How Dispensary Shopping Cart Abandonment Impacts Your Bottom Line

Have you looked at your daily reports and noticed something was…missing? We’re going to take a wild guess: It’s your shopping carts. A lot of them. As in just under 70%. The numbers for mobile users, by the way? They’re worse. Way worse.

Across all industries, abandoned carts are a major problem, and many analysts predict it’s only going to worsen. Why? All those abandoned carts pencil out to lost revenue. They affect your conversion rate, and they can point to hidden issues with your checkout flow, website design, or other key elements of the online shopping experience.

Dispensary shopping cart abandonment

But here’s the silver lining: While no one wants to see all those abandoned carts littering their virtual parking lot, you can make use of this valuable information to fine-tune your processes and optimize your customers’ online experience. Better yet, there are concrete steps you can take to woo at least some of those customers back, creating opportunities to turn casual browsers into dedicated fans and advocates.

In today’s post, we’ll explore a few of the major issues around dispensary shopping cart abandonment, including:

  • Why do shoppers abandon carts?
  • How do you address these causes one by one to reduce cart abandonment?
  • What steps can you take to win those customers back?

Ready? Let’s get those carts rolling!

Dispensary Shopping Cart Abandonment: Why Do Shoppers Abandon Carts?

Even in the brick-and-mortar world, abandoned carts are an issue, if a tiny one (analysts estimate that real-world shoppers ditch 1% – 2% of carts). But to understand why it happens so often in the virtual shopping world, we have to drill down and take in some hard numbers.

According to most retail analysts, the top reasons shoppers abandon carts are:

  • Extra Costs: Most of the time, the total including tax and other fees is just more than the shopper expected; rather than removing items from the cart, they abandon it altogether. UX and eCommerce analyst Baymard Institute estimates that roughly 55% of cart abandonments can be traced to these unforeseen costs: Shipping—that’d be delivery, of course, in the dispensary world—as well as taxes, and any handling or processing fees.
  • Forced Account Creation: Many consumers shop for cannabis on the go from their mobile devices. Being asked to create an account—especially on the small screen—drives up to 34% of would-be shoppers away. 
  • The Website is Too Slow: This is a big one. With an estimated 26% of shoppers ditching their carts—we actually think the number may be higher—due to long load times, especially on mobile devices, it’s an issue you can’t afford to ignore. The benchmark loading time for all website pages is a roughly agreed-upon 3 seconds, and we advise our clients to do whatever they can to beat this. Believe us when we say your bottom line depends on it.
  • The Checkout Is Too Long or Confusing: Along the same lines, a complex checkout process will tax modern attention spans. When there are too many roadblocks to a successful checkout, many shoppers simply give up and bounce to some other activity—like placing an order with your competitor—instead.
  • The Site Seems Untrustworthy: Given the prevalence of online phishing, spoofing, and other dirty tricks, today’s online shoppers are savvy. That’s a good thing in our view, but it also raises the bar when it comes to providing reassurance that your website is trustworthy, legitimate, safe and shoppers’ information is secure. 

There’s more, of course. We haven’t even gotten to the topic of redundant or confusing forms and fields, or the issues inherent in manipulating tiny mobile device screens to enter complex strings of information. But rather than digging the hole deeper, let’s turn our attention to a happier topic: What you can actually do to reduce cart abandonment.

How to Reduce Dispensary Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

If you take the time to check out your Google Analytics dashboard—which we absolutely recommend you do—you can find some highly granular (and potentially highly troubling) stats regarding your abandoned carts. Enabling “Enhanced eCommerce Tracking” will simplify this process, though there are still some steps to take.

Better yet, start being proactive by implementing the following proven steps to cut down your cart abandonment rates. To keep it simple, we’ll present them in the same order as the issues we outlined in the previous section. 

  • Extra Costs: Obviously, extra costs such as excise and other taxes are out of your control. But what you can—and definitely should—do is to make sure your shoppers know exactly what their final totals will be before they click to check out. That’s why, increasingly, we’re seeing dispensaries include all taxes in the listed price of a given product. We think this is good practice, and we’re banking on the notion that most customers will be happier with the appearance of paying a little more on the front end than being bitten in the checkout process when they realize their total is higher than they thought it would be.
  • Forced Account Creation: There are numerous upsides to having all your customers log in. After all, it helps you glean important data about their preferences, shopping habits, and more. But whenever possible, offer them the easy way out with a “Guest checkout” option. If your checkout process is fast and seamless, getting your customers to the all-important “Pay now” button with a minimum of hassle, there’s a far better chance they’ll return for a second (and third, and fourth) purchase.
  • The Website is Too Slow: We’ve talked about page loading speeds (and the larger topic of website UX) before, and trust us: We’ll do it again. Slow page loads will absolutely kill your bottom line, especially on mobile devices. Start by reading our primer on website UX to determine if your website is where it needs to be. Hint: You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to help you assess. Then talk with some experts on crafting lightning-fast, high-converting dispensary websites to see how you can cure the slow page-loading blues.
  • The Checkout Is Too Long or Confusing: Along the same lines as slow page loads, this issue falls squarely in the subject of website UX. As much as possible, look at the issue from a potential customer’s point of view: Are the roadmaps and guideposts leading to a completed sale as straightforward and clear as possible? Do all the elements of copy, image, and design work in harmony to support a successful transaction? If not, time to think about revamping or redesigning your website for maximum results.
  • The Site Seems Untrustworthy: Are you aware of the subtle signals your website is sending to potential consumers? These days, a security badge—an SSL certificate at the very least—is a must-have to let online shoppers know their data is safe and secure. 
dispensary shopping cart abandonment

The Abandoned Cart Blues: How to Win Shoppers Back

Using these relatively simple steps, you can begin to cut down your abandoned cart numbers. Still, these tactics are all passive, meaning that they’re actions that depend on a customer performing (or not performing) a particular action. Here at MediaJel, we’re firm believers in the power of the gentle nudge. Here are two of the best ways we know to win back those customers who—for whatever reason—decided to bolt at the last moment.

  • Exit-Intent Popups: Website popups are already a divisive topic for sure, and opinion on this last-resort strategy is mixed. That said, if a consumer is truly about to abandon their cart, you have nothing to lose by either reminding them of what they’re missing (or dangling a tempting all-cart discount or another inducement) to get them to complete the sale. If you do decide to go this route, be sure you disable them for current customers or those who have completed your conversion goal.
  • Retargeting: This is the practice of reaching out to consumers who have interacted with your brand—such as by filling up a shopping cart—but failed to seal the deal. It hinges on the use of a simple Javascript code—often called a “cookie” or a “pixel”—to track that person’s browsing activities after they leave your site. This allows you to reach out to (or “retarget”) them later, most often by displaying a mobile banner or another form of Google ad.

According to the latest research, it works, and it works well. According to analytics firm Invesp, three out of four consumers actually notice retargeted ads, and of those, some 26% actually click on them. That’s not bad, given the crowded digital ad landscape.

Of course, it’s best not to push too hard. A gentle reminder that the consumer has “left something behind” can be just the ticket for coaxing them back and actually closing the sale. As with the popup option, you can even sweeten the deal with a one-time discount for completing the transaction within a certain timeframe.  

Retargeting in general—not just as it pertains to abandoned carts—is a favorite topic of ours. You can learn more about the topic with our recent webinar.
And if it’s not apparent, we think dispensary shopping cart abandonment is a big deal, too. If you want to know even more about the issue—and what you can do about it—watch our webinar on the topic. You’ll be glad you did.