Reduce Cart Abandonment: Enhancing Last Mile Delivery Strategies

on Apr 30, 2024

Cart abandonment is a common problem e-commerce businesses often experience that derails their buying journey at the last moment. 

What compels potential buyers to load their online shopping carts only to leave them at the virtual checkout? One factor often influencing this trend is the last leg of the delivery process, commonly known as last mile delivery.

Understanding the link between efficient, transparent last mile delivery and the likelihood of online shoppers completing their purchase is the need of the hour. 

This article will discuss the link between last mile delivery and cart abandonment and how to help you reduce cart abandonment with last mile delivery. We’ll also look at the potential last mile delivery challenges to look out for. 

Understanding cart abandonment 

The shopping cart abandonment rate is when online shoppers add items to their cart but leave before completing the purchase. If you look at the statistics, the average cart abandonment rate across industries is around 70%.

It’s a critical metric for online stores, as it indicates lost e-commerce sales and hints at potential issues in your site’s buying process. 

This phenomenon isn't just about potential customers changing their minds. It also reflects their customer journey and abysmal user experiences.

For example, the problem could be the checkout experience or inefficient last-mile delivery strategies. For the uninitiated, last mile delivery is a facet of the online shopping experience that includes delivery speed, reliability, and communication and is crucial for turning potential sales into successful transactions.

Link between last mile delivery and cart abandonment 

Last mile delivery is the final step of the delivery process — which includes getting the product from a warehouse to the customer's doorstep. 

It's crucial because it's where all the promises of an online shopping experience meet reality. And, as it turns out, this final step can influence whether a customer completes a purchase or abandons their cart.

Here's where it gets interesting. The top reasons for cart abandonment and lost sales are unexpected costs (like shipping fees) and dissatisfaction with delivery options. This ties directly into the last mile delivery experience. 

Customers are not just looking for free shipping but reliable, fast, and transparent delivery options. They want to know when their package will arrive and how much it'll cost without any surprises at checkout.

Here’s an overview of the last mile delivery elements that play an important role in cart abandonment:

  • Delivery costs and speed: High shipping rates or slow delivery times can deter even loyal customers at checkout. 55% of people cited high delivery costs as being their reason for cart abandonment. At the same time,                                24% of customers cite long delivery times as their reason to abandon carts mid-way. 
  • Delivery flexibility: Lack of convenient delivery and shipping options can also lead to abandonment, especially if potential customers need specific delivery options. Leverage tech solutions like Delivery Solutions to optimize delivery routes, predict delivery times more accurately, and reduce costs.
  • Transparency: Unclear or last-minute information about delivery times can frustrate customers, leading to abandonment. The key is to be upfront about shipping costs and delivery times. 

Amazon is an excellent example of an e-commerce company tackling shopping cart abandonment through improved last mile. 

They have continually innovated in this space — from services like Amazon Prime, which offers fast, customizable, and often free delivery options, to Amazon Key, which allows secure in-home deliveries. 

Amazon delivery options

These services helped the online retail giant reduce cart abandonment rates and enhanced overall customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Strategies for reducing cart abandonment with last mile delivery

1. Streamline the checkout process: 

Many cart abandoners ditch their carts because of the lengthy and complex checkout process — including page after page of forms and sign-ups out of nowhere. 

Cart and checkout usability research shows an average checkout page consists of about 23 form elements. Yet, it turns out that it’s possible to slash this count by 20-60% for most checkout pages, making the process more streamlined and quicker for your customers.

Here’s an overview of the elements you need to optimize to create a simplified, user-friendly checkout process:

  • Reduce form fields: Reducing the number of form fields to only the essentials can decrease user frustration and speed up the checkout process. According to Baymard, the ideal checkout flow could include as few as 12 form elements (seven form fields, two checkboxes, two drop-downs, and one radio button interface). 
  • One-page checkout: One-page checkout helps extract all necessary customer information on a single page, reducing unnecessary complexities. This approach also minimizes the need for multiple page loads, which can deter customers.
  • Guest checkout option: Offer a guest checkout option to streamline the process for first-time customers who may hesitate to create an account.
  • Use autofill and saved information: For returning customers, use autofill for form fields based on previously entered information. This convenience can expedite the checkout process and reduce manual entry errors.

2. Diverse delivery options: 

When it comes to online shopping, offering a range of delivery options is important in encouraging customers to make the final purchase. From same-day and next-day delivery to scheduled deliveries and free shipping, catering to various customer expectations and preferences is paramount. 

Above all, consumers expect flexibility, convenience, and transparency when choosing how their purchases will be delivered. 

A survey conducted by Jungle Scout in Q2 2021 revealed that 66% of consumers expect free shipping on every online purchase, and an even larger number (80%) expect free shipping when placing an order above a specific amount. 

Another report by Shopify suggested that 74% of consumers prefer to see shipping costs upfront before making any purchasing decisions — while 68% want free returns and access to estimated arrival times. 

These statistics highlight the continued importance of upfront shipping costs, transparency, and convenience in consumer decision-making.

Here’s everything you should consider when providing delivery options to reduce cart abandonment: 

  • Offer multiple delivery methods: Provide choices, including standard shipping, express delivery, same-day delivery, and curbside pickup, to let customers choose what suits them best.
  • Transparent shipping costs: Display shipping fees during checkout. Surprise charges lead to cart abandonment.
  • Flexible time windows: Allow customers to select delivery time slots. Options like morning, afternoon, or evening delivery cater to different schedules.
  • Local pickup points: Collaborate with multiple Delivery Service Providers (DSPs) or lockers for convenient pickup locations. This reduces delivery time and costs.
  • Free shipping thresholds: Offer free shipping to your customers based on a minimum order threshold to encourage larger purchases.
  • Returns and exchanges: Communicate your return policy and offer hassle-free returns to build trust.

Lowes Foods' collaboration with Delivery Solutions, an Omnichannel Experience Management Platform is a great example. Delivery Solutions enhanced Lowes Foods’ online order volume by helping them integrate third-party DSPs and options across over 80 stores. This allowed them to select providers based on location and time, thereby improving delivery options, operational time and cost, and customer experience.

The result? Using Delivery Solutions' platform, Lowes Foods streamlined onboarding logistics providers and managed deliveries more efficiently, resulting in operational improvements, consistent delivery experiences, and time savings in delivery management. This led to a significant boost in their online order volume and customer satisfaction.

3. Leverage real-time tracking for customer engagement:

Real-time tracking helps e-commerce businesses keep customers well-informed and streamlines the shopping experience, blending professionalism with warmth and convenience. This technology also reduces customers’ anxiety about their order status, leading to a better customer experience and reducing the likelihood of cart abandonment.

Consider the real-time tracking dashboards offered by FedEx or UPS, for example. These platforms allow you and your customers to see the package's exact location and expected arrival time, providing peace of mind and transparency.

Last mile delivery tracking example

You can take assistance from Omnichannel Experience Management tools like Delivery Solutions to provide your customers with real-time updates on the whereabouts of their orders. 

A case in point is Lowes Foods, which saw a significant uptick in online delivery orders thanks to the integration of Delivery Solutions. The platform not only helped them provide real-time delivery tracking, a map to track the delivery partner’s location, and automated updates to their customers but also simplified the technical side of the tracking process.

You won’t have to worry about the technical aspects — Delivery Solutions does the heavy lifting to streamline the tracking process and offer customers a more responsive and transparent shopping experience.

4. Transparency in shipping and delivery:

Transparency is key to building trust with customers. Regarding shipping and delivery, transparency involves communicating all aspects of the delivery process, including costs, timeframes, and potential delays or issues. This includes displaying shipping fees upfront and providing accurate delivery date estimates.

Unexpected shipping costs are one of the top reasons for cart abandonment. A study by the Baymard Institute found that nearly 47% of cart        abandonments during checkout were due to extra costs like shipping being too high. Clear communication can significantly reduce this issue.

Cart abandonment statistics

5. Offer omnichannel delivery options 

Omnichannel delivery provides a seamless shopping experience across various channels — online, in-store, mobile, etc. — especially regarding fulfillment options. The concept also includes catering to a broader range of customer preferences, allowing them to choose between in-store pickup and home delivery, among other methods.

Here are some essential omnichannel delivery strategies that will help you reduce your cart abandonment rates: 

  • BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store): BOPIS allows customers to shop online and pick up their orders at a store, blending the ease of online shopping with the immediacy of in-store pickup. This method can drastically reduce cart abandonment, as evidenced by 86% of consumers using BOPIS services, with 50% basing their online purchase decisions on in-store pickup availability.
  • In-store returns: Making returns easy and hassle-free by allowing in-store returns for online purchases can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, addressing one of the major friction points in the online shopping experience.
  • Real-time inventory visibility: Providing customers with up-to-date inventory information across all channels ensures that they have confidence in the availability of their desired items, reducing the likelihood of cart abandonment due to stock issues.

This approach effectively merges online and offline experiences, catering to diverse customer needs and preferences.

Common last mile challenges 

Last mile delivery has many challenges you must address to minimize cart abandonment.

Here are some common last mile obstacles e-commerce businesses face: 

  • Real-time tracking: Customers often lack visibility and transparency regarding their delivery status. Alleviate this issue by implementing tracking systems that provide real-time updates to customers via SMS, email, or mobile apps. Or you could leave to an OMX solution like Delivery Solutions to set it up for you. 
  • Communication and customer service: Inefficient communication about delays or issues can frustrate customers and make them wary of ordering from you again. Make sure you use proactive messaging systems for updates or any delivery-related inquiries.
  • Convenient return policies: Easy and clear return procedures can reassure customers about the post-purchase experience.
  • Package Security: Both customers and you might have concerns over package theft or damage during transit. To avoid this, partner with credible DSPs and invest in quality packaging materials to protect goods during transit.

Wrapping it up: Streamlining last mile to reduce cart abandonment

For most online retailers and e-commerce businesses, the journey from the cart to the customer's doorstep is fraught with potential pitfalls that can lead to cart abandonment.

There are some sure-fire ways of alleviating these issues. Understanding the link between cart abandonment and last mile delivery challenges is the first step in addressing this complex issue. 

From the importance of real-time tracking and efficient customer communication to the necessity of transparent delivery options, we've explored various ways businesses can reduce abandonment rates. These strategies cater to the logistical aspects of delivery as well as the practical needs of the customer, creating a seamless and satisfying shopping experience.

Exploring platforms that optimize these processes can be a game-changer for e-commerce websites and retail brands looking to enhance their last mile delivery technology solution. Lowes Foods' successful collaboration with the OMX platform, Delivery Solutions, to onboard multiple DSPs and implement real-time tracking is a prime example. 

About the author

Russ Bair

Russ Bair is the Chief Product Officer at Delivery Solutions, the leading provider of last-mile delivery and fulfillment software. He helps ensure retailers achieve their goals and they are able to provide meaningful experiences for their customers.  Prior to his tenure at Delivery Solutions, Russ was President of projekt202—an experience-driven consulting firm founded to apply deep ethnographic research to the development of mobile, web, and workplace software.    He received his Bachelors in Computer Science from Texas A&M and has more than 25 years of extensive experience in the software development and consulting fields. While holding leadership roles within organizations or various sizes, Russ has designed, developed, and led the creation of complex custom software implementations for small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies across the United States.   Russ is fulfilled by helping those around him reach their potential through servant leadership and collaborating to create progress and economic value. He currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife Jana and two children.


Topics from this blog: Delivery On-time Logistics

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