8 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 it takes to make an eCommerce platform work. Many customers visit his website, but only a few of them complete their purchase, which gives rise to the shopping cart abandonment rate.

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 customers to complete what they 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 mind block in your head that will lead you nowhere.

eCommerce cart abandonment is a reality that hits/affects every industry nowadays. Let’s take a look at shopping cart abandonment statistics for 2020 by Statista:

Shopping cart abandonment rate in selected industries

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 your high mobile cart abandonment rate.

Sometimes businesses get confused when calculating their shopping cart abandonment rate and checkout abandonment rate. Both the terms sound similar but have a different dropping point altogether. So, before we proceed further, let’s clear this misunderstanding first.

eBook 3 Key Strategies for a Successful Digital Retail Experience

Online Shopping Cart Abandonment and Checkout Abandonment: What’s the Difference?

Here is a simple and straightforward example to help you understand What is Cart Abandonment and how is it different from checkout abandonment or checkout drop off.

Step 1: Suppose visitors arrive on your custom eCommerce platform and start browsing. In case the visitors are your old customers, the recommendation engine would suggest products based on their interests. So far, so good.

Step 2: They like something and add the product to the cart, but for one reason or another, drop out before they move ahead with the payment. That is shopping cart abandonment.

Step 3: On the other hand, if visitors choose to go to the checkout page and initiate the checkout, they are likely to make the purchase. But, if they drop 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 rate suffers. It is a loss-loss scenario in both cases.

With that clear, let’s move ahead with the top reasons behind online shopping cart abandonment, which is the main focus of this article.

What are the Top Reasons for Abandoning Shopping Carts?

To get a broader understanding of why shopping cart abandonment is a problem for retailers and what are the reasons behind it, you need to understand your customers and business processes thoroughly.

It is essential to understand the customer’s psychology and mindset when they make a purchase, i.e., what turns them off and what leads to a successful transaction.

Here are some of the top reasons why customers abandon their carts:

1. Extra Costs Too High

Nobody wants to pay extra. And that’s why it is one of the most common reasons for customers abandoning shopping carts. Additional costs always make customers rethink their purchase.

2. Mandatory Account Creation

Compelling your users to create an account for making a purchase is always a bad idea that will lead to cart abandonment. Some users are too lazy to create an account, which will turn them away.

3. Complicated Checkout Processes

When setting up your eCommerce website’s checkout flow, remember every added step and form field restricts the users to make a payment. That’s why it is advisable to always keep your checkout process as simple as possible.

While above-listed were just the top three reasons, there are some other reasons as well behind why customers abandon shopping carts.

Reasons for abandonment during checkout

What are the Ways to Reduce eCommerce Cart Abandonment?

Everyone has their ways of dealing with these issues, and we have some eCommerce shopping cart abandonment solutions too. Here are some tried and tested ones to help online retailers.

1. Eliminate the Surprise Costs All at Once

The hidden 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.

Why are businesses concerned about the shopping cart abandonment rate the most is because it lowers conversions, and eliminating all the surprise costs will surely help you reduce the same.

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 B2C or B2B cart abandonment rates. If you do not do that, they will add to the cart but will leave halfway.

Here is how to avoid online cart abandonment by solving this issue:

a. Offer Guest Checkouts: Let visitors complete their purchase without having to create an account. Your checkout flow should go the way your visitors expect it to be, and you shouldn’t force them to do anything unnecessarily.

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, lessen the registration form fields, and take away the burden of manually entering user information time and again.

3. Retargeting Email is a Thing Now

When online shoppers leave 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 human 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? Here are some abandoned shopping cart email best practices:

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 emails to decrease shopping cart abandonment. 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. This can be one reason why online 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?

a. 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.

b. 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 force them to leave a cart. The good thing is that there are chatbots these days to fill in the void.

So, how to reduce shopping cart abandonment rate with the help of Chatbots? Here are some tips:

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.

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 increased shopping cart abandonment rate.

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.

8. Use Personalized Push Notifications

Today, customers need a personalized experience at every step of their journey. If used the right way, push notifications can do wonders in lessening the cart abandonment rate.

For example, suppose a customer has some products in a cart, and he forgets about placing the order due to whatsoever reason. You can send him a customized push notification having his name, products he is having in the cart with some discount offer (if you have any). This will help your brand build a connection with the customer, leading to more sales.

Let’s see what these push notification should look like:

a. Showcase Empathy: The biggest factor that contributes to continued sales is empathy. You need to be listening to your customers and helping them at every stage of the buyer journey. Often, eCommerce retailers oversee the pain points, which further leads to bad customer experience.

You can use push notifications as a salesperson to avoid high cart abandonment rates and to give your customers an experience that they will never forget. Make it your USP, and you’ll see an overall improvement in how your brand fairs in comparison to your competition.

Use Personalized Push Notifications to reduce shopping cart abandonment

b. Give them Discounts: Giving deals and discounts may take away some of your revenue, but this strategy improves your conversions. After all, who doesn’t love a discount? If you combine a bit of personalization with a 20% discount offer, you can see your sales grow in just a few days.

Give Discounts on items in cart to reduce shopping cart abandonment rate


So that was all about how to avoid shopping cart abandonment rate.

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 your eCommerce shopping cart abandonment rate will come down to zero immediately, 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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