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Missing strangers: how to keep store visitors from leaving

5 min read
by Alena Parfisenko
Abandoned carts are a somewhat passive way of losing revenue, but over time they form an entire fortune that your store’s completely missed. That’s why it’s so important to fight this issue — every abandoned cart you save now will also add up to a (smaller) fortune in the future.
In the previous article, we talked about recovering carts with abandoned cart emails and email sequences. While an incredibly efficient tool, abandoned cart emails can only be used if you already have the potential customer’s email address. But what about multiple visitors that come to your website for the first time and don’t hand over their emails before abandoning their carts?
You can’t reach out to these people after they leave the website — so your only option is to try and prevent them from leaving it without a purchase in the first place. Tricky as it sounds, it’s possible: in this case, you’re preventing abandoned carts instead of recovering them.

How do you do it?

Since emails are not an option, you need a different, on-site way of communication: web forms. They don’t require any contact information, so it’s a great way to speak to any visitor directly. And they will serve you well with customers whose info you have, too — so you can double your communication channels with them.
There are multiple types of web forms for you to keep visitors on the website and entice them to go for a purchase. To be clear, we are not describing how to create and manage web forms: we did it in this article, and then in this one — more in-depth. Here, we’ll go over some of the more fitting forms for the goal at hand: preventing abandoned carts.

Add-to-cart buttons

We begin with the most obvious answer: Add-to-cart buttons. While they are technically buttons and not web forms, we have to mention them as they’re essential — you’d be amazed if you knew how many online stores mess up this simple task. Some make their buttons too unnoticeable or not working properly, and some just don’t have them. Can you imagine how much revenue these stores miss out on?
Add-to-cart buttons need to be placed on product pages and in the main store layout, allowing visitors to easily add items to their shopping carts.
Here are some tips for you:
  • Pick the colors and the size of the button carefully. It has to be perfectly noticeable and contrasty — in other words, it has to stand out on the page.
  • Shape and details matter. Some buttons are just buttons — and some you just want to click because they look oh so clickable. And you want your Add-to-cart’s to be that clickable.
  • On the product pages, make the buttons sticky. The Add-to-cart buttons that stick as you scroll the product page increase the number of completed orders by almost 8% — use it.

As you see, there truly are endless ways to mess up your Add to cart button.

Cart reminders

An incredibly efficient tool, these cart reminders — and do exactly what you expect them to. Whenever a customer adds something to the cart, a pop-up window appears, notifying them that the action was successful. You can use it to give customers a choice to continue shopping or proceed to checkout.
Another option is displaying a smaller web form with currently added items in the corner of a screen. This way you make sure your customers don’t forget about the items they already have added — and that they still need to check out.

It can look something like this (from the Nasty Gal online store).

Limited time offers

Everyone loves special offers. Everyone’s scared of missing out. This is why time-limited offers exist — using the sense of scarcity paired with a sweet deal, you get the visitors’ attention and entice them to take action. Check out your special offer, rush to the discount section, and check out before the bargain’s over. That’s how it should ideally go.
The thing is, so many online stores use this tactic wrong…
Let’s go over three main tips for nailing your next limited-time offer web form.
  • Don’t abuse them. You don’t only get first-time visitors with your web forms — some people visit a store’s website a few times before buying something. If they see multiple limited-time offers all the time, their FOMO goes to waste completely — they know for a fact there’ll be another special offer right after this countdown ends.
  • Count it down. On the topic of countdown timers… Use them, alright? It helps a lot with that very same scarcity — and prevents people from abandoning their carts and leaving the website. A separate reminder: if the countdown is supposed to end, end it. Don’t just restart immediately — it eliminates customers’ FOMO all the same.
  • Make it worth their while. Limited-time offers work great, but that’s no excuse for making them pity. 10% discounts drive 50% (!!!) more engagement than 5% discounts, as proven by Zion & Zion’s study. Use round numbers and don’t be afraid; you’ll generate much more revenue by making a solid offer.

Quick order form

Many customers know exactly what they want as soon as they see it — or they could even know it before they opened the website. It’s in your best interest to not cause any obstructions for them: long checkout process and lack of factual order info are among the main reasons for cart abandonment.
Quick order forms allow you to meet the needs of this type of visitor. By letting them promptly and painlessly order whatever they’re after you create a great customer experience for them… And make sure they don’t add to the list of people who left your website because of that endless six-page main order form at the end (you should change that one, too — no one likes it).
Quick forms obviously need to be short and one-page. But what do you need to include?
The bare minimum includes:
  • Customer’s details — at the very least, their name and contact info;
  • Company’s details — its legal name and address;
  • Order details — date, product numbers, quantity, and description;
  • Shipping details — address, delivery method and date;
  • Financial details — pricing, terms and conditions of payment; taxes, fees, and shipment costs.

Exit intent pop-ups

The last guardian that works well with limited-time offers — an exit intent pop-up.
Remember when you were browsing a website and as soon as you wanted to leave, a pop-up web form appeared and offered you something or just asked you to stay? This was an exit intent pop-up.
Exit-intents track the users’ mouse movement to predict when they’re about to leave the website — and that triggers a pop-up window that immediately displays on their screen to prevent them from quitting.
The best exit intent pop-ups include:
  • Free shipping offer;
  • Discount offer;
  • Limited time offer;
  • Recommendations or popular items;
  • Cart items reminder.
You can also use exit intent pop-ups for gathering visitors’ email addresses — suggest they subscribe to your newsletter or promise a bonus for it. This way, you’ll be still able to reach out to them later even if they do leave the website without checking out.
You can also use exit intent pop-ups for gathering visitors’ email addresses — suggest they subscribe to your newsletter or promise a bonus for it. This way, you’ll be still able to reach out to them later even if they do leave the website without checking out.

A classic exit intent example — this one’s offering a $10 discount coupon

in exchange for your email address.

And what if nothing works?

In the end, we’re looking at a simple scheme.
  • 1
    You try to keep a visitor engaged with web forms and offers;
  • 2
    You remind them about their cart and recommend new stuff;
  • 3
    If they want to leave, you try to collect their email address or just keep them by promising something special;
  • 4
    If they leave and you have their address, you reach out to them later via email — we talked more about that in the previous article;
  • 5
    If they leave and you don’t have their contact information, they’re out.
Don’t worry if it happens: after all, those people were obviously either not interested enough… or they’ll come back by themselves. You did everything you could, and now it’s up to them.

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