Online Checkout Checklist

Six must-dos to increase online shopping cart conversions

Last in a two-part series

By Heather Blessington

The fine art of window shopping is alive and well online — shoppers click that magic ‘add to cart’ button, only to click away before checking out. If you’ve noted high shopping cart abandonment rates on your website, you’re not alone. According to aggregate data from the Baymard Institute1, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 67.91 percent

So how do you encourage customers to complete their online purchase? Let’s explore why shoppers abandon online carts, so that you can remove those barriers in your mission to increase your online shopping cart conversion rate.

ComScore2 data reveals the top two reasons shoppers abandon their carts are because they aren’t quite ready to make a buying decision (see Figure 1).


 Figure 1 (Graphic provided by Milo, Local Shopping)Conversion Tip 1: Provide robust product details

To convert window shoppers to buyers, ensure that your product pages are as detailed as possible, including specs, features, benefits and images. The less off-site research customers have to do, the more likely they will complete the sale. In terms of replacement parts, providing fitment specifications will give a shopper the confidence that the part they have selected is the part they actually need and likely curb shopping cart abandonment.

Conversion Tip 2: Create a sense of urgency

Who doesn’t love a sale? But how you present the savings to your customers can impact the success it has a checkout — if you always offer 15-percent-off online, it doesn’t create that sense of urgency many customers need to encourage them to complete their purchase.

Create limited-time promotions on specific product categories that are only available for a short period of time each year. Perhaps your Spring Special promotes regular maintenance items, and your Fall Special highlights winterization products. You can go even further and create an acute sense of urgency by offering a flash sale that only lasts for a very limited time, say 12 hours. The key here is to communicate that this offer has a finite end date.

Another way to create a sense of urgency is to display available inventory. If you only have a single part in stock, this may incite more immediate action.

Conversion Tip 3: Refine your shipping charges

The third- to fifth-ranking reasons for shopping cart abandonment all revolve around shipping charges (see Figure 1). Springing high shipping charges on your customers late in the checkout process is one of the fastest ways to lose a sale. If you’re making money on shipping, consider a break-even approach. And while offering free shipping on every item you sell online may be cost prohibitive, it may be worth offering for sales that hit a specific dollar value threshold or for smaller products that cost very little to ship.


 Figure 2 (Graphic provided by Milo, Local Shopping)Conversion Tip 4: Provide clear delivery expectations

Long waits and unclear time expectations can both negatively affect online shopping cart conversions (see Figure 2). To resolve the latter issue, it is imperative that you clearly communicate shipping times to manage customer expectations.

If you don’t have an item in stock, or if an online customer’s shipping address requires long ground shipping times, consider offering expedited shipping options. In some cases, getting the customer’s part quickly will be worth the extra expense and will seal the online sale.

Another alternative for local shoppers is in-store pickup. Not only does in-store pickup allow your local customers to get a product more quickly and when it is most convenient for them, it also allows you to consider showcasing larger pieces of inventory online which are exclusively available for in-store pickup. This approach makes it extremely convenient for a shopper who has completed the research stage to make a commitment to that mower you’ve got in stock.

Conversion Tip 5: Make it easy to pay

I’m borrowing this tip straight from last month’s article on boosting average online orders. (If you haven’t read it yet, go to to check out “Seven sure-fire ways to boost e-commerce order value” in August 2014 OPE.)

Concerns around credit card security and identity theft are rampant. As a result, some customers are afraid to use their credit cards online. Giving customers the option to pay via PayPal or via wire transfer can allay these fears and help convert the sale.

Conversion Tip 6: Don’t let them go so easily

Take advantage of Google’s Remarketing ads to reach out to customers who have abandoned your site to encourage conversion. Remarketing lets you reach people who have previously visited your site, and show them relevant ads across the web or when they search on Google. You can even show those prospects a tailored message or an offer that will encourage them to return to your site and complete their purchase. Interested? Explore the details on Remarketing at

While you’ll never eliminate abandoned cart syndrome, following these steps will help you lower your abandonment rate to boost your e-commerce profits.


 Heather Blessington joined ARI as Chief Marketing Officer in November 2013, in conjunction with the acquisition of Duo Web Solutions, a digital marketing start-up she owned which grew to be the leading provider of social media marketing services. Blessington has a 20-year track record of success in website design/development, search engine marketing and social media strategy. Blessington’s portfolio features work for Fortune 500 clients, including Microsoft, Samsung, Bank of America, Lowe’s and Whirlpool Corporation. An award-winning blogger and nationally renowned speaker, she earned a BS, Mass Communications, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a PMP, Project Management Certification, from the Project Management Institute. ARI creates award-winning software solutions that help equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website ( and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”


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