14 Not-so-Secret Cart Abandonment Solutions for Fashion Retail
How leading apparel brands convert hesitant shoppers in 2022
Big websites have been dealing with shopping cart abandonment for years and the tactics they use to combat it are actually hiding in plain sight.
So we had a look at the 10 best apparel brands by value for 2022 and noted 15 things they all more or less do to convert more shopping carts.
As it turns out, many of their checkout basics are quite similar!
Table of Contents (14 ways top websites convert more carts)
1) Include an add-to-wish-list button, test the wording
2) If you’re going to use exit-intent pop-ups, personalize them
3) Introduce a community of like-minded people at checkout
4) Shorten your checkout progress bar
5) Give early warnings for unexpected costs
6) Figure out a way to provide free shipping
7) Offer a guest checkout button
8) Signal security with visually encapsulated form design
9) Present multiple payment options, besides credit cards
10) Have a clear and easy return policy
11) Invest in a chatbot if it suits your brand
12) Send personalized remarketing emails
13) Use 1-to-1 SMS remarketing
14) Pay for retargeting ads
But briefly, before getting into it, let’s review the big-picture stats/reasons for this type of browsing behavior.
Cart abandonment statistics
Statistics vary in 2022, but as mentioned above, cart abandonment rate is still around 70%. For mobile, the rate is even higher.
By industry, the numbers are about the same across the board.
So the rates are high for all industries and for all devices.
But the thing to keep in mind is that these are people who have found your brand, understand your product, and they’re thinking about buying!
All that remains is to understand their problems while they’re shopping on your site.
Why do shoppers abandon carts?
First of all, 58% of shoppers who add to cart report that they are usually just browsing.
So the browsers may add to cart anyway but they’re hesitant to buy. They may be creating a wish list of things to buy later. Some of the browsers may be affected by yet another Internet Distraction.
Besides casual browsers, research (2021) has been done by the Baymard Institute about other specific reasons for abandonment.
These problems are fixable. Window shopping, unexpected shipping costs, account creation, long checkout process, etc., are all things that can be addressed and controlled if you work on your fundamentals.
How to reduce cart abandonment
The following 14 ways to reduce cart abandonment are the open secrets of some of the biggest brands in ecommerce. All you need to know is right there!
Include an add-to-wish-list button, test the wording
An option to save a cart full of items for later should be available because shoppers might leave your website with the plan to come back later to buy.
Including an add-to-wish-list button is a good way to help these people and encourage them to return.
Nike calls it “Favorite.” A a bit different from the much more common “add to wish list.” Also note “add to shopping cart” as opposed to simply “add to cart.” Nike has put time and money into testing the wording.
Adidas uses a heart icon for “add to wishlist” and “add to cart” is “add to bag.”
If you have time to test these things, they definitely matter and the most ideal wording varies according to industry and brand.
If you’re going to use exit-intent pop-ups, personalize them
When window shoppers that have added to cart make a move to compare products they switch between product pages, and when they want to compare offsite they switch between tabs.
As these actions occur, exit-intent popups can be set up to make a cross-sell, offer a discount or ask for an email address.
However, as we all know, most browsers block pop-ups by default!
Google Chrome for example:
Another cold hard fact in favor of not using pop-ups is that none of the top brands analyzed here use them. There are many other voices are out there from this camp:
It’s a marketing practice that is annoying to many users and makes browsing the web a worse experience. The fact that pop-up blockers are built into many browsers confirms this. Other ad-block extensions are further proof that many people are driven mad by these things. Source: Eric Bandholz, co-founder of Beardbrand, via Practical Ecommerce.
More moderate opinions suggest that it can be done, if you have your fundamentals in order:
Once you have these things in order, you’ll get an accurate idea of what additional technologies like exit pop-ups and live chat can bring to your brand. Otherwise, you’re simply painting over cracks. Source: Aaron Brooks, via/ Venture Harbor
So what to do? After all, there are websites that see ROI from pop-ups.
How you do it is the important thing.
Some popup solutions use machine learning algorithms to monitor browsing behavior, transaction history, and attribute-level product preferences.
These more advanced solutions predict what kind of pop-up content an individual shopper will appreciate seeing.
Then, when the shopper’s browsing behavior becomes hesitant or the shopper appears to be exiting your site, the pop-up appears.
These individualized pop-ups offset the annoying factor by engaging the customer personally and it works.
L’Oréal has used personalized pop-ups to increase their product page conversion rates by 140%.
Introduce a community of like-minded people at checkout
Maybe your brand relates to a subculture out there. Creating a community around it can form powerful emotional connections to your brand.
And these connections build valuable brand loyalty. How many brand loyalists abandon their carts? Not very many.
The Adidas Creators Club works this way, summing up their brand image vis-à-vis Nike and offering members unlimited free shipping, returns and exchanges, access to exclusive offers, access to sport, yoga and music events, and a lot more.
The invitation to the club is placed on the checkout page and offers free-shipping at the same time. Double whammy!
Shorten your checkout progress bar
Shoppers on a customer journey like to know where they’re at and how much further they have to go. Plus, the incomplete task motivates shoppers to keep clicking. Zara keeps it extremely simple:
As does Hermès:
The most important thing to notice on the big brand sites is that this element has become more minimalist than in years past, evolving along with the overall simplification of the checkout process.
If your checkout progress bar is more than three or four steps, your process may be too long.
Give early warnings for unexpected costs
Unexpected costs at checkout are the number one cause for cart abandonment at 49%. Shipping and taxes are the two big ones and they’re difficult to avoid.
The problem is the surprise. Letting shoppers know about the shipping and taxes a bit earlier is less shocking than seeing it suddenly on the checkout page. Gucci obviously gets this and lets us know what’s up with shipping on their landing page (complimentary 2–3 day shipping)!
Gucci no doubt bakes the extra cost of shipping and returns into the product cost, but not all sites can afford to do that.
Figure out a way to offer free shipping
Free shipping is the strongest motivator to complete a purchase and sites that can do it display it prominently (as Gucci does above, ASAP).
Another way to do it is to set a minimum order value for free shipping. This not only tempts shoppers with free shipping but increases your AOV.
Besides that, Nike and Adidas both offer free shipping to members who have signed up with an email. After all, as they say, “the money is in the email list.”
Offer a guest checkout option
Second on the list of reasons for customers bailing out on a purchase (24%) is that they have to create an account.
Offering a guest checkout solves this problem and the little bit of extra convenience to the process goes a long way with some shoppers.
H&M provides this option right before asking you to fill out your name, email and phone number.
And while you don’t have them on account, you do get their email address so you can reach out to them with other offers and eventually they will more than likely become account members.
Signal security with visually encapsulated form design
Widely recognized brands put a lot of effort into making online transactions secure and their brand recognition alone provides trustworthiness.
Still, shoppers are 17% more likely to complete a transaction online when it’s accompanied by a trust symbol of some kind.
Third-party site seals (think Norton, Google Trusted Store, MacAfee, etc.) do denote business authenticity. However, in a fascinating finding in this 2021 study by Baymard Institute, Norton “dominated” but,
…in each test since 2016 we also included a completely “homemade / fake” seal not issued by a 3rd party, with no meaning whatsoever beyond the icon itself. Note how the homemade seal performed significantly better than the SSL seals issued by established vendors except Norton. Source: Baymard Institute
This study “re-emphasizes that actual technical security is beyond most users’ understanding, and that users will go with what makes them feel most secure.”
A much greater determiner of security is the visual design of the credit card form:
One method we consistently observe to perform well for increasing users’ perceived security of sensitive fields is to visually encapsulate them. This can be achieved simply by using borders, background colors, shading, and other visual styling that will make one part of the form seem more robust than the rest. Remember: this is about perceived security of the fields, not their actual technical security. Source: Baymard Institute
Note the design of the Gucci checkout page below, exactly what the Baymard Institute study describes!
Present multiple payment options, besides credit cards
Payment options besides credit cards are abundant now. Shopping apps like Paypal have changed the game and now shoppers also expect to use digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.) or virtual payment cards such as Privacy.
Shop now, pay later is also popular with a number of players like Affirm, Klarna, and AfterPay to name a few.
Have a clear and easy return policy
Returns are a big part of ecommerce especially for industries like fashion where shoppers can’t judge the fit of the product they want.
When shoppers purchase online they expect that they might have to return it.
So, a clear policy on your product page, (or even on the landing page like Gucci does) can go a long way to convince shoppers that they won’t be stuck with a product they don’t want.
“We are pleased to offer complimentary shipping within 2–3 days, easy returns and new, sustainable gift wrapping on all Gucci.com orders.”
Two pain points that shoppers experience when it comes to returns are time limits and shipping return costs.
Managing those two things better than your competitors can help a lot. Notice Gucci’s wording, “easy returns.” It’s a nice thought that reduces hesitation when shoppers add to cart.
Invest in a chatbot if it suits your brand
Chatbots solve problems that lead to cart abandonment in real time. However, like the exit-intent pop-ups, the leading apparel brands we analyzed don’t use them!
Other big brands do though. Victoria’s secret and Tommy Hilfiger have found them to be indispensable as customer engagement tools.
A chatbot is primarily a navigational tool, leading visitors to different parts of the website and providing general information about shipping and availability.
But for Victoria’s Secret, it really suits their brand. Employing chatbots for shoppers looking for bras provides discrete support for a delicate affair.
So even though many big brands don’t use them, AI-driven chatbots are becoming easier than ever to install and shoppers are engaging with them more and more.
They can be taught to answer most of the questions that a salesperson can and can save the cost of paying that person.
One last benefit of chatbots is the customer feedback. Getting to know exactly what shoppers need at exactly the right time gives you valuable insight into how to improve your site.
How to recover abandoned carts
Even if you’ve applied all the basics for preventing cart abandonment there will always be carts that don’t convert.
So it’s best to set up a good cart recovery strategy with both email and SMS remarketing plus retargeting ads.
That means for every 100 remarketing emails you send, 11 shoppers will purchase what they previously left in the cart!
Send personalized remarketing emails
So remarketing emails for cart abandonment convert at a high rate compared to other forms of email outreach.
If you schedule them to be sent right away it’s best, within a couple hours of the cart being abandoned to remind shoppers while the experience is still fresh.
There are a number of things to include in a good email but key amongst them is the personal touch.
AI-driven solutions are available now that can track individual browsing behavior, demographic information and product preferences down to the attribute level (color, style, size, fit, etc.).
With this data in hand you can take abandoned cart email personalization beyond just including a name in the subject line and automate your remarketing email campaign to cross sell and upsell items based on the individual customer’s actual preferences.
This approach has been shown to double AOV and triple conversion rates.
Remarketing email subject lines hall of fame
The 5 classic email remarketing subject lines still work well when combined with the personalized content described above.
- The shopper’s name. “Gillian, your cart awaits!”.
- A friendly push. “Don’t give up yet, you’re almost there.”
- A little bit of FOMO. “Grab these styles before we empty your cart.”
- An extra incentive. “Free shipping if you purchase within 24 hours.”
- Seasonal touchpoint. “Originals: Summer Ready for Her.”
Remarketing email content suggestions
Obviously the thing to include is the product from the abandoned cart. But besides that, the remarketing email is a great opportunity to offer discounts or other recommendations.
- Product recommendations. You can recommend similar products, trending products or “complete the look” products. If these products are based on the individual preferences of the shopper, your chances of cross/up selling are even better.
- Discounts. A percentage off the purchase price is always attractive.
Use 1-to1 SMS remarketing
While email remarketing gets high open and conversion rates, the rates for SMS are super high at 98%.
One reason is that we often see an SMS before an email. When an SMS pops up, we read immediately because it’s so short and usually easy to read in its entirety as a notification.
The trick of course is to get a phone number. Transparently asking for it in exchange for a newsletter or discount code is a common way to do it.
With wider reach and higher open rates, more and more companies are using SMS remarketing. In 2020 retailers increased their spending on SMS platforms by 56%.
As is the case with email remarketing, personalization makes a big difference. With customer data to personalize your messages, conversions are much easier to make.
Pay for retargeting ads
Retargeting ads also work well for recovering abandoned carts.
The most effective way to run a campaign is to base it on specific segments. Again, AI-driven solutions can help identify these segments, right down to their browsing/spending habits and product preferences at the attribute level.
These hyper-personalized segments have been shown to bring good results, not only for recovering abandoned carts via retargeting ads, but also for increasing brand awareness and user engagement.
With the personal data in hand you can launch retargeting campaigns that keep your brand top of mind long after shoppers abandon carts. These personalized reminders are much more likely to convert than random ads targeting more general segments.
Leading ecommerce sites get the basics right for reducing cart abandonment and recovering carts when shoppers leave.
Of course, some of the solutions used by these sites aren’t for everybody (eg. The Call Us CTAs for items too expensive to list publicly). But they’ve put a lot of that money into testing what works for ecommerce so taking a critical look at what the leading brands are doing is worthwhile for brands of all sizes.
A lot of the things are not difficult and you can apply them yourself (visually reinforcing your credit card forms, for example).
For the more complicated things there are plenty of SaaS companies out there these days that can save you time and they serve companies of all sizes.
All the solutions are in reach nowadays. If you want to make it happen, your cart abandonment fundamentals can be just as solid as the biggest brands out there and you can retain more customers by showing them you care.
Rosetta.ai offers image-based personalization for more engaging shopping experiences, detailed shopper data for email marketing/SMS campaigns, and preference analysis insights for better business decisions.
On average, our clients double their order value and triple their conversion rate because shoppers on their websites are more engaged by the industry-leading accuracy of our personalized recommendations.
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