopping season between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Australia. According to, nearly 66 percent of carts were discarded during the holiday buying frenzy.

There are many reasons why shoppers leave their carts whether it is due to lack of time, using it as a price comparison tool or not wanting to make an impulsive decision. Nextopia's Shopping Cart Abandonment infographic points out another dozen problems customers routinely encounter, including unexpected costs and a complicated checkout process.

The good news is that you can fix many of these issues quickly and cheaply with the following strategies:

Streamline the Checkout Process

Once their decisions have been made, buyers want to purchase the merchandise and then move on to their next tasks. Customers on tight time budgets don't have the spare minutes to navigate multiple pages, search for shipping charges and refund policies or retype personal details three times. Focus on making the checkout process easy by providing social media login options, shipping fees on the my cart page and clear links to procedures. Adding an SSL safety certificate to your website proves to customers that you are a reputable website while accepting multiple payment options, such as PayPal and debit cards, offers shoppers flexibility in how they make purchases.

Experiment with Free Shipping Strategies

In nearly every study, shoppers cite steep shipping fees as the top reason why they do not follow through with their purchases. The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Global Study found that 68 percent of buyers also require free return shipping to complete a sale. While you can't change the price of postage, you can adjust the way you do business. If you think it might cost too much to offer free shipping, then launch an A/B test that compares sales with and without delivery fees. You can also experiment with offering free shipping for slower mail processing times and higher charges for expedited delivery services. Other options include rolling the shipping fees into the product prices or requiring buyers to spend a minimum amount to get free shipping. The UPS study found that 58 percent of online shoppers add more merchandise to their carts when trying to reach a target to qualify for free shipping.

Be Transparent

After experimenting with these strategies, if you discover that you must charge postage, then be upfront about your prices and policies. On the my cart page, give options for various shipping methods and provide a box for discount credits so that customers have a real-time tally of how much they can expect to spend. One of the quickest ways to ensure shopping cart abandonment is to make customers click on a link or input their credit card details to view the additional charges. Additionally, the charges must be reasonable for the size of the purchase. A $5 fee is difficult to accept on a $10 total while a $15 charge for a heavy $100 item is understandable. When possible, offer customers combined shipping discounts on multiple orders.

Launch a Retargeting Marketing Campaign

Shoppers invest significant time in browsing your website, reading the descriptions and bookmarking the things they like. Despite the best of intentions, they may not come back to their carts without a reminder of why they wanted the items to begin with. To recapture their interest, you need to set up a retargeting campaign for shoppers who have left the website. Typically this involves sending customers a reminder email. According to Listrak, notes Business Insider Australia, tickler emails sent three hours after a cart is abandoned have a 40 percent open rate and 20 percent click-through rate. To close the deal, offer wavering customers a limited-time promotion code.

Offer a Mobile-Friendly Website

If your website is not responsive, meaning it looks just as great on a desktop as a smartphone, then you are probably losing a lot of customers. The study found that Black Friday/Cyber Monday desktop shoppers were more likely to make a purchase than tablet and smartphone surfers. One reason is that buyers tend to be more serious when shopping on their desktops and more distracted when browsing on their mobile devices. Additionally, few mobile sites are designed well enough to make the checkout process quick and easy. While making your website fully responsive does require a financial investment, you are sure to make it up in improved mobile sales.

Get Creative

Although you might not be able to offer free shipping or accept high-fee credit cards, you can still find creative ways to boost your conversion rate. Consider holding flash sales or offering limited-time discount codes during peak shopping cart abandonment times, such as later in the evening or just before the weekend starts. A free gift with purchase is a bonus customers are often too tempted to pass up. Another strategy is to host a prize drawing that includes the names of every customer who makes a purchase during a specified time. You can also cater to customers who are not ready to buy by offering a Wish List option that allows them to easily transfer items over to their shopping cart at a later time.

Quantum Web can help you identify strategies for turning around your shopping cart abandonment rate that work for your specific business model. Call us on 1300 3888 11 to start the conversation today.