Preparing for the silly season

Setting your site up for success


I hope you’re having a good week so far. I don’t know about you but the fact that we are nearly in July is blowing my mind.

We’re officially on the downward slope to Christmas and while even typing that sends shivers down my spine, the fact is it’s a key trading moment in ecommerce. And it’s getting closer!

Today, I’ve got some insights about abandoned carts to share with you, so that you can ensure your ecommerce site is set up for success come the silly season.

I’ve also got some solid advice to share from business powerhouse, Mellody Hobson, which can be applied all year round.

Here’s what’s on the agenda:

🛒 Top 10 causes of abandoned carts
🧠 A masterclass in strategic decision-making


Top 10 causes of abandoned carts

Abandoned carts are a common issue in ecommerce. To a certain degree, it’s to be expected with the average abandoned cart rate sitting at around 70–75%.

Look at your site’s annual sales, then look at your abandoned cart rate. Let’s say it’s $500K and your abandoned cart rate is 75% – that’s $375K of abandoned sales. If you can convert even 5% of those, that’s another $18K in the bank.

According to Shopify, these are the top 10 reasons people abandon their carts (in order) and the majority of them are completely preventable:

  1. Extra costs such as shipping or fees

  2. Mandatory account creation

  3. Slow delivery times (this is particularly important at Christmas)

  4. An untrustworthy site

  5. A checkout process that’s too long or too complicated

  6. Being unable to calculate the total cost upfront

  7. An ambiguous return policy

  8. Poor website performance

  9. Limited payment options

  10. The customer’s credit card declining

If any of these are ringing alarm bells, now is the time to get it sorted. While opportunities are plentiful at Christmas, competition is fierce. Make sure you put your best foot forward.


A masterclass in strategic decision-making

Recently I got a Masterclass subscription. If you’ve had the pleasure, you’ll know how good it is. If not, here’s something to whet your appetite.

Mellody Hobson is the President and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments. She was also the Chairwoman of both DreamWorks and Starbucks. She’s a big deal and incredibly inspirational.

She also happens to be married to George Lucas – as in the creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. He has nothing to do with what I’m about to share with you, but I thought you might enjoy some trivia.

In Mellody’s masterclass, ‘Strategic Decision-Making’ she provides a framework for approaching decisions in business. Often we think about big decisions in a crisis but her advice can just as easily be applied to decisions regarding growth, scalability and general improvements.

She lists 5 guiding principles:

  • Put others first
    Wherever possible, do right by people.

  • Be open to co-leadership
    Having someone to lean on is empowering and a great source of comfort (I can personally attest to this). Plus, having another brain in the room means more ideas!

  • Use your lifelines
    Accept that you don’t have all the answers and you don’t need to. Utilise experts and ask for advice.

  • Hope is not a plan
    Taking action is essential. If you do nothing, nothing will change – in fact, it may get worse!

  • Have conviction
    Be confident in your decisions, knowing you’ve done your due diligence. As a leader, you need conviction to inspire trust.

Next, she provides a framework.

Identify the problem (or opportunity)
In some situations, this may be harder than it sounds but it’s worth putting the time in. Do the research; ask for advice and take a good, hard look at your business. You need a comprehensive understanding of the situation before you can move forward.

Introduce “radical responsibility”
Make your team accountable for their individual roles within your business. This isn’t about attributing blame but rather empowering people to take responsibility.

Make a plan
Once you’ve identified the problem/opportunity and you have the appropriate people in the room to brainstorm a solution – make a plan. List out the action points, set timings and assign your team tasks with clear expectations.

Set a goal
Be clear about what the desired outcome of the plan is.

Be realistic
It’s important that you manage expectations and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Realism inspires confidence.

Tell key stakeholders the plan, but always start internally. Make sure your team understands what’s happening before you tell anyone outside the business.

When the dust settles, make time to reflect on the process and the result of your decision. Document the learnings to help inform any future decisions you’ll need to make.

Mellody applies her framework to 2 case studies:

  1. How she pulled her own business out of the 2007 recession

  2. How DreamWorks responded to the shift from DVDs to streaming services

Both case studies are still so relevant and it’s amazing to see the framework in action. If you’re able to, I recommend watching the full masterclass.


Share the love

Know somebody who might like this newsletter?

Thanks for reading!

Until next time.

Alex Murton
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Studio Almond