Feb 22, 2023
 min read

How to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Boost Repeat Orders

This article outlines:

The primary reasons that guests abandon online orders

Strategies for restaurant brands to reduce cart abandonment

Why continuous optimization matters

The average online shopping cart abandonment rate sits at nearly 70%. That means, approximately 7 out of every 10 users that initiate a transaction, don’t follow through. It’s a big problem across industries, but not an unsolvable one.

By taking a guest-centric approach to designing the online ordering and checkout experience, restaurant brands can reduce friction, eliminate barriers to conversion, and create an enjoyable experience for guests that keeps them coming back.


Top Reasons for Cart Abandonment

According to research conducted by Baymard Institute, many factors contribute to cart abandonment. While some reasons for cart abandonment are unavoidable—window shopping, price comparison, saving items for later, etc.—restaurant brands can drive sales and repeat orders by addressing the following issues:

  • Extra costs are too high (tax, delivery fees)
  • Mandatory account creation
  • Estimated delivery time is too slow
  • Website appears untrustworthy for entering payment information
  • Long/complicated checkout process
  • Total order cost not visible up-front
  • Website had errors/crashed
  • Not enough payment methods accepted
  • Credit card was declined
  • Restaurant location selection is a hassle
  • Expected handoff mode is unavailable
  • Advanced ordering is not an option

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8 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Boost Repeat Orders

To ensure guests successfully checkout, restaurant brands need to know exactly where in the online ordering journey guests are dropping off and why. One of the best ways to find out is through usability testing. In other words, testing the online ordering process with real users. This enables brands to spot pain points, collect data, and determine guests’ satisfaction with the process.

Once you’ve determined why guests are ditching their carts, you can start optimizing for conversion. For example:

Intuitive Ordering Interface

If guests aren’t checking out due to a confusing or complicated ordering interface, it’s time to rethink how the menu is organized and the structure of the ordering flow. Guests should be able to quickly find their favorite items, customize their order, and make edits to their cart as they go—regardless of the device they’re using. A clear CTA at each step of the process will help guide guests from start to finish.

Other important considerations:

  • Give defaults on menu items to eliminate an extra click on items that require customization
  • Validate a smooth mobile web ordering experience
  • Limit the number of redirect links that distract from the core flow

Login Options

While there are many benefits to requiring people to create an account when placing an online order (e.g. data collection, 1:1 marketing, personalizing the guest experience, etc.), it can also be a deterrent for those who are in a rush or don’t want to stress about password management. Registration shortcuts like Borderless checkout, logging in with Google, or the ability to “Checkout as a Guest” could make all the difference. If guest checkout is available, ensure it is the primary CTA, so that guests know they have a choice.

Simple Checkout

When it comes to optimizing the checkout experience for conversion, less is more. Few steps, limited form fields, and minimal distractions are key to getting guests across the finish line. If there is more than one page, consider adding a progress tracker to show guests where they are in the checkout process.

Multiple Handoff Modes

Limited handoff modes—dine-in, curbside, pick-up, drive-thru, delivery, etc.—can be a real turnoff for guests who have a preferred method of ordering, especially when that information isn’t communicated until the end of the checkout process. Restaurant brands can ensure guests aren’t abandoning their carts for this reason by enabling four or more handoff modes, a strategy proven to increase the conversion rate by 12% or more, according to Olo data.

Transparent Pricing and Delivery

If guests are ditching their carts at the last second, it may be because they’re turned off by the extra costs or longer-than-expected delivery time estimates. Brands can display a cart summary throughout the ordering flow for increased visibility and/or experiment with different placements, wording, or colors to communicate this information on the checkout page. Additionally, live tracking lets guests see their order status in real-time.

Multiple, Secure Payment Options

To establish trust with guests and offer convenience, restaurant brands should consider offering multiple payment options, including digital wallet support (e.g. Google Pay and Apple Pay) and the ability to save cards on file via Borderless checkout. Trust badges are another good way to let guests know that your checkout process is safe and that their data is secure. Examples include safe checkout (e.g. NortonLifeLock, VeriSign) and accepted payment method badges (e.g. PayPal, Visa).

High Authorization Rates for Valid Transactions

If your processor is rejecting credit card payments from legitimate guests, it will negatively impact your cart abandonment rate. The best way to ensure that you’re only rejecting fraudulent transactions is to select a restaurant payment stack that has been optimized with authorization rates in mind.

Q/A Testing

Regular Q/A testing is critical to ensure that your online ordering platform and checkout process are functioning properly. Slow load time, errors, and crashes can drive away guests long before they checkout. And don’t forget to triple-check discount codes and links to ensure they’re working. With the ubiquity of online reviews, frustrated guests can wreak havoc on your brand’s reputation. Lastly, be sure to Q/A test across devices and browsers, as the majority of online orders are placed on mobile.


Ongoing Optimization

While each of these strategies can positively impact the cart abandonment rate, sustainable sales growth is dependent on continuous optimization efforts. When implementing changes, A/B testing can help you determine which adjustments are making a difference for guests.

A/B testing is the proven method to test and validate changes to the ordering funnel. It can be as simple as changing copy to something much more complex, like building new components. A/B tests bring in statistical rigor that enables positive changes to the funnel.

In the end, restaurant brands that prioritize a seamless guest experience at every step of the online ordering journey will reap the rewards.

Contact us for more ways to optimize your online ordering platform for conversion.

Photo Credit: Thirdman from Pexels

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