What is cart abandonment? 5 Easy Tips to Reclaim Lost Revenue

Get your cart abandonment rate under control and get more conversions and revenue. Learn why this happens, why it’s important and how to fix it.

In a brick-and-mortar store, you’d probably laugh if you saw someone put items in their shopping cart and then abruptly walk away and leave the store. But that’s exactly what happens to many e-stores in the virtual space.

Cart abandonment is becoming a bigger and more costly problem for retailers, as you’ll learn in this guide. But it’s also a problem that can be mitigated with the right steps, which you’ll also learn how to do.

So before we dive into the surprising statistics on why shopping cart abandonment should be taken seriously, and the best tips for saving your cart, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.

What is cart abandonment

Cart abandonment is when a site visitor adds items to a shopping cart but never completes the transaction and makes a purchase. While it may not seem so bad, cart abandonment costs ecommerce businesses a fortune. Current cart abandonment statistics show that brands are losing up to $18 billion in sales revenue each year due to this problem. While your ecommerce store may not be losing anywhere near that amount, it’s still a crucial number to pay attention to, as we’ll explain below.

Why is shopping cart abandonment a problem for marketers

The most obvious consequence of high cart abandonment rates is lost sales.

Because when a customer finds an item they like and intends to purchase it, your business is very close to closing the deal – but then *poof* – it disappears before the conversion even takes place.

And that’s just the beginning of your problems.

A high cart abandonment rate actually proves you have a bigger problem on your hands. If you don’t address this problem, it will eventually snowball and lead to more lost sales. You may even discourage potential customers from trying your store now and in the future.

If this picture isn’t clear enough for you, let’s use a few statistics to paint the problem more vividly:

Fundera reports that the average e-commerce store experiences a 69.57% cart abandonment rate. As if that wasn’t enough, for people using mobile devices, that number rises to 85.6%.

To give you an idea, if you let 100 shoppers add items to their cart, roughly 70% of them would abandon it, and 85% of mobile users would do the same.

This leaves you with the opportunity to capture only 30% and 15% of shoppers, respectively.

Can you see how much of the pie you’re missing out on?

Imagine how fast your business would grow if you could cut your cart abandonment rate in half, or even just a quarter.

While these are averages, chances are your business has an equally high (or maybe even higher!) cart abandonment rate.

So why is this happening in the first place?

The top reasons people abandon shopping carts

There are dozens of reasons for cart abandonment that we could break down, but to save you time, here are the main ones you should add to your search engine:

1. Unexpected costs at checkout are the number one reason for cart abandonment.
Ordering food delivery is a perfect example of this problem. You add a few items to your cart, and when you get to checkout, your bill suddenly triples and you don’t know why.
Adding additional service and delivery fees and tips can deter you from completing your order, just as your customers may be experiencing before abandoning the cart on your site.

2. Second is the need to create an account..
A whopping 39% of mobile shoppers will abandon a cart if it’s difficult to enter personal information. And if shoppers find questionable security and privacy during the account creation and checkout process, they’re also more likely to abandon the cart.

3. The third most common reason for cart abandonment is an extremely long, complicated, or slow checkout process.
Unsurprisingly, 57% of online shoppers surveyed will abandon their cart if they have to wait longer than three seconds for a checkout page to load. Another 46% abandon their cart if they have to enter their credit card or shipping information more than once due to technical difficulties.

4. Shipping-related issues are also a big barrier..
High shipping costs and long delivery times force many potential customers to simply abandon the products they wanted to buy.

5. Factors such as comparison shopping, refund policies, and unusable discount codes also enter into the decision-making process.
Once customers know exactly how much a purchase from you will cost them, they can shop around with your competitors to see if they can reduce the final price of their purchase. 46% of online visitors will leave if a discount code doesn’t work. And if your return and refund policies aren’t user-friendly, many customers won’t take the risk of making a purchase they’re considering.

Now that you know the most common reasons for this problem, let’s move on to how to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

5 tips to prevent cart abandonment in your online store

These simple but effective recommendations on how to mitigate the most common causes of cart abandonment will help you increase revenue:

1. Be transparent about the prices that prospective buyers see.
The cart preview should reflect all estimated costs, including shipping, so people aren’t shocked when they go to checkout and see additional charges.

2. Allow customers to shop without registering.
Give people the option to skip creating an account and you’ll see higher conversion rates. This works well for first-time shoppers. If they end up liking your product, they’ll be happy to create an account to make another purchase, and you’ll gain a repeat customer instead of losing that first sale (and potentially more).

3. Simplify the ordering process.
Figure out how to make the order process easier, and you’ll see an increase in sales. Consider linking popular apps so that much of someone’s information is automatically filled out. All they have to do is edit what’s there instead of filling it all in themselves.

4. Be honest about your privacy standards and refund policy.
Remove risk and doubt from customers at the outset so they know they can trust your business. When customers feel confident about what they’re getting into, you’ll find they abandon fewer carts.

Displaying customer reviews prominently on your site can also help build trust and reduce risk for new customers.

5. Reduce shipping costs and estimated delivery time.
Customers don’t want to spend a fortune or wait too long to receive your products. So try brainstorming with your logistics partners to see what you can do to minimize them.

Once you’ve tackled these steps, you should also implement the following three strategies to get people to buy despite cart abandonment.

3 simple tips to recover lost revenue from cart abandonment

Just because someone has abandoned a shopping cart doesn’t mean they’re out of the game forever. These three tips for getting your shopping revenue back on track will give you another chance to close the deal:

1. Use pop-ups that include customer reviews
Before someone leaves your site at “X”, show them an exit pop-up that displays customer reviews. This can help shoppers on their way out see that other people like your product and trust your brand, which might be enough for them to complete the purchase instead of leaving.

2. Try targeted ads that include customer reviews.
Retargeting ads also give people an extra incentive to complete a purchase instead of leaving the store. And they’re even more effective when paired with customer reviews, because people are more likely to take an action if they see that others have already taken it. You can learn about this tactic in our social proof guide.

3. Sending personalized emails
If customers have already provided you with their email, send them a personalised message to let them know they still have items in their basket. You’ll probably find that they’re more likely to complete their purchase in the end. Displaying customer reviews and offering last-minute but limited-time discounts can also make it easier to purchase.

In all three cases, using social proof can help people who are unsure to feel more comfortable buying from your business, as many others have already done so happily.

Therefore, it’s wise to engage social proof whenever you can to maximize the effectiveness of these three tips.

Final thoughts on reducing cart abandonment in your online store

You may have thought that high cart abandonment rates are the norm in the e-commerce business and that it’s a fact you have to accept.

But now you’ve learned that this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you use the tactics outlined in this guide, your business can significantly reduce the number of abandoned carts, which will help increase sales and create an even larger group of satisfied and loyal customers.

So get to work implementing these tips and you’ll see a positive difference in no time!

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