How to increase e-commerce sales and reduce cart abandonment

3 minute read

Is your e-commerce business struggling to increase sales and overcome a staggering rate of abandoned carts? Customers who visit your site may abandon their carts for any number of reasons – from shipping fees and unclear return policies to complicated checkout processes. So, what can be done to overcome these obstacles? And how can you tweak the overall shopping experience to make customers feel better about buying?

Don’t underestimate the little things

Some common, and at times subtle, things may put the brakes on a potential sale. Even minor tweaks to prices and presentation can trigger powerful emotional responses in your customers as they travel the path to purchase.

Ditch the dollar signs

Removing dollar signs from your e-store can have a dramatic effect on the way customers perceive the prices of your products. This strategy, commonly employed on restaurant menus, eliminates the internal friction we often feel when viewing something as a cost. Dollar signs awaken a desire to protect one’s money by spending less of it, if any. Without a dollar sign in front, a price is just a number, and the feeling of facing a cost is diminished. The result: shoppers are more likely to shop with you.

The left-digit effect

Lowering prices by a few pennies to bring them below a round number is a time-honoured marketing trick. A price of $19.99 makes a $20 purchase seems more palatable. The left-digit in a price is the first number our brain processes, so it has a tangible impact on our perception of the item’s cost and value. Research has shown that people feel able to buy more items with the same amount of money when prices end with 0.9 instead of 0.00.

Keep your deals simple

Round numbers and easily-calculated bargain offers can boost conversions through their sheer simplicity. Attention spans are short, so give shoppers something they don’t need to work hard to grasp. Think offers like “3 for 15” or “2 for 20.” These straightforward numbers act like a sales slogan that sticks in the brain and inspires action.

Limit quantities on certain sale items

Sometimes, setting a limit on the number of items each customer is allowed to purchase can stimulate demand that wouldn’t otherwise exist. This strategy works by creating the idea of scarcity, encouraging shoppers to hoard an item of perceived value and take full advantage of the discount. Someone who might have only bought one (or none) of an item can be motivated to buy three, simply because it’s the maximum allowed.

Let shoppers pick their own price

Finally, here’s an idea for a pricing experiment that might seem radical at first: let your customers choose how much they pay. While you might expect shoppers to give themselves extremely favourable prices, some people end up overestimating the price of an item when they don’t have any prior reference point other than their own impressions. This strategy is particularly helpful in determining how much value shoppers perceive in your products. It can also be a good way to find the right price point for a new product offering. Set a minimum price on your items to ensure you don’t get the short end of the stick, and run the promotion for a limited time to see what the market looks like before picking a price that works.

Ship and save with Canada Post! Our Solutions For Small Business™ program can help.

Sign up now

Don’t forget about shipping

Making sales is just one part of keeping your e-commerce customers happy. You also have to fulfill those orders and get the items into their hands quickly.

Once you’ve put our tips for curbing cart abandonment and increasing sales into practice, you’ll need to focus on fine tuning your delivery experience to ensure you satisfy your customers. Finding a great shipping partner that you can rely on, ideally one that won’t cost too much, should be one of your top priorities. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been in business for years, Canada Post can help.

You’ve got this

Now that you know more about how even seemingly tiny things can trigger negative and positive emotional responses in your customers, we hope you’ll give the tips above a try to avoid cart abandonment and encourage your customers to hit the buy button.

“The Psychology Behind Free Shipping: Does it Work?”,, February 2014.
“Why There is No Dollar Sign on Your Menu, Explained,”, July 2013.
“8 Pricing Experiments That Will Improve Sales (And You Can Start Today),”, January 2016.

Sell online with ease

Take the complexity and cost out of selling online. Discover what our partnerships can do for you.

Start selling online