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Boost shopping cart conversions with human behaviour techniques


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How to boost your shopping cart conversions using human behaviour techniques

70 percent of shoppers abandon their online carts before completing a purchase due to overly long or complicated online checkout processes, hidden costs, or other factors – whatever the reason, that means that from 10 real prospects who are seriously interested in your product online, only 3 of them make a completed purchase. 

So, don’t you agree it’s time to optimise your checkout process to turn more visitors into clients and increase your sales revenue?

But why do Shopping Carts Get Abandoned?

In the e-commerce business, a large portion of cart abandonments is simply due to how people browse websites. 

Many will window shop and compare prices, or save products for later and neglect to return. Unfortunately, this is largely unavoidable.

The main reasons people abandon their shopping cart are:

  • Being forced to create an account.
  • Struggling with complicated checkout processes.
  • Unexpected delivery costs.
  • Concerns over the security of their personal information.

The good news is: most of the issues can be resolved with design.

In fact, conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg argues the three primary design problems are:

  • They fail to reduce the fear of missing out on the product.
  • They fail to build trust and credibility.
  • They fail to reinforce benefits.

The good news is that researchers have developed tried and tested models and frameworks over the years that can help us understand how people behave, what to do to get them to perform an activity or even what can be done to change their behaviour.

Let’s start by looking at Fogg’s Behaviour Model.

Understanding Fogg’s Behaviour Model

What is the best way to master consumer behavior in eCommerce? Fogg’s behaviour model is definitely one way!

In his Behaviour Model, Persuasive Technology Lab (Stanford University) founder BJ Fogg asserts that three components must occur simultaneously in order to affect a change in behavior:

Behaviour = Motivation + Ability + Prompts 

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Even with the best UI/UX design, shoppers don’t always behave as we’d like them to. Thus, the FBM assists behavioural designers and managers of eCommerce businesses in identifying problem-causing factors to create persuasive designs that work.

A potential client might be motivated to buy, but if it’s difficult for them to do so (long forms to fill out, missing delivery info…), they may become frustrated.

If they have low motivation, but it’s easy (one-page checkout), they will get annoyed.

If you want to increase your conversions, you must provide the following recipe to the potential customers:

High motivation + simple to do + trigger.

Excellent! At this point, you probably understand you need to have a checkout flow that reduces fear, reinforces benefits, builds trust and follows some kind of process to increase sales. However, what exactly can we do? And how will this be achieved?

It’s time to use both BI’s 3 design issues and Fogg’s behaviour model to improve your checkout cart conversion rate based on what we’ve learned so far. 

Are you ready to see a real change in your e-commerce?

1 – How to reduce checkout cart fear

After customers add an item to their cart, initiate the checkout process and are ready to make a purchase, many questions enter their minds:

“Why do you need my phone number?”

“When is it going to be delivered?”

“Is it a safe website for me to put my credit card details?”

“Is it the best price I can get for this product/service?”

And when you get the client to this point, the best you can do is to reduce any “sense of fear”. If you ask for more information than is necessary, you are asking for sensitive information before your visitor feels comfortable giving it to you or your form is quite long or intimidating, you are the one responsible for making them feel unsafe on your site.

Instead, improve your customer experience by following these ideas:

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As humans, we are driven by a sense of accomplishment – and by breaking it down into steps, will increase the chances of the buyer accomplishing it.

By adding a progress indicator to checkout, you’re going to eliminate your customers’ worry about not knowing how many steps are left to complete the transaction.

One page checkout option

One page checkout forms make sense in the following situations:

  • Since they are short, it gives the customer more incentive to complete the purchase.
  • Just requiring fewer clicks can make your client less likely to leave your online store.

However, do not forget that its success is dependent upon the products you sell, your reputation, and the type of client you have.

A single-page checkout usually works better for low average order values or for impulse purchases.

And how can you know if this would work for you?

Run an A/B test, analyse the data and compare the results.

Add the option “Checkout as a guest”

We’re all becoming more cautious about sharing our personal information online – this is no different when we buy from an online store. I can tell you for certain that 30% of users abandon their carts when they’re asked to enroll before checking out.

Give your customers a choice of ways to complete their purchase. Signing in can be done using a Facebook or Gmail account, or by checking out as a guest, and of course by creating a personal account – let them decide what works best for them!

You should give them reasons to fill out their personal information if their data is important to you (and I understand that because you need to grow your email list). Perhaps you can offer them a 10% discount, or ask them again if they want to sign-up on the “Thank You Page”.

The total cost needs to be clear

63% of people abandon their shopping cart due to too high extra costs, and 23% abandon because they weren’t able to clearly see or calculate the total order cost, so it’s got to be as obvious as possible.

You definitely don’t want to surprise your users with shipping costs or taxes, right?!?

It is possible to add things like “free delivery on purchases over X amount” or integrate a tax calculator and make it simple for customers to find and use – just make sure the information is clear and easily accessible for them.

2 – Build trust and credibility

If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you – simple as that!

If the “look and feel” of your website is messy, confusing, and doesn’t show clear information, I can guarantee people will leave your site faster than you can blink an eye.

When you’re building your website and planning your e-commerce components, keep these things in mind:

  • Clearly reinforce to the user that you’re credible and trustworthy
  • Show your clients they’re in a secure browser environment
  • Leverage these trust messages at the point of action
  • Communicate to your clients what you’re going to do with any information you’re collecting
  • And of course, value their privacy.

Let’s look at how we can deal with these issues

Contact information details

Are your contact details displayed clearly, so that I can see and easily contact you if I’m a customer and something goes wrong after I buy my desired item?

If you haven’t done it yet, contact your web developer and tell them to add your contact information immediately – on both the top (header) AND bottom (footer) of your website. You should make it obvious.

SSL Certificates and trust badges

SSL is a global standard security technology that enables encrypted communication between browsers and servers. Simply put, SSL creates a private channel between two parties: your client and you.

The purpose of these security badges is to decrease the risk of sensitive information (credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, emails, phone numbers, etc.) being stolen or tampered with by unsavory groups or individuals.

There are many different badges on the market, but the customer’s favourite and most trusted ones are:


McAfee Secure


Deliver what you promise

Every time you touch base with your customer is an opportunity to build credibility. Don’t let it slip away!

If you’re discussing delivery, don’t just mention its costs. Your customer wants to know when it will arrive and who will be delivering it.

Here’s another tip: choose wisely who you employ as a courier or delivery partner. A bad delivery company will lose your customer’s trust in you, not in the delivery company.

Checkout and Payment

Don’t forget to add a note about respecting the customer’s privacy when they’re at this stage of completing the order.

Messages like “Your credit card will authorise and reserve the funds for this purchase;

but you will not be charged until your order has shipped” together with a “Place Order” button is a way to reinforce that people can trust you. 

Even better if you can add the trust badges to this page as well.

The power of customer reviews

When you want to buy something online, what’s one of the first things you do? 

You look at previous customer reviews. 

Is that company trustworthy? Is it a good product? Do they have good customer service? Do they help people if they’re in doubt about the item?

According to data collected by Invesp, 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business’ website and 88% of customers trust these opinions almost as if they were personal recommendations.

By adding real reviews about your service and products, people will feel much more confident about making purchases on your site.

In summary, trust must be consistently built throughout the user’s experience, then reinforced at decision points in order to achieve the desired result.

3 – Reinforce the benefits

There are many ways you can highlight the benefits of doing business with you – but you have to display them for your customer to understand why they should choose you over others.

Your main benefits

Free delivery? Money-back guarantee? Free trial? Price beat?

What makes you better than your competitor?

Give reasons for the customer to choose you! Show these qualities at different touchpoints on your website (home page, shopping cart, checkout…). You can even change the graphics and show it more than once on the same page. Get creative and talk about “why you”.

Instead of asking, try to exchange something

Would you like to use your customers’ email address to send them your weekly newsletter?

Instead of adding a box to your website that says “subscribe to our newsletter”, make it more appealing by asking “do you want to be the first to hear about our new products and promotions?” And then, “Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.”

In addition, you can increase your subscription conversion by offering a “little prize” to your customers, for example “subscribe now and get free shipping on your next order”.

Leaving the last impression

Wow, awesome stuff – you managed to get your customer to check out.

Make it a point to reinforce again why you are the right company for them to do business with.

You can either add reviews, benefits like free delivery or money-back guarantee – anything that will reassure your client to complete the purchase. 

You can also include a chatbot here, ready to answer any question your client has and showing that you care about delivering great customer service.


When a customer enters your e-commerce store, they are automatically exposed to a set of expectations – so it’s important that the standards are met (or exceeded) as you plan the design of your store.

Keeping an eye on your analytics will help you identify which pages are converting, as well as those that aren’t. Heat map tools (like Hotjar) can also assist you in identifying areas that need improvement. Most importantly, make sure you understand your customer’s expectations, motivations, and behaviors.

Focusing on conversion alone is insufficient without knowing who the person behind that screen is.

The ultimate goal is to remove shoppers’ barriers to conversion, and the only way to accomplish this is by adopting a customer-centric approach 

The emotional connection between you and a customer is just as important to conversion! The end result is that everyone comes out of the experience with more satisfaction. To make this philosophy work in your business, conduct tests, gather feedback and respond to it in a timely manner.

In short, keep these in mind:

  • Motivation, ability, and a prompt are needed to nudge the desired behaviour.
  • Motivation is the most difficult to increase, but it can be encouraged by appealing to the users’ motivators (or cognitive biases).
  • Ability can be best increased by making your site simple to use.
  • Different prompts are needed for different situations and different people, so make sure you design your website with users’ motivation and ability in mind.
  • Test as much as you can!

Do you need assistance to implement or increase your digital store’s human behaviour techniques?

Get in touch with me and let’s talk about how taking this approach can increase your success rate!