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You do all this work to move the customer along their buying journey: they've found you through your SEO and marketing strategy, and your website has done its job compelling them to add something to their cart. You're right on the cusp of making a sale but, suddenly, they back out--and just like that you have another abandoned cart.

Around 75 percent of all e-commerce carts are abandoned, and since it's at the very end of your sales funnel, making even a small improvement to your conversion rate here can pay big dividends. In this article, we're going to look at why cart abandonment happens, what you can do to figure out what's wrong with your checkout, and what tools are available to help.

Maintaining trust in checkout

When it comes right down to it, most cart abandonment is about trust issues. Users get all the way through the process, look at the final amount they're going to pay, and then (for one reason or another) they decide to take a second look at something.

Here are some questions that might pop into a customer's head as they're going through the final steps of checkout: Why do they need my phone number? There's a box for a discount code but I don't have one; am I missing out? Can I trust them with my credit card info? Do I recognize that authentication logo?

If they have to leave your checkout page to find an answer to these questions, then they're far more likely to abandon their cart. Finding ways to anticipate where a user is going to have a hang-up and reassure them is key to improving your conversions.

Auditing your e-commerce journey

Depending on how you have your e-commerce set up, there are a few tools you can use to take a close look at the buying journey. The first stop should probably be Google Analytics, where you can set up a funnel that ends with checkout completion. From here, you can look at what percentage of users moved on to the next step, essentially telling you where that funnel is leaky.

For a more in-depth view, consider using a heat mapping or user tracking tool to get really in depth about where a user is getting confused. The best way to take advantage of these kinds of tools is with thorough testing. Try a bunch of different options, and get obsessive about what subtle tweaks you can make to really squeeze the most out of your design.

What to do with abandoned carts

There are also tools that can help you get a second chance on prospects who have abandoned their carts. A popular approach is remarketing through Facebook or Google AdWords. This approach can be effective, but you also run the risk of coming across a bit creepy.

Recent strides in email marketing automation have led to an explosion of plug-ins and other tools that recognize when a cart has been abandoned, sending a follow-up email or discount offer according to a preselected set of parameters. Companies like WooCommerce, AbandonAid, and CartStack offer a ton of options for all sorts of e-commerce setups.

The bottom line with abandoned carts is that you need to think about your buying journey from the customer's perspective. Why are they bailing at a particular point in checkout? If you can answer their questions, either on the page or in your follow-up, you stand to make big gains.