Last updated - February 24, 2020
WooCommerce is a great platform for online sellers that want to optimize the minute details of their stores. It’s open-source (allowing them to make changes as they prefer), has an exceptional feature set by default, and provides access to a huge range of plugins that can turn a unique vision of a WooCommerce store into a reality.
This kind of optimization is essential, given the relentless and unforgiving nature of competition in the eCommerce world — and when it comes to optimizing the online sales process, having an effective abandoned cart strategy is an element you can’t afford to overlook.
So how exactly can you implement such a strategy in WooCommerce? Thankfully, it’s reasonably straightforward — here are the basic steps you’ll need to follow:
Take action to minimize cart abandonment
The easiest way to deal with abandoned carts is to avoid them happening in the first place. There are various ways you can do this, and the following tactics should help massively:
Polish your checkout funnel
If someone places an item in their cart but gets dragged into an inadequate checkout process, they might change their mind. WooCommerce is quite smooth by default, but the payment stage can be awkward: provide more options, such as the Amazon Payments system, and you’ll be less likely to lose orders.
Provide last-minute reassurance
Shoppers continue thinking about purchases right up to the point of making them, so there’s no harm in continuing to stress the pros of your company until the order is placed. Fill your checkout pages will trust indicators, stressing how happy your customers are and the guarantees you offer.
Rely on more than low pricing
Never forget that you’re competing with giant corporations such as Amazon. The key to getting by, per CRO expert Khalid Saleh (appearing on the Marketing Speak podcast) is “creating an amazing experience for your customers”: making people want to buy from you for reasons that don’t solely involve your pricing, because you never know when a cheaper offer will present itself.
Make shipping costs clear early
It’s really frustrating to think that you’re getting a great deal only to see shipping costs appear at the last second. By making your shipping costs obvious from the product page onwards, you’ll avoid this concern.
Offer incentives to bring shoppers back
No matter what you do, of course, you’ll always get some abandoned carts — but there are steps you can take to recover at least some of them. The key is sending abandoned cart emails, which is something that WooCommerce can do with the aid of a suitable plugin: there are various such plugins, including a WooCommerce-developed option called Follow-Ups.
The idea is simple: when a logged-in shopper leaves your store with an item (or items) in their cart, your chosen plugin can wait a suitable amount of time and then send them an email intended to rekindle their interest and convince them to return and complete their purchase.
Sometimes, it’s simply a distraction that prevents a purchase from being completed, and a basic reminder is enough to turn things around. More commonly, though, it’s something like the price being slightly too high, or the delivery date being unsuitable — when something like that happens, the best you can do is offer an incentive of some sort.
What kind of incentive? You can offer a discount voucher (if you choose it well), or a free gift, or priority shipping — you can even scale the incentive to the value of the items in the recipient’s cart, or the perceived value of their custom overall (based on previous purchases).
Gather in-depth customer feedback
Perhaps most importantly, you should always listen to your customers to learn why they’re not finishing their orders because estimating the reasons will never give you much clarity. Reach out to someone who didn’t complete their order and ask them outright what happened. Was the cost prohibitive? Were they uncertain about whether they could trust your store?
You’ll need to take the feedback with a grain of salt, admittedly — people won’t always be willing to share their justifications, especially if they pertain to cost, plus we don’t always know exactly why we make certain decisions — but it will prove hugely useful regardless. Learning specifically what’s pushing people away is the first step in making suitable improvements that will drive up revenue and customer loyalty.
Use abandonment surveys, emails, social media messages, or even support tickets. How you get it done doesn’t really matter — just get it done, and commit to it on a consistent basis. Remember to weight the feedback based on significance: if a handful of new customers recommend a change, but the bulk of your valuable legacy customers want things to stay the same, you’ll need to carefully determine which route you should take.
Keep monitoring the metrics
In the end, the efficacy of your strategy will come down to the raw metrics, so don’t make the mistake of trying to gauge success by considering general revenue or profitability. Focus specifically and exclusively on the rate and value of abandonment.
If you’re bringing abandonment down, lessening its impact, and bringing more orders to completion, then you’re doing the right things. If you’re not, then even if your business is going from strength to strength overall, your strategy needs to be completely revised.