Unfortunately for you, as an online store owner, most people will leave your online store before they buy anything. Shockingly over 68% of people will come to your online store, add something to the cart, and then leave before complete the purchase.

You may not realize exactly what this is costing you since you are probably focused too much on the sales coming in.

Let’s just take a look at this with some simple math.

  • Average order value: $100

  • Monthly Checkout visits: 1000
    Remember these are just visits. Which means that a potential customer started the process of checkout by either putting a product in their cart or went as far as started to fill out the checkout form.

  • Abandonment Rate: 68%

With these numbers, $68,000 per month and $816,000 per year is left sitting out there. Obviously mileage varies here, but the math is pretty simple to plug in your own numbers.

Monthly Loss = Average order value X Average Checkout Visits X (Abandonment Rate / 100)

I perform this simple exercise with every new customer of mine. All that’s required is some digging into your analytics of your store and Google Analytics. Look for the total number of orders and total sales, and divide them to get your average order value. Then go into Google Analytics and look for the visits last month to your checkout page. Plug these numbers into the formula above and that’s how much you are losing per month.

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Why are people leaving before completing the purchase?

To stop this from happening we have to find out why people are leaving your online store. A quick Google search of “why people abandon carts” results in a general theme of website issues, terrible checkout processes, and people are just researching are main reasons why people leave an online store without buying.

So now that we know generally why people are leaving, it’s easy to fix the thing under our control, the website and checkout process.

Make sure your checkout process is mobile friendly

[Tweet "80% of people shopping online using a tablet will purchase using a tablet."]

We all know that we need a mobile friendly website now. That isn’t even a question anymore when you create a website, it’s a given.

However, even though your website and your online store is responsive and mobile-friendly, is your checkout process? Often times checkout pages contain lots of fields that are positioned nicely on the desktop, but look horrendous on a tablet and even worse on a phone. Or because the checkout process is complicated, it makes the mobile experience unusable.

Let's take a look at an example of a very mobile friendly checkout.  In fact Amazon takes it a step farther, if you have an account already, makes mobile checkout a one-click thing.

On the other hand, below is an example of what I find to be one of the worst offenders. Best Buy right away asks for me to register. Even when I continue with my account, I’m unsure as to exactly what they want me to do. Should I pick it up at a store instead of ship to my house?

30% of all US ecommerce was mobile in 2015. Which is lower than other countries. However that growth is expected to 3x in 2016. More and more people expect as easy an experience through online shopping on their phones and tablets as they do on their desktop.

As a developer specializing in WooCommerce, I see lots of websites who do not have a mobile friendly checkout process. I encourage you to pull out your phone and try to buy something from your site on your phone. How does it look?

Often times it doesn’t look pretty because there are a bunch of different forms to fill out or the design of the checkout process it cluttered with up-sells and cross-sells. Bottom line is that you need to make a sale. Stop asking for so much. Trim the fat, so that your checkout process can be mobile friendly for your customers.

Only ask what you need

Now that the online store checkout process has been optimized for mobile, the next step is to make sure that you don’t drive your customer insane by filling out 4 different forms with all sorts of different information.

Customers are much more savvy now than when it was the 90s. They have an expectation of what information they need to give up to complete a purchase (name, email, address, phone, payment information). Anything more and you run the risk of losing them.

23% of online shoppers have said that they left a cart because they had to register or create an account prior to purchase.

Honestly, there’s no valid reason you can give me to convince me that as an online retailer you must have a customer register prior to purchase. Simply because everything you ask for in a registration for an account is already given during checkout. If you must have a registration as a part of your checkout, make it an option after the customer has made the purchase.

Always offer a Guest Checkout process to bypass any registration. WooCommerce allows you to create an account simply based on the email address of the customer. This is the best of both worlds because you get the user created and are not making the user do it themselves. That’s a win-win.

Pro-tip: In your checkout form, ask for your customer’s email first, before the name even. By getting the email first, should they decide to leave, you can at least have the opportunity to save their cart and email and email them to get them back to complete their purchase. This has been known to recover up to 23% of abandoned carts.

Make it drop dead obvious to checkout

Whether we know it or not, there is a ton of psychology at play during a checkout process. Even if we don’t consciously see this when we shop online ourselves, it’s there on all the most successful online stores.

You have to make it a complete no-brainer for your customer to know exactly what they are supposed to click on, especially when it comes to having them spend money with you. If you aren’t, then you are just distracting them and costing yourself sales.

The easiest way to do this is by stepping back from the screen and looking at the page. Is it crystal clear just from looking at the page what the customer is supposed to do? This is something I have been doing with my clients for years now. Wish I could take credit for the name of this test, but alas I cannot.

The 10 Foot Test

Jordan Gal, Founder of CartHook, calls this “The 10-Foot Test”. The gist of the test is this:

  1. Go to your site

  2. Go to a product and add it to the cart

  3. If you are not on your cart page, click over to it

  4. Get up from your chair and step back from the screen 10 feet

  5. Now ask yourself “When looking at the cart page, is it blatantly obvious where I should click?”

If the answer is “yes” then you passed. If the answer is “no” then you failed, and probably losing customers.

If you are failing, don’t worry, some of the biggest brands are too. Let’s take a look at some examples and see why.

Alex And Ani


All the buttons have the same weight and color. Add to Bag and Checkout (even the upsell photo for Gift Wrapping) are exactly the same color, size, font, and just blend together.

Checkout should ALWAYS standout more than the rest.

Best Buy


On a laptop, the checkout button is 3 entire page scrolls down. Even on my 27 inch widescreen monitor the checkout button barely shows. It does have a contrasting color at least, but why not have that button way up higher on the page. To me, it’s almost like they just want me to continuously add items to my cart and never checkout.

Toys R Us


There are so many contrasting colors, I’m not even sure what to click on. However that is their branding. So in this case, I would suggest to make the Checkout button much larger than the rest. The fact that it’s that bright pink is good, but it’s only slightly larger than the Donate button.

Just for comparison, let's take a look at some brands doing a great job passing The 10-Foot Test

The Gap


It's pretty obvious here that the big orange button is what I'm supposed to be clicking on. They are using a color that's no where else on their website so it's in extremely high contrast to the rest of this page.



Again, the green button is drawing my attention here. Obviously we don't think of Apple using green anywhere, so that is in high contrast to the rest of the site.



Most of this page contains muted colors. In fact the navigation is completely gone from the page. Only thing to really do is click on that big yellow button at the very top of the page.
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The Trust Factor

One of the biggest factors in failing to convert a visitor to a customer is lack of trust. The “T” in KLT, better known as “Know, Like, and Trust”, is the biggest decision factor when someone is about to make a purchase.

Let’s take it offline a second. NYC is famous for its street vendors selling “Foakley" sunglasses, “Koach” bags, and “Folex” watches. Often times these knockoffs look great, if not identical to the real deal. However are you willing to fork over $300 for a pair of sunglasses? Of course not! You don’t trust them.

They are usually these shady looking guys in these large overcoats with all their products on top of a bed sheet on the sidewalk, ready to scoop up all four corners and run off at the simple bleep of a police siren. What's not to trust?

The same applies to your online checkout process. You want to have trust badges next to the checkout button. These make the buyer feel safe and secure.

The Gap

They place their Security Policies and Return Policies along side the Credit Card Safeguard statement.


Places a lock right above the Checkout button to signify that the page has been secured.

Toys R Us

Even though Toys R Us doesn’t pass the 10-Foot Test, at least show the security badge by Norton.

These are all considered as trust signals, telling the customer that the site is safe to put their information into it.

The Completed Checkout

It really is shocking how much money is left out there in abandoned shopping carts. Especially when small measures can be taken to improve the checkout process of your online store.

I’ve personally seen increases of 10% to 25% with clients that I’ve worked with on improving their checkout process. I would encourage you to at least try one of these and see if your numbers go up. I’d be willing to bet that they would. If not, tell me below in the comments. If so, still tell me and I’d love to be able to highlight you in an upcoming blog post.

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