Inventory Management, Reducing Abandoned Carts
By Agile SCS
April 16, 2020 | Ecommerce Fulfillment

Good inventory management and a great supply chain management team are vital to your business and it’s even more important when it comes to the ecommerce side. Good inventory management can send your profits through the roof while bad inventory management can close your doors.

On the ecommerce side, inventory management can also help cut down on the number of abandoned carts you’re experiencing on your site.

Online shoppers have very little in the way of attention span and it doesn’t take much to get them jittery and running from your site or jumping to another site.

Here are five tips to help you reduce the chances of abandoned carts on your ecommerce site.


Make sure there are products for your customers to fill their carts with

Even if they abandon their carts later on in the process, they should still be able to fill their carts with products they came looking for.

Your reputation and your repeat customer chances are damaged when they get the “out of stock” notice.

Make sure you’re always tracking your inventory properly. Know what you have in stock and what you’re lacking. Don’t offer deals or sales or bundles on products that you’re not sure you have in stock. Do not promise what you cannot deliver.

This is pretty basic, it’s inventory management, right there in the title.

Manage your product information

It’s smart to offer products on popular social media platforms. However, if your customers are clicking a link and finding different product information on your product landing page, this is going to cause confusion, frustration and that could lead to an abandoned cart.

Bad information will leave a bad impression and that will cause customers to immediately withdraw their purchase decision.

Have access to all product information in real-time. This allows customers quick insights to all your products and ensures content is identical across all of your selling platforms.


Centralize access to all your products

Applying a product bundling strategy is great. Combining products that customers have historically purchased together for a better or reduced price is smart.

The bundles will get the products into their carts but, if they see “no product availability”, they will immediately abandon the cart and your site.

Having access to all your products from one place will ensure your product quantity is up to date.

Also, the one location is going to allow you to make immediate changes or discontinue bundling if you’re out of stock. That way you’re not making promises you can’t keep, which makes it easy for your customers to abandon their carts.


Safety-lock ability

Customers often use the “Add to wish list” button to save products for future purchases. They do this for holidays, birthdays or anniversaries.

If you cannot ensure stock availability on these for future purchases, this is going to encourage them to discard their confirmed purchases and abandon their cart.

Understand the demand for your products and closely track customer interactions on your site. This is going to help you create a safety-lock for your products so you know they will be there when the customer goes to purchase.

Or, you can set a stock availability alert. This can be used to ensure customers can successfully purchase saved items.


Quick access to multiple products

You can do everything right and still a customer may abandon their cart. It could be something personal, something going on at the time of purchase, you just don’t know.

You can adopt a product category management system for your site. This will allow you to perform a “one last chance” strategy.

What this does is automatically display relevant products that can encourage the customer to make a purchase. This sometimes works even if they have decided to discontinue their original order. One last chance to make a conversion.


Organized inventory management

Selling products means dealing with multiple variables such as size and color. Not having transparent details on your product detail page can negatively impact a customer’s decision.

A customer may have found one of your products that they liked but because they could not find any variables on the product it could cause them to abandon their cart or jump to a competitor.

Ensuring transparency for all products and their variables will ensure you offer accurate product details. Don’t wait til they reach the check out page to tell them the item doesn’t come in a color or size they are looking for.

Be transparent and allow your customers to make purchases per their requirements. They may have some flexibility with color or style and still purchase from you because you were clear with details. Hiding or leaving off details is going to upset them and not only will they abandon their carts, but they will also abandon your site for good.


Shipping costs


Shipping costs are one thing that will make your customers flee from their carts at check out. Customers often see shipping costs as a surprise because they aren’t usually displayed until just at the moment of purchase.

Because online shopping is an everyday thing now, most customers see shipping as the burden of the company. Shipping is no longer seen as going above and beyond. In fact, most customers expect shipping costs to be low or free.

When shipping costs are not displayed, customers may feel they are being taken advantage of at check out and therein lies the abandoned carts.

The truth is, customers value free, even over quality at a slightly higher price. Free is kind in the online shopping world. So, what do you do about your shipping costs to avoid the abandoned carts? Here are some ideas.


Be transparent

Have shipping costs listed on the product page. This way the customer knows the cost right away and that can inform their choice.

Have a small pop up window appear with shipping costs as soon as a customer clicks, “Add to cart”.

The less the cost of shipping is a sudden surprise, the less likely they are to abandon their carts.


Use a flat rate

Again this is dealing with the main problem which is the surprise of shipping costs.

Use a consistent, flat rate for all your shipping regardless of size. If that is stated upfront, then your customers will know and there is no surprise and there are no abandoned carts.


Set a shipping threshold

This is a great way to keep your shipping costs transparent. A banner that states free shipping on $X number of dollars spent. This has the added benefit of urging customers to reach free shipping. But, you need to set your threshold at a place that is good for you and for the customer.

Too low and the customer will not be motivated to spend more than the normal amount for the shipping and you’ll end up eating the cost. Too high and customers will be unwilling to add more items just to reach the free shipping.

The best route is to determine the median order value of your customers and use that as a guideline to set your threshold.


Free, the most customer-friendly option

Customers love free. Free shipping is welcomed and, sadly, it’s often expected now with online shopping becoming the norm. Free shipping, as we said earlier, is no longer considered a gift, doing more for the customer. Free shipping is often simply expected.

This can be risky depending on your products and margins. Is it possible for you to ship free? A good supply chain company can work with you and make that happen. It may be worth it to attract more business and keep customers coming back.


Your return policy

Again, this fall sounder the heading of customers do not lie surprises, unless it is something they suddenly got for free.

Customers often don’t get information about returns and your return policy until they are on the check out page. This, if it comes with additional costs, is a surprise they don’t want.

An insufficient or complex return policy is going to lead to the carts being abandoned. Extra fees that appear only at the checkout page for returns is also going to send them running.


Offer a good return policy

Offer a good return policy and a simple, clear customer service system to execute that policy. A good policy with a great system to quickly and easily facilitate the process is going to keep your customers happy and coming back.


Set it up early

Make sure there is a clear link or a prominent tab for your return policy available early on in the process. Allow the customer to know exactly what returning an item will entail right away so they can make the choice to continue shopping. Again, it’s all about eliminating the surprise.


In summation

abandoned cart

Manage your stock well. Don’t advertise items that you don’t know you have in stock or enough to last through a sale or special event.

Be transparent. Offer all details and variables for items you’re selling and don’t try to sneak in a bogus sale at the checkout page, this will upset your customers.

Keep things centralized so you know what you have and you can easily react to changes in stock.

Respect your customer’s time and patience, remember they have very little in the way of attention span and bad inventory management can send them to a competitor very quickly.

Keep an eye on your shipping costs and your return policy. Be upfront about both of these early on in the process.

It’s easy to forget the customer’s needs when doing online business, they aren’t right in front of you complaining. It’s a good idea to keep brick and mortar habits in your mind, the idea of dealing with customers face to face. This will keep you transparent and up to date, and it will help reduce your abandoned cart rate.