7 Proven Tactics to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Seven ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Jeff starts an eCommerce business that sells clothes. He puts all his blood and sweat into creating the platform, designing it, creating back-end support, integrating payment options, and everything else that takes to make an eCommerce platform work. But, what if these efforts go into the drain altogether and shopping cart abandonment is the result instead?

This is one bitter truth that Jeff would learn the hard way, but will eventually have to form his strategy around reducing such half-way abandonments. The worse news is that whether you list a hundred products or thousands of them, you can’t force a customer to complete what he started. But, you can at least mend the gap by stopping to put all your eggs in one basket.

And, this is not some random issue that can be ignored. If you think that this cannot happen to your business, you are just creating a mindblock in your head that will lead you nowhere.

Shopping cart abandonment is a reality that hits/affects every shopper nowadays. This Statista report is a proof.

Shopping cart abandonment rate through the years by Statista

So, how are you planning to recover what you thought was lost? We are here to help you figure out the best possible ways to combat these cart abandonment rates.

Sometimes businesses get confused when calculating their cart abandonment rate and checkout abandonment rate. Both the terms sound similar but have a different dropping point altogether.

eBook 3 Key Strategies for a Successful Digital Retail Experience

Difference Between Shopping Cart Abandonment and Checkout Abandonment

Here is a simple and straightforward practical approach to help you understand the difference between shopping cart abandonment and checkout abandonment.

Step 1: A visitor arrives on your custom eCommerce platform and starts browsing. In case the visitor is an old customer, the recommendation engine would suggest products based on his interests. So far, so good.

Step 2: He likes something and adds the product to the cart, but for one reason or another, drops out before he moves ahead with the payment. That is shopping cart abandonment.

Step 3: On the other hand, if the visitor chooses to go to the checkout page and initiates the checkout, he is likely to make the purchase. But, if he drops out after the initiation of the payment process, it is known as checkout abandonment.

Difference between cart abandonment and checkout abandonment

In either case, the common factor is that the conversion rates suffer. It is a loss-loss scenario in both cases.

With that clear, let’s move ahead with the top reasons behind shopping cart abandonment, which is our main focus here.

What are the Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment?

To get a broader understanding of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment, you need to step into the shoes of the customer. This is essential to understand their psychology and mindset when they make a purchase, i.e., what turns them off and as to what leads to a successful transaction.

To start with, here is a table that lists the cart abandonment statistics for some of the top reasons that block the way towards conversions.

Reasons for abandonment during checkout

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonments?

Everyone has their ways of dealing with these issues, and we have some shopping cart abandonment solutions too. Here are some tried and tested solutions to help you get started.

1. Eliminate the Surprise Costs All at Once

The surprise costs that add up to the final cart value can be related to the psychological phenomenon of “pain of paying.” People don’t like spending money, and when the cost is much they tend to avoid making the payment irrespective of the need for the product.

How to address this issue:

a. Price Calculator Tool: Embedding a price calculator tool on the product page or the cart page can be helpful. Include all factors such as taxes and shipping fees as parameters for the calculation. This way, shoppers do not feel like profit-making machines. Instead, they feel informed and valuable.

b. Setting Shipping Thresholds: Offering free shipping in turn of a particular cart value should be considered. Even if you are offering percentage discounts, the need to reduce shipping costs is equally beneficial. And, the thing to remember is that the free shipping threshold should fall under a reasonable bracket.

c. The Best-Price Criteria: Shoppers are smart these days. They tend to compare prices on different eCommerce platforms before making the final purchase. So, the best strategy is to offer the best price that is cheaper than what others are offering.

2. Account Creation is Mandatory – Really? But, Why?

Think of it this way; if you were a brick-and-mortar store owner, would you ask everyone entering the store who they are. No, right? Then, why make it an obligation on the eCommerce store? It does not make much sense. Letting visitors choose between registering or not registering is essential to eliminate the cart abandonment rates. If you do not do that, they will add to the cart but will leave halfway.

How to solve the issue?

a. Guest Checkouts: Let visitors purchase without having to create the user account, instead make it an option. Let the seamless checkout process go the way they expect it to be, and do not add work on their part.

b. Social Logins: Another great strategy that is likely to work in your stride is through incorporating social logins. Be it Google login, Facebook login, or the newly introduced Apple login; these options add convenience and take away the burden of manually entering user information time and again.

3. Retargeting Email is a Thing Now

When a visitor leaves abruptly, it is a saddening thing. But, sometimes they can just be forgetful. Like they went for dinner and forgot to proceed with the checkout process. You’ll never know what went wrong. But, you could take your chances and remind them that they need to complete what they started. Chances are they’ll get back to you because you remembered them. It is the humanly touch a business needs to offer.

According to Moosend, retargeting emails show significant results. Here are the stats that say so.

Impact of retargeting emails on conversions

What should these emails be like?

a. Work on the Subject Line: A study by Convince and Convert says that 35% of people click on the mail based on the subject line alone. You need to craft something enticing and to the point. Examples could be something such as “Stock availability is low, hurry!”, “Did you forget something,” or “We have reserved this pair of shoes for you. Make them yours.”

b. Calculated Mail Series: Sometimes, the first mail is more than enough and does the magic, but in case, it is time for holidays, and they are busy, sending 2-3 follow-up emails will not harm much. You could also create urgency in these emails through “low stock” alerts and ask them to act soon. But, remember not to act too desperate.

c. Catchy Graphics is All it Takes: Be as creative as you can when designing these abandoned cart recovery emails. Add unique graphics one can’t ignore scrolling through. The intent is simple; if the email gets opened, the shopper can’t resist buying because your mail stands out from the hundreds they receive every day.

4. Restrict the Checkout Process to 4-5 Steps

The checkout process can be long and tiring sometimes. The more you try to extract information from the customer’s end, the more they get frustrated and lose interest. Imagine a salesperson calls you and tries to sell you their credit card. You agree to buy it, but when they start adding clauses and keep on bugging you with questions, you prefer hanging up. This can be one reason why shopping cart abandonment happens.

Here’s the usability score based on the number of steps added.

Checkout usability score based on number of checkout steps by Smashing Magazine

So, what to do about it?

Progress Indicators: Maintaining a linear checkout process should top your priority list. That is, a straight and streamlined process should be followed from start to finish. The step-by-step progress indicators make them track where they are heading. But, again, keep these steps minimal and do not make it a rabbit trail.

Animated Graphics: Data visualization is always welcome. While a visitor goes to the cart, you can add animated graphics at each step of the process to make it an exciting journey. These graphics can also help compensate for the loading times by keeping the visitors engaged.

5. Chatbots for Instant Support

What if a visitor wants to buy something, but they have some confusion or doubts? Usually, they’ll send an email or even call your customer support, but the delayed and extended response time might become a reason for the increased shopping cart abandonment rate. The good thing is that there are chatbots these days to fill in the void.

Here are some tips for offering a pleasant chat experience:

a. Embedding Messenger Bots: Having a messenger bot such as that of Facebook can surely add on to the sales. 71% of users are willingly ready to use messengers for customer service. Thus, having one tends to be a great opportunity in hand for eCommerce platforms when dealing with increasing shopping cart abandonment rates.

b. Build Shopping Assistants: Let’s unburden the visitors by letting the bots do all the needful. Traditionally the visitors browse for the product they are looking for before adding it to the cart. However, this might take some time. So, build a bot that asks them what they want and simply guide them through. This delivery of the right content at the right time is one good reason that a purchase would happen.

eBook: The A-Z Guide on Chatbots for Business

6. Keep an Eye on Intuitiveness & Design

There can be times when a visitor decides to make a purchase, but finding the “Add to Cart” button becomes tricky. On the other hand, there can be times when a visitor is only browsing but finds it tricky to locate the “Save for Later” option and instead adds it to their carts. In either case, the UX design is at fault, and it needs to be fixed for better conversions.

About $260 billion in lost eCommerce sales could be recovered through checkout optimization – Baymard Institute

But, how to go about abandoned cart recovery?

a. Easy Navigation: Make the landing page easy to navigate through. Every element needs to be designed in a way that it dominates on the screen. Be it on-site search option, add to cart, or save for later; every element should be visibly distinguishable so that one’s intent and actions stay in harmony.

b. Easy Cart Alteration: Sometimes the visitor can mistakenly add more items to the cart than required, or vice-versa. It should be made convenient to add/delete items in the cart without much hassle. Otherwise, the broken user experience will lead to shopping cart abandonment.

c. Color Combinations: The “Add to Cart” CTA and the “Save for Later” CTA needs to have distinguishable & dominant color backgrounds. In short, a consistent and logical visual hierarchy should be maintained throughout the platform. In case your eCommerce store chooses to develop a Magento platform, they have a great variety of themes to choose from to create a beautiful design altogether.

7. Mobile Page Load Times Can’t be Missed

Mobile page load time is an essential criterion that counts when it comes to converting a visitor into a customer. A study by Google revealed something alarming about mobile page speeds and respective bouncing rates. See it for yourself.

Page load time and how increase in that time increases bounce rate

In short, faster is better to eliminate the probability of shopping cart abandonment.

But how to optimize mobile performance?

a. Embrace Material Design: The most prominent reason behind slow loading speed is the large size of the graphics and other content on the page. That is why implementing Material Design, which is a popular UX design trend, is a good practice. Also, compressing images and text should be made a priority. Again, according to Google, 25% of pages could save more than 250KB, and 10% can save more than 1MB that way.

b. Take Advantage of Your eCommerce Platform: The digital eCommerce platform you choose also plays a significant role in deciding the mobile page load speed. Like Magento uses “Full Page Cache” on the server to quickly display various pages. Or, in case you choose Shopify over Magento, its RocketAMP app helps improve mobile page loading speed.


Building an exceptional shopping experience takes effort. Do not miss this opportunity as it can help redeem what is lost. To be concise, you only have to worry about one thing; creating an experience that your visitors and existing customers would love.

And, it is not that shopping cart abandonment will come down to zero, but your effort towards successful conversions should not come to a halt. The trick is never to stop making things better for your business and your customers.

Start with A/B testing the above techniques, keep what works, and discard the rest. Or, you could even seek assistance from industry experts as their knowledge and experience can help you get one step ahead in this competitive e-retail landscape.


Contact Net Solutions to build a recommendation engine

Lalit Singla

About the Author

Lalit Singla is working as Project Manager at Net Solutions since the last 5 years with over 10 years of experience in LAMP Stack. His expertise lies in Enterprise eCommerce and custom database driven development. In his free time, he enjoys listening to classical music.

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