It’s important to generate high-quality traffic to your eCommerce website or the sites you build and manage for clients—that’s a no brainer. But… that’s only part of the formula for success. Once you bring the right visitors to your store, the ability to convert them into customers is critical. After all, just the slightest rise in your on-site conversion rate can yield a substantial increase in revenue.

While there are many facets of conversion rate optimization, one of the most effective steps you can take to improve your conversions is reducing abandoned carts.

Studies have found close to 70 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned. To say that this is a lot of money left on the table would be an understatement. Let’s say your eCommerce store generates 300 sales a month, totaling $15,000 in revenue. Based on the average cart abandonment rate, you’d be losing out on 700 sales and $35,000 in revenue every month.

Now, getting your cart abandonment rate to zero percent isn’t a realistic expectation. Some abandoned carts are simply unavoidable; not every shopper who adds something to their cart necessarily intends to purchase it right away (or ever).

The types of abandoned carts we want to address, however, are those where a shopper adds an item to their cart with the full intention of purchasing it but something along the way deters them from following through. Multiple studies have shown the following factors to be the biggest reasons customers abandon their carts:

  • Unexpected/high extra costs (shipping, taxes, fees)
  • Inability to order without creating an account
  • Too long and complicated of a checkout process
  • Inability to calculate the order total upfront
  • Slow delivery
  • Security concerns
  • Site performance problems (crashes, slow loading pages)

Fortunately, there are ways to combat all of those issues. In this article, we’ll cover some useful tips on how to fix some major problems to reduce cart abandonment. We’ll also highlight some of the best WooCommerce extensions you can use to make this process easier.

Quick tips for reducing abandoned carts

Before we jump into the WooCommerce extensions you can use to reduce cart abandonment, we’re going to cover a few general strategies.

1. Remove unexpected costs

Unexpected costs are the top reason for abandoned carts. There are two simple ways to combat this problem: clearly disclose costs before the checkout process—or offer free shipping and/or no taxes by baking those costs into your product prices. (After all, more than nine out of 10 customers say free shipping is their top incentive to buy.)

To give you an example of a company clearly disclosing costs and offering free shipping, let’s examine Lululemon. The shipping cost for each item (free for all products) is presented right above the Add To Bag button on the product page, making it hard to miss. This message is reiterated after adding a product to your bag, with a popup that clearly displays the free shipping perk.

Lululemon's clear offer of free shipping.

2. Enable guest checkout

Behind unexpected costs, forcing buyers to create an account is the next biggest cause of cart abandonment. It adds extra friction to the buying process and makes checkout take longer than it should.

Fortunately, this is an easy problem to avoid as you can configure WooCommerce to allow checkout without an account—it’s really just a matter of checking one box.

Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Accounts & Privacy. You’ll see an option for Guest checkout at the top. Select the option that says Allow customers to place orders without an account and you’re set.

Enabling guest checkout with WooCommerce.

To see this in action, let’s take a look at PureNootropics’s WooCommerce store. In the image below, you’ll notice a one-page checkout where the customer is only prompted to enter their name and address before proceeding to payment—creating an account is not required.

PureNootropics has a simplified one-page checkout.

If you do want to have customers create accounts, later in this article we’ll cover an extension that makes the account creation process far less obtrusive.

3. Speed up and clarify the checkout process

Long and complicated checkout processes can cause shoppers to abandon their carts in a hurry. A smooth checkout isn’t hard to achieve as you really only need to gather four pieces of information:

  • Name
  • Address (plus shipping address if different than billing)
  • Email address
  • Payment details

Ideally, you would collect these details in as few steps as possible. At most, it should take no more than the following three screens: billing (and shipping) info, payment details, and order review. It’s also important to visually display the checkout steps throughout the process because if the customer is unsure how long the process will take, they are more likely to leave.

The North Face provides a good example of a smooth checkout experience. The form doesn’t ask for unnecessary information (although do they really need a phone number?) and the simple, two-step checkout process is displayed at the top of the page.

The North Face offers a smooth checkout process.

5 WooCommerce extensions that can reduce abandoned cart

The default WooCommerce checkout experience is fairly smooth but there are plenty of ways it can be improved and enhanced. Here are some helpful WooCommerce extensions you can use to eliminate the main causes of cart abandonment.

1. WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro

It’s hard to reduce your number of abandoned carts if you don’t know where in the checkout flow people are abandoning those carts. With the WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro extension ($79/year at WooCommerce.com), you can set up advanced eCommerce event tracking to have valuable data pushed to your Google Analytics account, allowing you to track the behavior of all of your customers.

With this extension, Google Analytics will automatically generate a robust Shopping Behavior report. You can then use this report to see the exact moments when customers are leaving your site before completing the checkout process.

For example, you may find that most of your abandoned carts occur on the checkout page. This could be a sign that you’re asking for too much information or you’re not offering enough payment methods. Or, you may notice numerous customers dropping off on your shipping page—which could be a sign they’re checking out your shipping costs and delivery times and not liking what they see.

To get a quick overview of your cart abandonment rate in Google Analytics, go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior. There you can see how many visitors have added something to their cart, what percentage abandoned their cart pre-checkout, and what percentage abandoned their cart during checkout.

Google Analytics cart abandonment.

You can get a more detailed look at your checkout abandonment by going to Conversions > Ecommerce > Checkout Behavior. Here you will see where in the checkout process visitors are dropping off: billing, payment or review.

Google Analytics shows checkout behavior.

To set this up, activate the extension and check the Enable Google Analytics tracking option on the settings page.

2. Checkout field editor

With the WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor extension ($49/year at WooCommerce.com), you can tweak the form fields customers need to complete before placing an order. This can help streamline the checkout process by ensuring that only the fields that are absolutely necessary are present. You can also rearrange the fields into an order that is most effective for your checkout flow.

When you look at the default WooCommerce configuration you’ll notice a couple of (most likely) unnecessary fields: Company and Order Notes. Since these fields aren’t required to proceed to payment, they clutter the checkout page and make the form look longer and more intimidating than it needs to be.

The default WooCommerce checkout.

With the Checkout Fields Editor, you can easily remove these unnecessary fields. Go to WooCommerce > Checkout Fields

Find the option for billing_company and check the box. At the bottom of the page you’ll see a Disable/Remove Checked button. Click the button and you’ll see a line cross out the billing_company field. Make sure to click Save Changes before leaving the page. 

Removing a field with Checkout Fields Editor.

To remove the order notes field, click on the Additional Fields tab.

Adding additional fields with Checkout Fields Editor.

Check the box for the order_comments field, click Disable/Removed Selected and save the changes.

Getting rid of the order comments in Checkout Fields Editor.

Let’s take a look at our checkout details now that we have removed the unnecessary fields.

Revised checkout fields.

As you can see, it’s much cleaner and looks like it won’t take quite so long to fill out. 

3.  WooCommerce Social Login

While many shoppers don’t want to create an account when placing an order, some may find it useful to have a centralized place to track their shipments and review their order history. You also may want shoppers to create accounts so you can keep a better record of your customers.

You can significantly reduce the friction (and cart abandonment) that comes with account creation by using the WooCommerce Social Login extension ($79/year at WooCommerce.com). This extension enables customers to log in to your site using popular social media platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and Google, among others.

Social Login options.

Instead of having to create a new account, customers can log in to their preferred social media profile—which will then be linked to their store account. Most people stay signed in to their social accounts at all times, which means they can log back in to your store for future purchases with just a click. 

When a customer logs in via a social media account for the first time, a corresponding WordPress user is created using the same email address as the social account. If a customer who already has an account on your site logs in via social for the first time using the same email as their site account, they will be signed in to their site account as well and the accounts will become linked. From then on, whenever they log in using the social account they will simultaneously be logged in to their site account.

While the customer’s social and site accounts link automatically, the accounts for other user roles, such as admin, do not allow for automatic linking by default. If you want to add automatic linking for different user roles, you can do so using the wc_social_login_find_by_email_allowed_user_roles filter. For example, if you wanted to add automatic linking for a wholesaler role you’ve created, you can add the following:

function wc_social_login_email_link_additional_roles( $roles ) {
    $roles[] = 'wholesale-customer';
    return $roles;
}
add_filter( 'wc_social_login_find_by_email_allowed_user_roles', 'wc_social_login_email_link_additional_roles' ); 

There are additional actions and filters you can use to customize how the social buttons are displayed. You can move the buttons in the account section by using wc_social_login_move_social_profiles—or if you wanted to move the buttons from the login form to the registration form you could use wc_social_login_move_register_buttons.

4. WooCommerce 360º Image

Some shoppers will abandon their carts because they are unable to get the same understanding of a product that they would when shopping in person. One way to close that gap is to provide product photos that give the customer a look at the product from all angles. This can prove particularly valuable for high-ticket items where the customer is likely to review the product several times after adding it to their cart before finally completing the purchase.

With the WooCommerce 360º Image extension ($49/year at WooCommerce.com), you can easily create a controllable 360-degree rotating image for any of your products by simply adding a collection of multi-angle images to the product gallery.

To set a 360-degree rotatable image for a product, go to the edit product page and find the WC 360 Settings, located on the right sidebar. Check the box that says Replace Image with 360 image

Finding WC 360 Image Settings.

Next, you’ll want to add the multi-angle images to the product gallery. Click the Add product gallery images text under the Product gallery tab. You’ll then be able to upload your 360-degree images to WordPress.

Setting up a product gallery for a 360 degree image.

It’s important to arrange the gallery images in the correct order so the rotator works smoothly. After you’ve added the images and saved the changes, the 360-degree image will be live on the product page. Visitors can then click the play button to have the image rotate automatically, or they can click the fast forward and rewind buttons to move through one image at a time.

A 360 rotating image.

You can customize the functionality of your rotating image by adding different filters to the custom functions section of your functions.php file.

For example, you can disable the spin animation triggered on page load by using: add_filter( 'wc360_js_spin', '__return_true' );

You can also customize the rotation of the image with some simple CSS edits. Let’s say you wanted to rotate the image 90 degrees, you could use:

/* Rotate 360 Image -90 Degrees */
.threesixty .threesixty_images img {
    -ms-transform: rotate(-90deg); /* IE 9 */
    -webkit-transform: rotate(-90deg); /* Chrome, Safari, Opera */
    transform: rotate(-90deg);
}

Ultimately, the quality of your 360-degree image will be largely influenced by the pictures of the product. It’s ideal to place the product on a rotating disc and take a total of 12 to 36 pictures.

5. WooCommerce Additional Variation Images

If a product comes in different variations, it’s important to have ample photos for each of those variations. This helps customers see exactly what a product variant looks like (e.g., in a specific color) instead of having to imagine it themselves—which can lead to them second guessing their decision and abandoning their cart.

With the default WooCommerce configuration, when a customer selects a product variant, only the main image switches to that specific variant, not the gallery below. If you want your visitors to be able to easily view the gallery for a specific variant, you’ll need an extension like WooCommerce Additional Variation Images ($49/year at WooCommerce.com).

To add images for a specific variation go the edit product page for that item. Within the Product data tab, click on Variations. Find the appropriate variation and click Add Additional Images and the images for that variation. 

Adding variation images for a product.

This will set up the gallery that will display below the featured image when you select that variation on the product page.

Themes using the default WooCommerce lightbox tend to work seamlessly with the plugin, however, some third-party themes may experience some issues. Fortunately, the hooks and triggers provided by the plugin give you the ability to overcome these issues.

For example, if the images aren’t changing when you click on a variation you can use trigger( 'wc_additional_variation_images_frontend_before_show_variation' ) as a callback function to run when the user triggers a variation change.

Key takeaways

Optimizing your store’s conversion rate can be challenging when the majority of shoppers abandon their carts. Fortunately, with a bit of knowledge as to what causes customers to leave your site before completing their purchase, you can take the necessary steps to lower your store’s abandonment rate.

Studies have found the following factors to be the biggest causes of abandoned carts:

  • Unexpected/high costs (shipping, taxes, fees)
  • Inability to order without an account
  • Too long and complicated of a checkout process
  • Inability to calculate the order total upfront
  • Slow delivery
  • Security concerns
  • Site performance problems (crashes, slow loading pages)

Some initial steps you can take reduce the most common cause of abandoned carts include:

  • Remove unexpected shipping and costs. Unexpected shipping costs are the top reason for abandoned carts. You can address this issue by clearly displaying your shipping costs on the product page or simply offering free shipping on every order.
  • Enable guest checkout. Most guests don’t want to be forced to create an account to checkout. Enabling guest checkout allows them to skip that step.
  • Speed up the checkout process. Long checkouts can deter shoppers from completing their purchase. You can speed up the process by only showing essential checkout fields and keeping the process to as few pages as possible.

There are also plenty of WooCommerce extensions you can use to help reduce your cart abandonment. Some of the best options include:

  • Google Analytics Pro. Google Analytics Pro allows you to configure eCommerce tracking for your store with just a few clicks. You can then use the detailed eCommerce metrics to track the entire purchase funnel to see where customers are dropping off.
  • Checkout Field Editor. With the Checkout Field Editor plugin you can easily add or remove checkout fields to make the process faster and simpler.
  • WooCommerce Social Login. WooCommerce Social Login enables customers to create an account for your store by simply logging to their preferred social media platform.
  • WooCommerce 360º Image. With WooCommerce 360º Image, you can add a rotating featured image to your products. This allows customers to get a better understanding of an item.
  • WooCommerce Additional Variation Images. WooCommerce Additional Variation Images allows you to add a specific set of images for each product variation.

The following extensions mentioned in this post are included at no additional charge in the GoDaddy Managed WordPress eCommerce hosting package:

  • WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro
  • Checkout Field Editor
  • WooCommerce Social Login
  • WooCommerce 360º Image
  • WooCommerce Additional Variation Images

Click here to learn more about GoDaddy’s WooCommerce hosting options.

Published by Bradley Taylor

Bradley is a content writer specializing in eCommerce and SaaS technologies. When he's not writing, he's building his eCommerce store Marquee Jewelry, or exploring the world of PC gaming.

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