8 Practices to Reduce Cross-Border Cart Abandonment

How eCommerce and online SMBs can use these potential solutions to lower cart abandonment rates.

Practices to Reduce Cross-Border Cart Abandonment

Depending on the nature of your eCommerce, cart abandonment rate can be a key indicator and metric to understand customers' behaviour and track your store's overall performance. Take the first step in monitoring your cart abandonment rate and analyze it periodically (bi-weekly or monthly). Communicate shipping and return policies clearly, ensure a secured website and transparent costing are a few ways to gain the trust of any user.

Any eCommerce business owner would agree that shopping cart abandonment is one of the major concerns they face. Research suggests that approximately 70% of the people who visit these e-commerce sites drop off after adding items to their carts. Cart abandonment is a term used to describe a situation where a visitor on a seller’s site does not get converted to a customer. Several times, small business owners fear spending big on marketing activities that drive traffic and customers to their website. One of the sole reasons behind this is the fear of abandonment of the cart or a prominent bounce rate, where the customer drops off without completing the transaction.

Let’s dive into the potential reasons as to why customers abandon their carts prematurely and look at solutions for the same.

Reasons & Potential Solutions for Cross-Border Cart Abandonment

While there are several aspects beyond the control of the seller, there are plenty of other things that can be manged by the seller to maximize the number of customers. Some of the reasons why people abandon their carts are:

1) Expensive shipping and customs

One of the most common issues faced by customers is the hidden costs in the form of expensive shipping charges. In certain cases, the shipping charges are more than the total amount. Hence, high cross-border shipping deters people from buying from online sites that are outside of the country. International purchases may involve a high customs fee, resulting in additional overhead costs for the buyer along with delays in the delivery of the product

Solution: Offer low cost or free shipping and returns

Most consumers do not want to buy items that comes with a risk. By offering low cost or free shipping, the seller is incentivized, reducing their chances of shopping cart abandonment. Easy and free returns gives the assurance that they can return the product, creating a great customer experience.

2) Mandatory account creations

Several websites require customers to create an account before placing an order. With the increasing concerns on personal data privacy and security, some may apprehensive about giving their full contact details. Others find it too time-consuming when they don't see themselves as becoming a regular customer or just want to purchase something quickly, hassle-free.

Solution: Include a guest checkout experience

By giving the option to checkout as a guest, business owners can reduce cart abandonment rate. This lets customers to purchase from your store seamlessly and giving them the power to control their data sharing options.

3) Long delivery lead time

Cross border shipping and delivery is a very tedious process. There is a lot of paperwork involved, and customs regulations may be a nightmare depending on how many different markets you serve. Today, customers enjoy instant gratification, when the brand does not deliver within stipulated (and appropriate) timeline, trust may be broken and customers will look for other options.

Solution: Reduce shipping lead time or provide tiered shipping options

Reduce lead time to ship, especially for local shipping. Fast delivery is a huge plus point for the eCommerce business. Other solutions that can be offered are free shipping, normal and express shipping - so the customers can choose based on their preference and set the right expectations on when they can expect their package.

4) Complicated and expensive returns

International and local returns is becoming common. When sellers offer complicated returns process or no returns at all, customers may think twice before make the purchase. Or they may check out a competitor of yours who offer a better return policy.

Solution: Offer easy and affordable return policies

Create a hassle-free return experience. Many brands offer free returns within 7 to 14 days depending on the product. If you're unable to offer free returns, make sure to communicate the paid return process clearly (especially since they have to pay a portion of it). Use email marketing or SMS to inform customers in tracking the return process and eventually receiving the refund to create that seamless customer experience.

5) Limited payment methods

This is the most important factor for a merchant, it directly contributes to the revenue as well as the the customer experience. Payment methods offered needs be easy-to-use, secure and instant. Complicated and lengthy payment steps deter conversions, abandoning the cart without completion. Hence it is really important for merchants to consider building seamless customer journey from browsing product pages through the funnel before making a payment.

Solution: Include alternative online payment methods (APMs) in your strategy

APMs refers to any payment that is not cash and not involving any international credit card networks. Bank transfers and e-wallets are some examples. Take Asia region for example, it consists of segmented markets that is at different economic growth with various local banks and regulations. So merchants look for payment gateway such as XanPay, who provides a unique local payment methods platform that made it cheap and easy to connect merchants and their customers in the Asian region. Merchants who have existing credit card payment methods also uses XanPay to provide additional payment options and have since saw an increased adoption in their customers purchasing behavior.

New merchants can sign up to enjoy their first USD 5,000 with transaction fee waived.

6) Unintuitive site experience

The look and feel of the website plays a major role in communicating what the brand stands for. A complicated user interface leads to unpleasant site experience. Businesses need to conduct research about their target audience’s digital behavious, and implement UI-UX best practices to make navigation intuitive and user-friendly.

Solution: Localize the site experience

The UI-UX of a website or app has a major role to play in any transaction. Businesses should provide change of language if they have customers who prefers another language. Seasonal promotions may also be useful to target local customers, so consolidating a calendar of events will be good place to start. Lastly, analyze shopping behaviors using web analytics tool to create predictive site content tailored to customers to drive conversions.

7) Inconvenient payment options

Several businesses require the customer to make the full payment before they receive the product, and do not offer Cash on Delivery (COD) options. This may be fine for small purchases, but what about big purchases? There are percentage of customers who may have limited budget for big purchases does not make the jump if it is required to make payment in full at one go.

Solution: Offer Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) instalment plans

Instalment payment plans are a great way to retain customers and reduce cart abandonment. Consumers can purchase what they need and pay for them later. BNPL companies like Atome in Singapore has experienced 20-30% increase in conversions and order size during the pandemic. Other rising BNPL players in Asia are Paidy (Japan), Plentina (Philippines), Kredivo (Indonesia), Pine Labs (India).

8) Unpleasant checkout experience

Mobile drives 61% of the traffic compared to 32% of the traffic from desktop in Asia. That is why a lot of digital strategies, whether it is website design or product usability, revolves around on being mobile-first. Brands and businesses who understood the significance in ensuring a responsive design when building their checkout experience, reaps higher rewards in getting more conversions.

Solution: Optimize checkout for different devices

Ensure the user experience in using a desktop, mobile or tablet has the same journey. Do A/B design test across devices and operating systems. Select the test that generates higher conversion and set a time to regularly see how you can further improve the experience.

Depending on the nature of your eCommerce, cart abandonment rate can be a key indicator and metric to understand customers' behaviour and track your store's overall performance. Take the first step in monitoring your cart abandonment rate and analyze it periodically (bi-weekly or monthly). Clearly communicate the shipping, return policies and pricing on your website, and never skim on security measures to safekeep the data that users have entrusted to you.